Top with butter and maple syrup for a breakfast blowout
Looking to feed a breakfast crowd on Thanksgiving morning? Or maybe the day after? We’ve got you covered.
Canned pumpkin purée provides the base flavor for these Pumpkin Pancakes. Then we add pumpkin-pie spices for extra zest. It all makes for an exceptionally tasty treat.
So maybe prepare an extra big batch? Because these will go like, well, hotcakes.
This recipe is similar to our Basic Pancake Recipe, although with added pumpkin and spices. We use canned pumpkin in this recipe, but your own winter squash purée would work equally well.
We like to use an electric nonstick griddle for making pancakes. If you don’t have one, an ordinary griddle or skillet works fine.
Prep time for this recipe is 5 to 7 minutes. Cooking time adds another 10 to 15 minutes.
This recipe yields 8 to 10 pancakes. It’s easy to double (or triple) if you’re serving a crowd.
- 1¼ cup flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar (very optional; see Notes)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder (double-acting; see Notes)
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt (or to taste; see Notes)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- a pinch of ground nutmeg
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup milk
- ~½ cup pumpkin purée (i.e., canned pumpkin or cooked winter squash; see Notes)
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- ~1 tablespoon fat (if needed) to grease the griddle or skillet (butter, lard, or bacon grease are our favorites)
- garnish of butter and maple syrup (jam is also nice)
- If you’re using an electric griddle (preferably one that’s nonstick), turn it on to 350F degrees. If you’re using a regular griddle or skillet, warm it over low stovetop heat as you prepare the pancake batter.
- In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and spices). Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, add the egg and beat it. Add the milk and pumpkin purée to the egg, then whisk to combine (it may be easier to use a rubber spatula). Add the melted butter and whisk it in.
- Add the liquid ingredients to the flour mixture and fold everything together. Stir just enough to combine the ingredients, but don’t overmix. It’s OK if the batter is somewhat lumpy.
- You should have a thick batter that is pourable. Too thick? Add a bit more milk (but see Notes). BTW, if your batter sits for a bit, it’ll thicken up, and you’ll probably want to beat in more milk.
- If you’re using an electric griddle, it should be hot enough by now. If you’re using a regular griddle or skillet, turn the heat up to medium and wait a minute (a drop of water will skip across the surface when it’s hot enough). Add a little fat to grease the griddle or skillet (this is usually not necessary for a nonstick one). Then, using a ¼ cup measure or a large spoon (see Notes), ladle some batter onto the hot griddle. Repeat until you’ve covered the cooking surface with pancake-sized dollops of batter.
- Cook until the edges of the pancakes seem firm and done, with bubbles forming in the middle of the pancakes (about 3 minutes, maybe a bit less). Turn the pancakes over, then cook another 2 minutes (or a bit less) until they’re cooked through.
- Plate each round of pancakes and let them rest while you cook the remaining batter (they hold well in a 250F degree oven for 30 minutes or so).
- Serve the pancakes with butter, maple syrup, jam, or whatever you like.
- An electric griddle is great for making pancakes because it provides steady heat. The griddle’s low sides also make it easier to turn the pancakes. But a regular griddle or skillet works well, too.
- We use canned pumpkin in this recipe because it’s convenient and we like the flavor (use pumpkin purée, not pumpkin pie filling). If you want to use fresh pumpkin, it’s easy enough to cook your own pumpkin purée if you wish. Or use any other winter squash you fancy (we suggest butternut or acorn in particular).
- BTW, in most of North America, “pumpkin” refers to a specific variety of orange-fleshed winter squash (the kind used for making Jack O’Lanterns – though we prefer to use the smaller “pie” pumpkin for cooking). Throughout much of the world, pumpkin just means any winter squash.
- Sugar is optional in pancakes. It adds a touch of sweetness, but its main function is to help the pancakes brown. If you skip it, we doubt if you’ll notice much difference.
- We use double-acting baking powder (which is the most common type you’ll find in your supermarket). It’s called double acting because you get two reactions from it: First when you mix the powder with wet ingredients (creating the bubbles you’ll see in the batter, which help the pancakes rise) and a second reaction when the batter hits the heat of the griddle.
- Baking powder contains two active ingredients, baking soda and an acidic ingredient (which reacts with the baking soda to produce leavening). There’s generally a third, inactive ingredient (typically corn starch) to provide bulk.
- Baking powder weakens over time (check the expiration date on the container). We generally replace ours once a year – usually when the time changes in the fall (so we remember to do it).
- Don’t overmix pancake batter. If you do, the gluten in the flour begins to develop, which can lead to chewy pancakes.
- If the pancake batter is too thick for your liking, you can add a bit more milk. But remember that thinner batter will produce flatter, less fluffy pancakes.
- How large to make the pancakes? Any size you like, really, from dollar sized to as large as the circumference of your griddle will allow. We use a ¼ cup scoop, which makes a size that’s easy to handle (by which we mean flip on the griddle).
- Butter is wonderful on pancakes. So we always add a pat (or a scoop of tubbed butter) to each serving.
- Then there’s maple syrup, which most people consider a must for pancakes. We always use the “pure” stuff. Pure = 100% maple syrup. Avoid the “pancake syrup” that dominates the shelves of most grocery stores (it’s not very good). Pancake syrup contains some maple syrup, but most of the contents are flavorings and other sweeteners.
- In the US, pure maple syrup is graded “A” or “B.” Grade A is subdivided into Light (Fancy) Amber, Medium Amber, and Dark Amber. Grade A is what you’re likely to find on the store shelf. Grade B typically has a much stronger, darker taste.
- We like to use dark amber maple syrup (when we can get it) because of its color and flavor, but we won’t say no to light or medium.
- We use kosher salt in cooking. It’s less salty by volume than regular table salt (the crystals are larger and more irregular, so they pack a measure less tightly). If using table salt, use about half the amount we suggest. But always season to your taste, not ours.
- Pancakes are traditionally thought of as breakfast food. But we also enjoy them for dinner. Or lunch, for that matter.
“Wow,” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs. “Who knew pumpkin and pancakes could play so well together?”
“Yeah, the flavor of these exceeded expectations,” I said. “Turned out batter than I thought.”
“That joke fell flat as a pancake,” said Mrs K R.
“Thought you’d flip over it,” I said.
“Careful,” said Mrs K R. “I don’t waffle around.”
Guess I better stop before she gets crêped out.
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