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.

Pumpkin pancakes: A great way to use up leftover puree. (Kim O'Donnel)

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!

Pumpkin Pancakes
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 egg
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.

By Kim ODonnel |  November 26, 2007; 9:25 AM ET Autumn Classics , Breakfast , Thanksgiving
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mmmm...my leftover pumpkin puree is also going to be made into pancakes soon. Pumpkin butter is very good with them, sometimes on top of a very thin layer of cream cheese. Epicurious also has a great recipe that makes light and fluffy pumpkin pancakes.

Posted by: Allison | November 26, 2007 10:31 AM

We've been looking for a recipe for Sweet Potato Pancakes ever since we tasted them in Memphis at the Arcade, "oldest resteraunt in town". This looks like something to play with. Thanks

Posted by: Paul Corsa, MI | November 26, 2007 10:39 AM

I made buttermilk pumpkin waffles using a recipe found on Epicurious. I substituted 1 cup of the flour w/whole wheat and they turned out tender and delicious and incredibly flavorful. They weren't too sweet so they could be used as a savory dish (leftover turkey made into a curry over the waffle perhaps?)

Posted by: Ebulient 1 | November 26, 2007 11:03 AM

We actually used the leftover pumpkin for to make the Food Section's pumpkin pasta that was posted in the Thanksgiving edition. You can't really taste the pumpkin, but the results are still pretty tasty!

Posted by: Pumpkin pasta | November 26, 2007 11:07 AM

I make my Quick one-minute oatmeal as per the box but I add 1/3 cup of pumpkin puree and a dash of cinnamon and some Splenda brown sugar. I also substitute milk for half of the water. This is my favorite winter breakfast and it really sticks with me.

Posted by: Just Me | November 26, 2007 2:02 PM

I made some spiced mashed sweet potatoes last night for our "Thanksgiving reprise." The cran sauce and sweet potatoes were touching on the plate, so I stirred a bit of one into the other. Surprisingly good mix. Homemade cran sauce -- fresh cranberries, some frozen mixed berries (razz, blackberry, etc) some ginger and merlot. Quite a nice cran sauce, and interesting with other stuff.

Posted by: for cranberry sauce | November 26, 2007 4:40 PM

Oh, I used my left over pumpkin puree to make a Brazilian corn meal cake. Then I topped it with a walnut-maple topping and baked it.

The cake is dense and moist - more like an Indian Pudding, but not as dark.


Posted by: Columbia MO | November 26, 2007 5:10 PM

I made pumpkin pancakes for lunch today and I hadn't seen this recipe. The recipe I used only called for 1/3 cup of pumpkin with the rest of the ingredients virtually the same. I wish I'd known to use more pumpkin.
I suggest serving them with leftover cranberry sauce and whipped cream, yum!

Posted by: db | November 26, 2007 5:33 PM

Thanks Kim!
I had pumpkin pancakes a couple of weekends ago at IHOP and loved them. I was thinking of looking for a recipe for them and you delivered without any research on my part!

Posted by: rmh | November 26, 2007 8:13 PM

Oooh, that sounds great! Thanks!

Posted by: Kat with a K | November 27, 2007 10:09 AM

I've always put about 1/3 cup of pumpkin or sweet potato puree, along with pie spice, in whatever pancake batter I was making. If I have a really black banana on the counter, I use that instead. Never tried mixing the two, however.

My big thing with the leftover sweets this year was making the sweet potato/grits spoonbread recipe in the Post. However, it clocked in at a whopping 1,200 calories a serving! I cut out the cream and egg yolks. It was more like a souffle than a pudding, but conforting all the same.

Posted by: S in Silver Spring | November 27, 2007 11:54 AM

Actually, that spoonbread clocked in at 186 calories per serving.

Posted by: B | November 27, 2007 12:14 PM

Ok, I made a crazy leftover concoction and everyone loved it! We called it Black Friday Quesadillas. I took whole wheat tortillas (the whole wheat turned out to be key to the great taste of the dish!) and spread them with left over sweet potato, some stuffing, turkey, a little cranberry sauce, braised red cabbage, and a little mild cheese to hold it together. Wow! Everyone loved it!

Posted by: KJ | November 27, 2007 12:40 PM

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