pumpkin pancakes

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#1 Girl, being in charge of Thanksgiving dessert, made a really good pumpkin cheesecake. Since it was both pumpkin pie and cheesecake filling the graham cracker crust, we ran into the inevitable problem of leftover pumpkin purée. Being outright wasteful of food feels like a heinous move this time of year, so I charged her with finding something else to do with less than 200g of purée. Pumpkin bread? Nope. Pumpkin cookies? Bleech. Mini pumpkin tartlets? Too much work.

Pumpkin pancakes? Oh my sweet, buttery Jesus YES.

I did not go to a written-recipe site in my hunt for pumpkin pancakes; I have found that watching people make a recipe is more informative than looking at its constituents. Most of the time, if I want a pancake I will use the Clinton Street Baking Company recipe, reducing the sugar significantly but employing that fussy folding in of the whipped egg whites. In this case, I was not interested (nor had enough purée) to indulge in a scientific pursuit of a Clinton Street-esque pumpkin pancake – I wanted a recipe that had demonstrably worked for someone else.

That means YouTube. One amateur cook who can show me how to make something that does not look like ass on camera is worth ten written recipes that each proclaim to be the best. Believe you me, I had to wade through multiple ass-looking pancake videos before I found the recipe I eventually used. It wasn’t bad-lighting ass, either; I can deal with low production values. Many of these recipes were like well-lit, Britney Spears at the VMA, Ron Jeremy-parodied ass.

Hi, remember me, the one who couldn’t turn out an edible pancake until the age of 36? I take such personal pride in that, I feel compelled to harshly critique recipes that I know will make an inferior product. I found myself yelling at some videos. “Bitch, did you not just see that you burnt that pancake?” “Why the fuck are you turning your griddle up so high?” “Gurrrl, that pancake is flatter than Kate Moss’ titties.” Etc. Some videos were easy to skip, since the representative screen shot showed that the victual star had obvious, fatal flaws.

I did eventually find the pumpkin pancakes I was looking for. Despite yelling at the video about the burnt pancake and yelling some more when the instructions called for adding the dry mix to the wet mix, the recipe is solid. I adapted it for a half-batch of pancakes and the spices I had on hand. Using my 1.5-oz portion scoop, it made 9 pancakes total.

Dry Mix
125g all-purpose flour
1t baking powder
1/2t baking soda
1/4t table salt
16g brown sugar
1/2t cinnamon
1/8t nutmeg
1/8t ground ginger
Dash ground clove (you may substitute 3/4t pumpkin pie spice for the cinnamon et al)

Wet Mix
6oz whole milk
28g beaten egg (1/2 of a large egg; see ratio notes below)
122g pumpkin purée
14g melted butter
14g apple cider vinegar

Mix Notes. Alton Brown defines a pancake as a muffin that is cooked on a griddle rather than in an oven. A muffin is a baked good of the same genus as cake, so ratios are important, as is the method of combining wet and dry ingredients. If you want to turn out a great batch of pancakes every time you make them, scale your ingredients and combine them using the Muffin Method. Briefly, the Muffin Method dictates that the dry mix and wet mix are whisked separately, then the wet mix is added to the dry mix and the batch stirred juuuust enough to combine, even if lumps of dry mix remain. It is not a difficult method, but a persnickety one.

Ratios. The dry mix ratio up above (1t baking power and 1/4t salt for every 125g flour) is the same used by the Clinton Street Baking Company. That was a major plus; I didn’t want to fiddle with the CSBC recipe, but this one came effectively pre-fiddled. The sugar, by weight, is 1/3 of the CSBC ratio, which is a matter of taste. If you are fine with a much sweeter product, you can adjust that ratio to your liking. Since this recipe calls for ersatz buttermilk (14g vinegar for 6oz milk), the addition of baking soda (1/2t per 125g flour) is necessary. If you forego the vinegar, you may safely forego the baking soda.

The CSBC wet-to-dry ratio is similar to this recipe – same ratio of milk to flour, but double the amount of egg than was called for above. In the half-batch of pancake batter I made, using the entire egg would have effectively increased my wet mix by 1oz. Had I made that choice, I’m sure it wouldn’t turn out too eggy. I could also have incorporated the egg yolk into the wet mix and whipped the egg white to fold into the final batter. If I make these again (next Thanksgiving weekend, hurr), I will certainly try it that way.

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One thought on “pumpkin pancakes

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