Leftover Pumpkin Gets a Breakfast-y Makeover
There was talk in Friday's blog space about what to do with leftover turkey and the more obvious Thanksgiving trimmings such as cranberries and stuffing. However, I overlooked the lonely container of pumpkin puree sitting in my fridge, one cup remaining from dessert and begging to be used.
I immediately thought of the jug of Vermont maple syrup given to me by my visiting father-in-law, and wondered if there was a way to combine the two ingredients into some kind of wonderful breakfast over the long holiday weekend. Pancakes are among my favorite things to make for those rare lingering mornings (although recently, I made blue corn pancakes one Thursday pre-work morning for me and Mister MA, to which he declared, "Let's have pancakes every Thursday!"), and I kept thinking, if only I could come up with a pumpkin-y pancake.
I went straight to the pages of "West Coast Cooking," a recent acquisition written by Seattle-area chef Greg Atkinson, whose passion for seasonal and home-spun cooking frequently inspires what I do on this side of the country.
In his book, Atkinson has a recipe for pumpkin waffles, a earthy-sounding treat but a problem if you're sans waffle iron. Undeterred, I started tinkering with the recipe and adapted it for thinner-battered pancakes. And guess what? They came out great! The only problem is that we didn't have enough to closely analyze my experiment, so I promised a repeat breakfast on Sunday morning.
For liquid, I used apple cider on one day, milk on the next, both of which slightly thinned the batter and added a hint of sweetness. I imagine soymilk would work equally well if that's of interest.
The results are not-too-sweet, but with plenty of warming autumnal spice and color. I highly recommend placing pancakes in a low oven to allow them to keep cooking (pumpkin can be dense and can use some of that contained heat); garnishes are also a good idea, be it sprinkled heart-healthy nuts, roasted unsalted pumpkin seeds or applesauce (or heck, what about some of that leftover cranberry sauce?). On the second day, Mister MA and I were thinking that these pancakes could be an interesting vehicle for a more savory presentation, such as curried chickpeas or rice pilaf.
The possibilities, born out of leftovers, could be endless!
Inspired by "West Coast Cooking" by Greg Atkinson
1 1/4 cups cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup Canola oil (or equally neutral-flavored oil)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups pumpkin puree, fresh or canned
If needed: 1/4 cup liquid -- apple cider and milk work equally well
Oil or oil spray for cooking pancakes
Other options to consider: Soymilk for liquid; 1 cup pureed silken tofu instead of egg
Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
In a small mixing bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, baking powder and salt.
In a larger mixing bowl, whisk egg with brown sugar, oil and vanilla extract until combined. Whisk in pumpkin puree. With a rubber spatula, incorporate flour mixture into wet ingredients. Do not over mix. Batter is likely to be thicker than the average pancake batter; gradually add liquid to batter if necessary.
Heat skillet or griddle over medium heat and add oil or apply a thin coating of spray.
With a tablespoon, drop batter onto surface of pan, forming circles approximately two inches in diameter. Allow to cook for about three minutes, or until first side is golden brown. Flip, and cook on second side, using a slotted spatula to flatten for even cooking.
Remove from pan, and place pancakes on a plate or baking tray in warm oven while you continue to cook.
Serve with good quality maple syrup. Suggested toppings: sliced ripe Bartlett pears, applesauce, apple butter, chopped pecans or walnuts.
Makes 10-12 two-inch pancakes.
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