Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Great Pumpkin

Lately, it seems as if the blog-gods have been willing me to write about pumpkins...and since it is almost Halloween, why not? Everywhere I turn I see pumpkin-flavored foods----my neighborhood ice cream parlor has pumpkin ice cream on special, Starbuck's reportedly has pumpkin scones (although I've only heard about them!), my mother sent me a recipe for pumpkin soup, and then, last Sunday, one of my favorite local breakfast spots, The Blue Bird Inn in Easton, Connecticut, featured Pumpkin Walnut Pancakes with Maple Butter. I went to brunch with the intention of having eggs and whole wheat toast, but when I saw the featured pancakes, all thoughts of protein and whole grains went out the window.

The generously-sized pancakes were sweeter and moister than traditional buttermilk pancakes, and slightly more dense. The walnuts gave a nice crunch, but did not overpower the texture. While they would have been good with regular butter, the maple butter was a great compliment to the pancakes. I chose to have mine with sausage instead of bacon on the side, because there is something about the combination of pumpkin and sausage that I love.

As soon as I got home, although stuffed to the gills, I started experimenting while the tasting memory was still fresh in my mind. I decided to use canned pumpkin and a multi-grain pancake mix to simplify the process. By adding a variety of spices and whipping up some maple butter, the result was just as good as the Blue Bird's. Now if I could only borrow their dishwasher!

Enjoy this dish on Halloween or Thanksgiving morning, or any other crisp, fall weekend that beckons for a visit from the Great Pumpkin!

Short-cut Pumpkin Pancakes with Walnuts and Whipped Maple Butter
Serves 4.
2 cups multi-grain pancake mix
1 cup milk
1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
2 Tablespoons canola oil
1 t cinnamon
1/4 t freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 cup walnut halves
Non-stick cooking spray

Whisk all ingredients except walnuts in a large bowl until smooth. Gently fold in walnuts.

Spray a griddle or large frying pan with non-stick cooking spray, and scoop approximately 1/4 cup of batter onto hot pan.

Cook until some tiny bubbles begin to appear on top of the pancake, and flip (because of the density of the pancakes, you'll see fewer "bubbles" than with regular pancakes, so check the underside before flipping). Cook an additional minute or two, or until golden brown.

Serve hot with whipped maple butter (recipe follows) and syrup.

Whipped Maple Butter

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 T maple syrup

Using an electric mixer, combine butter and maple syrup and beat until fluffy.
Serve with pumpkin-walnut pancakes.

Note: You can make this ahead of time by form maple butter into a log and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until needed.

1 comment:

mom said...

mmm. My dh had pumpkin cranberry apple pancakes yesterday at our Sunday breakfast spot. I had my usual bana/blueberry that I love/dream about all week, but his were far superior. Seriously, I've been thinking about them ever since.