Buttermilk Pumpkin Pancakes & Pecan Spiced Maple Syrup

Sunday, October 05, 2014

This is the first post I'm doing that's an update to one of my older recipes. It's something I've wanted to do for awhile but I get so caught up on the new stuff that working backwards rarely seems quite as appealing! As a blogger, one of the cool things about having your work documented is being able see your progress over time. Sometimes I look back at old posts and think yikes...I said that? Others aren't too different than what I would cook today, but the photographs and plating aren't up to par with the quality I know I can produce now. I decided I'd make an occasional visit back in time to redo some recipes I felt would benefit most from a face-lift. And since just the other day, somebody tweeted that they (successfully) made my old pumpkin pancake recipe... it reminded me that this is one I could easily rework!

I am deep into pumpkin recipe testing these days and will tell you that this is a recipe that doesn't benefit from fresh pumpkin. I tried it both ways, to be sure. I used some leftover roasted pumpkin (from pie testing, of course) and added that to my first batch of pancake batter. As soon as I mixed them I knew I was going to be disappointed because the color just turned a boring brown. The end product tasted fine but I'd describe the flavor more as a spiced pancake versus a pumpkin pancake. The pumpkin just didn't come through, probably because the canned stuff is a lot more concentrated. I had similar results with my pie testing and found that cooking the fresh pumpkin puree helped to intensify the flavor. But who wants to take that extra time for pancakes? Not this girl.

First batch of the not-so-pumpkiny pancakes
The biggest differences in this recipe from the original post are that I'm using buttermilk and a lighter flour. At the time I wrote my older post, I had cut back on my dairy consumption significantly so coconut milk was my substitution of choice. Nowadays, as you're probably well aware by now, I sing the praises of buttermilk. The tang and thick consistency just makes it perfect for baking. Low fat buttermilk is perfectly fine to use here and is most likely all you're able to find in your grocery store (unless you're lucky enough to get the real stuff, in which case I'm ridiculously jealous.) As for the flour, White Lily saves the day in keeping these light and tender despite the addition of pumpkin puree to the batter. For my non-southern cooks, check out the links below to order some for yourself and taste the magic! Otherwise, a substitution of half cake flour will get you close.

Some day, I will move on to fabulous French toast and Belgian waffle recipes. Today is not that day. Today, I will continue to pay homage to what I've now realized is my favorite of the three: pancakes. They just seem to get easier and easier every time I work on my recipes, which is so important to me for breakfast. What used to take me several mixing bowls and a mixer is now down to a blender and a bowl. There are no tricks here - no whipping of the egg whites or special order of mixing ingredients. In fact, these are so easy they were literally done with one hand (thanks Raven!)

Fluffy, tender pancakes packed with pumpkin flavor and finished with a buttery spiced maple syrup and toasted pecans...does it get more perfect? These pancakes were made for the fall, but I have a feeling some of you dedicated pumpkin spice lovers will enjoy them all year long!

Buttermilk Pumpkin Pancakes & Pecan Spiced Maple Syrup


Pumpkin Pancakes:
2 cups White Lily All Purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 can organic pumpkin puree
1 to 1 1/4 c. buttermilk
2 tsp pumpkin spice, recipe follows (or use your own)
2 eggs
1/4 c. light brown sugar
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp orange zest or orange extract
4 tbsp melted and cooled unsalted butter
Unrefined coconut oil or butter flavored shortening, for griddle

Pecan Spiced Maple Syrup:
1 c. pure maple syrup
1/2 c. pecans
1/2 tsp pumpkin spice, recipe follows (or use your own)
1 tbsp butter

Pumpkin Spice Blend:
2 tbsp ground Saigon cinnamon
1 tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cardamom

Servings: 4 to 6
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 30 min
Equipment Suggested: Griddle or large cast iron skillet, blender or food processor, small pot or skillet

Below you'll find some recommended cooking tools that I've personally selected. If you follow an affiliate link and go on to purchase that product, I will be paid a small commission (however your cost will always be the same!)

Make your pumpkin spice blend first and set it aside. Simply mix all the spices together and store in an airtight container. Use this in any of your favorite recipes calling for pumpkin spice! The cardamom is new for me this year and adds a really nice warmth to the blend. Always grate your own nutmeg, it will have full flavor as opposed to something that's been sitting in a jar forever.

The syrup can also be prepared ahead of time. Start by toasting your pecans in a dry pot or skillet. This will only take a couple minutes, so keep an eye on it to prevent scorching. When you can smell the warm pecans, they're done.

Pour in your maple syrup and stir in a hefty pinch of pumpkin spice. Once the syrup has warmed through, stir in a pat of cold butter. Turn off the heat and either set aside or transfer to a small mason jar for storage. You'll want to refrigerate any leftover syrup.

Whisk together your dry ingredients - flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. If you don't have White Lily, use half regular AP flour and half cake flour.

In your blender, add the eggs, pumpkin puree, 2 teaspoons of pumpkin spice, eggs, brown sugar, 2 tbsp maple syrup, vanilla extract, orange extract and melted butter. Add just 3/4 cup of the buttermilk. Blend on high speed until puree is smooth.

Gently fold the wet ingredients into your dry ingredients. I use a whisk first then switch to a rubber spatula to scrape the sides of the bowl. If the batter is too thick, add enough of the remaining buttermilk to get to the desired consistency.

Don't stir your batter to death or you'll end up with tougher pancakes. A few lumps will remain! Because of the pumpkin, it will be a little thicker than usual.

Easy so far, right? I told you it would be nothing complicated. By this point you can preheat your griddle. It's ready when a splash of water makes droplets that scatter over the surface of the griddle. If the water sizzles and quickly evaporates, it's probably too hot. The ideal temperature for this recipe will be somewhere between medium and medium high, depending on your stove top and equipment.

I like to test one pancake before I proceed with the rest of the batter. It really helps to check if your batter is the right consistency and griddle is at the perfect temperature. Grease your griddle so that it's thinly coated with oil. Coconut oil is perfect for this recipe. The subtle sweetness works here, and it's great at high temps.

I use 1/4 cup at a time for each pancake. My test pancake was a little too thick, and the griddle needed to be turned down a notch. What happened here is that the surface of the pancake was browning faster than the inside could cook all the way through. To fix that, I simply added a splash more buttermilk to my batter, and I turned the heat down to medium on my griddle.

Now we're cooking. The rule of thumb when cooking pancakes is to flip when you see bubbles on the surface. Well, these pumpkin pancakes have a thicker batter so that might not be as easy to see. Instead, I watch the bottom of the pancake. You can see it start to get golden brown as it crisps, and that's when I know it's time to flip.  Because of the leavening agents, the pancakes will also start to puff up a little so that's another indicator for doneness.

Use your spatula to flip each pancake over in one swift motion. If I can do this with a baby in tow, so can you. These probably took 5 to 7 minutes total to cook per batch. It's definitely a slower cook then most pancakes because of the slightly lower heat, but the result is pancakes that are cooked all the way through and still golden brown with that perfectly crispy rim.

Maybe it's because I really have to get in there to take good photos, but I love watching my food cook. It's like witnessing the magic unfold before your eyes. Especially pancakes.

Stack these babies up as they come off the griddle. If you want, keep them warm in the oven until it's time to serve. Always let your griddle reheat in between batches and grease it with additional coconut oil.

You might be wondering what in the world I do with all these pancakes as I test recipes. Well, they freeze really, really well. I wrap them up in pairs in aluminum foil and then store them in freezer bags. Unwrapped, they take mere minutes to heat up in the microwave so it's an easy breakfast for my son before school!

When it's time to dig in, pour a little bit of that deliciously spiced maple syrup over top. I didn't think these needed anything else, not even butter. They are decadent and the perfect fall treat. Enjoy!

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  1. How much pumpkin puree is in a can? 14oz? Thanks! Looking forward to trying it!