Hooray for fall! Although this is the first official day of autumn, we really began to feel the autumn crispness in the air a few days ago and we got the first welcome bit of rain a couple of days ago as well. The reason I am so happy about the cooling of the air and the meager bit of rain is due to experiencing an extremely dry year that culminated with the Zaca fire, which burned for six weeks, eventually becoming the second largest fire in California history. The Santa Barbara area was covered in soot and smoke for most of this six week period and everyone was on edge wondering if the fire would be contained, burn right past us into Ventura or come roaring down the mountain range into town. The air was dry and hot. The stress was palpable in the air and thoughts of lazy summer days were vanquished. After the fire was contained, we got treated to another fire just north of town in Gaviota which burned for a day and kept half of my coworkers home being that they commute from the north side of our county to work. So I say, after the summer of fire, bring on the rain! Bring on the cool, sweater weather! The soups, the roast meat and veggies, the smell of baking bread and desserts. I am oh so ready!!
To celebrate the first day of autumn, we decided to make an old standby: pumpkin pancakes. I thought I found the original recipe for these in Sunset magazine years ago but I can’t find the recipe online. In a way these are mine now anyway. I have made adjustments to the original recipe over the years and I double the recipe to use up the whole can of pumpkin. By doubling the recipe this way, we get around fourteen four-inch pancakes. We like the leftovers. The pancakes heat up well in the microwave. If you are a small family, who doesn’t like leftovers, half the recipe and freeze the other half can of pumpkin puree for a later batch of pancakes.
Although these pancakes scream out autumn, they are delicious any time of the year so store up a few extra cans of pumpkin, or if you are industrious, make sure you can or freeze some extra homemade pumpkin puree for later. To tell you the truth, we eat these pancakes all year long just because they are so extremely good.
Just a note before we get to the recipe: these pancakes and any other pancake that has and will appear on this blog can be made with any kind of white flour. Do yourself and your loved ones a favor and go get yourself a bag of whole-wheat pastry flour instead. Whole-wheat pastry flour has all of the same nutritional benefits of stone ground whole-wheat flour including 4 gm of fiber per quarter cup (white flour has less than one gram of fiber per quarter cup). According to the World’s healthiest food site, whole-wheat flour is good source of manganese, magnesium and tryptophan. You get these nutrients naturally without the flour having to be fortified with nutrients.
2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
3-4 tbsp packed brown sugar (depending on how sweet you like your pancakes)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp dried ground ginger
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp salt
2 large eggs
1 ½ cups milk
1 15 oz can of pumpkin puree
½ cup plain, nonfat yogurt
4 tbsp olive oil
butter for frying
In a large bowl, stir together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt. Break up any large clumps of brown sugar with your fingers (although any small remaining clumps will make delicious melted sugar clumps in your pancakes). In another bowl beat the eggs with a whisk and then whisk in the milk, pumpkin, yogurt and oil until well blended. Stir the egg mixture into the dry ingredients until just combined. Let batter sit for a few minutes. Meanwhile, preheat an electric pancake grill to 325 degrees F. When the grill is hot, melt the butter onto the grill. Ladle batter onto the grill and cook the pancakes for two to three minutes until the edges are dry and bubbly. Turn the pancakes and cook for another one to two minutes. We have to make these in two batches. Either serve the first batch of pancakes immediately or store the first batch in a warm (200 degree F.) oven until ready to serve. Serve with plain yogurt and either maple syrup or applesauce.