At some time, each of us leaves the home where we grew up to try our hand at making it on our own. For me, that was when I was 18 years and eight months old, an adventure that began and continued for some time with minimal monetary income and material possessions.
Though I did not own a car or a set of bath towels, I think one of the things most lacking was a well-stocked kitchen with wonderful aromas of homemade food coming from within.
My new roommates and I did not sit down to eat together, in contrast to the three meals a day eaten by our family at the kitchen table of my youth. A table where we lingered over breakfast. We lingered because there were four of us kids but only three pancakes came off the griddle at once, and to eat our fill, we had to wait our turn for more; talking meanwhile about a book we had read, about our home school plans for the morning, or which chores needed to be tended to in the afternoon. Pancakes brought us together.
This recipe has an unknown origin, but since cookbooks haven’t called vegetable oil “salad oil” since the 1970s, I know this hand-written gem on a scrap of paper is an heirloom of sorts. I often requested my mom make these pumpkin pancakes — they have always been a favorite. And they filled the house with the best and most cozy aromas.
These toweringly-thick pancakes are substantial yet light, fluffy and tender, with rich Autumnal pumpkin flavor and hints of pumpkin-pie spices. They are not very sweet, a perfect complement for douses of butter and maple syrup.
Medium or low heat on the stove is essential to give these voluminous pancakes time to cook through before overbrowning. Go ahead and take your time; cooking pancakes brings people together to linger. Enjoy!
Pumpkin PancakesMakes about 14 four-inch pancakes
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon grated or ground nutmeg
- 1 ¾ cups milk (whole, skim, almond, rice or your preference)
- 1 cup pumpkin puree (canned, or flesh of a roasted squash or sweet potato)
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 eggs
Whisk first seven ingredients together in a large bowl.
In another bowl, combine milk with pumpkin, oil and eggs and beat well. (I like to use a 4-cup glass measuring cup for this step – measure and mix in one step and save dishes!)
Add the wet ingredients to the dry and fold together to combine, being careful not to over-mix. Minimal handling – batter should be thick with some lumps remaining – will produce the fluffiest, most tender pancakes.
Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat. If needed, melt a smidge of butter or oil to coat the pan, but I’ve found that with a non-stick pan, minimal greasing is necessary. Ladle 1/3 cup batter for each pancake, leaving plenty of room as they rise and spread while cooking. Cook until tops begin to show air bubbles. Flip and cook until golden brown. Serve hot.Note: if this batch is far too many for you to consume at once, store tightly wrapped in plastic in the fridge. These will reheat beautifully in the toaster tomorrow.