Pumpkins and the autumn season go hand in hand. For me, pumpkins bring up a host of memories: a cozy fireplace and the tantalizing rich spicy aroma of baking with pumpkins. There are so many options besides the ever-popular pumpkin pie. There are cookies, cakes, muffins and many more. Besides the baking there are savory recipes for pastas, soups and lists of other wonderful recipes.
I have one memory from my youth that still makes me smile. I planted some “Jack ‘O Lantern” pumpkins early in the spring hoping for a good crop that I could use for roasted pumpkin seeds and creating some lanterns for Halloween. When the fall came I had a trunk load of very large pumpkins ready for harvest. I had more than enough for the desired pumpkin seeds and lanterns, so I decided to tackle the task of making my own pumpkin puree. What a disaster! It took me hours of cutting, scraping, de-seeding and slicing then I still had to bake them. After that I had to peel them, chop them and attempt to puree them without the use of a food processor. Then I had to strain the mixture before I could even think of baking anything.
Finally, I have the finished product and I am anticipating tasty pumpkin pie. I can hardly wait for the first generous slice covered in fresh whipped cream.
Not! The pumpkin puree is a watery mixture that wrecked my tender flaky crust. This was a hard lesson learned: field pumpkins are for decoration, not eating. They have a watery, stringy flesh not recommended for baking use. So, please either use smaller sugar pumpkins for preparing pumpkin puree, or just use no prep-work canned pumpkin, which has the appropriate consistency.
I hope you will try my Pumpkin Puff Pancake on a crisp chilly morning and let it warm your spirits.
Pumpkin Puff Pancake
1 cup flour
1 tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 tbsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. nutmeg
¼ tsp. all spice
¼ tsp. ginger
1 cup milk
½ cup canned puree pumpkin
2 slightly beaten egg yolks
2 tbsp. melted butter
2 stiffly beaten egg whites
3 tablespoon butter
Preheat oven to 400°F and place a 9 or 10 inch cast iron
pan into the oven to get hot.
In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, all spice and ginger. In another bowl combine the milk, egg yolks, pumpkin puree and the melted butter. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, stirring just until well incorporated and moistened. Gently, fold in the egg whites just until the mixture is light and fluffy.
Place the butter into the hot skillet and swirl the pan to coat the bottom. Add the puff pancake mixture and bake for 25 minutes until golden and fluffed.
Dust with powdered sugar and serve with maple syrup.