Thursday, November 10, 2011

Perfectly Perfect Pumpkin Pancakes

I'm just going to go ahead and say that these are the best pancakes in the history of all time.  Of course they have pumpkin, which, in my book, gives them a leg up.  But, what is shocking, is that these are perfectly perfect pancakes.  This is pretty surprising since they involve pumpkin, and, at least in my experience, pumpkin can do funny things to baked goods.  But, these are the real pancake deal.   
Unlike many pancakes, these behave exactly as you want them to when you are cooking.  They never spread too thin or remain too thick.  Flipping them is a dream.  And, you wind up with a pancake that is light, fluffy, and perfect. 

I could, and I do, gobble them up.

Especially when they are topped with vanilla yogurt and some lightly toasted walnuts.

Fair warning, though, in order to get a perfectly perfect pancake, there is an extra step involved.  Rather than just incorporating the eggs straight-away, you whip up the eggs whites.  This is, I am quite sure, the key to their light and fluffy consistency.  This doesn't take long, nor does it require skill, but it is a bit of an extra (very worth it) step.

Start by whisking your dry ingredients together.

After separating your eggs, mix the pumpkin together with melted butter, milk, egg yolks, and vanilla.
Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.
Whip up the egg whites.  Then, add in the egg whites, in three batches. 

Be sure to be nice when you fold in the egg whites so the bubbles in the whites don't totally deconstruct.  This may take longer than you think.

Next, cook them in your skillet. 
The flipping is so easy. 
Now... time to gobble them up!
Like I said, I am a fan of the yogurt-walnut combo, but I'm sure maple syrup won't disappoint.

Pumpkin Pancakes (adapted from epicurious)
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3 Tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4-1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 pinch nutmeg (about 1/8 tsp)
1/2 tsp ginger
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/3 cup milk
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
4 large eggs, separated
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whisk the first 5 ingredients into a large bowl.  Whisk milk, pumpkin, egg yolks, melted butter and vanilla in a medium bowl.  Add the pumpkin mixture to the dry ingredients.  Whisk just until smooth (batter will be thick).  Using an electric mixer, beat eggs white in another medium bowl until stiff but not dry.  Fold whites into batter in 2-3 additions.  Brush large nonstick skilled with oil; heat over medium heat.  Working in batches, pour by 1/3 cup-fulls into skilled.  Cook until bubble form on surface of pancakes and bottoms are brown, about 1 1/2 minutes per side.  Repeat with remaining batter, brushing skillet with oil between batches.*

*Keep the finished pancakes on a plate in a 200 degree oven, while you finish the rest of the batter.