Monday, October 19, 2009

At The Stroke of Midnight...Pumpkin Cornmeal Pancakes

I love pumpkin. Not just because it has the power to transform almost any banal baked good into an incarnation moist and flavorful, but because every time I eat anything infused with this intensely-flavored squash, I think of my friend and surrogate sister, Nicole.

Nicole and I have been eating and laughing together since we were thirteen, and it is ridiculous how many memories of her and I involve the following: pumpkin bread, pumpkin spice, and mellow crème candy pumpkins. We used to gift each other with a bag of candy pumpkins every year, eating them by the handful as we curled up on the couch watching trash TV in our crappy little college apartment.

Nicole also used to whip up batches of pumpkin pancakes on occasion, in our tiny kitchen with the sloping floor, on cold mornings when we’d have the thermostat cranked down to 58° to save money. This recipe is an homage to hers—moist, dense, and replete with assertive spices and cornmeal for a surprising crunch. Make some. They are enough to turn even the grumpiest eater in your home into a morning person.

Pumpkin Cornmeal Pancakes (serves 2 adults generously)

½ cup cornmeal
½ cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of ground cloves
½ cup pumpkin (pureed, from a can) (TIP: Portion out the rest of the can into half-cup servings and freeze for later use.)
1 teaspoon grated orange peel
¼ cup brown sugar
¾ cup milk
1 egg
1 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
Maple syrup

1. In a small pan warmed over medium heat, toast walnuts, stirring frequently, until they are browned on all sides and pleasantly fragrant. Remove from pan and set aside to cool.
2. In a large bowl, whisk to combine cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt, and spices.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk to combine pumpkin, milk, egg, brown sugar and orange peel.
4. Add wet ingredients to dry, stirring to combine (but don’t over mix).
5. Heat a large frying pan or griddle over medium heat. Grease pan with a bit of oil or butter (I use a tad of both…butter for flavor, oil because it doesn’t scorch in the pan), and cook pancakes in batches, flipping once when bubbles form and burst on the surface of the cakes.
6. Serve warm, topped with toasted walnuts and maple syrup.


Smelly Cat said...

This looks so yummy...!

You know I've been working on a bag of Brach's Autumn Mix this week. It's been an act of discipline to spread it out at least over a few days.

Thank you, friend, for the shout-out!


Mom said...

F*ck! For years, I have had tons of canned pumpkin in my pantry, and now, I am out and it is 9:20 pm here and how the h*ll am I going to make this tomorrow for breakfast????? Looks lovely! You are missed in Michigan...come back for the cookie exchange! Don't you have some frequent flyer miles to use?

Anonymous said...

Must. Have. Pancakes. YUMMY! Those look amazing.