Growing up in my house, pancakes were a rare and almost scandalous treat. My mom never made them (she would make the occasional waffle on my grandparents’ 50+ year old waffle maker, which despite its age worked like a charm, but she would do so with hesitation, reminding my sister and me that a breakfast like this seriously lacked protein). My dad, to our delight, would always acquiesce our request for pancakes on Saturdays my mom worked. Within minutes, he’d produce from the kitchen a ridiculously tall stack of pale, buttery pancakes, drenched in Hungry Jack syrup, and we’d eat without worry of trivialities like protein- or nutrient-count. Such glorious mornings have lent pancakes a very special place in my heart.
This penchant for pancakes, coupled with October’s inevitable barrage of pumpkin pancake recipes on Pinterest, resulted in my recent resolution to cook up my very own stack. Last week while visiting Anthony in Paris, I purchased a thick slice of pumpkin one morning at market and set about making my breakfast dreams come true. And believe me: the extra work of making homemade pumpkin puree (see recipe below) was totally worth it.
Adapted from Martha Stewart
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 (generous) teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg (optional)
1 cup milk
6 tablespoons pumpkin puree (canned or homemade!)
2 tablespoons melted butter
oil for cooking
Making Homemade Pumpkin Puree
I was, to say the least, discouraged to learn how utterly unavailable a can of pumpkin puree is at your average French grocery store. But, let the record show, I did not lose sight of the goal (the goal being, of course, a feast of pumpkin pancakes). Thankfully, the Pioneer Woman was there to take my hand and guide me through the not-so-scary process of making homemade pumpkin puree. It all starts with one (or a chunk of one) lovable orange squash, which the French like to call un potiron. To begin, we cut it in half and scrape out its innards. (If you’re into pepitas, be sure to save the seeds for later.)
Next, we simply pop that squash into a hot oven (350 degrees) for about 45 minutes. No drizzle of oil, no frills. We want pumpkin puree in its purest form. When she’s done roasting, peel or cut away the skin and chop the pumpkin into more manageable cubes.
At this point, a food processor or blender would come in mighty handy. Simply puree the cubes of pumpkin until you’ve got a super smooth pie-worthy paste. Unfortunately, I didn’t have such luxury appliances at my disposal, but a few determined minutes with a fork got the pumpkin looking pureed enough. If you won’t be using the pumpkin straight away, seal it in a zip lock bag and freeze.
Making the Pancakes
From here on out, you should know the pancake-making drill. Start with making sure you have all the necessary ingredients.
In a large bowl sift together the dry ingredients (seriously, be generous with that cinnamon!). Add the pumpkin, butter, milk, and egg, and stir until combined.
Heat some oil on your griddle and start frying. And of course it’s always a good idea to keep your oven on low so that you can keep your finished cakes warm while you finish up the batch.
Serve with butter and real maple syrup (another tricky item to find in a French grocery store, I’ll have you know). These pancakes were fluffy and flavorful and totally autumnal. Next time I might even throw in a bit more pumpkin puree, to truly celebrate the season. We got about eight good-sized cakes out of this batch, but output will vary on pancake size-preference (though I, for one, never understood the appeal of silver dollar pancakes). Got a lazy November morning in your future? I highly recommend giving these a try. Bon appetit!