Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pecan Pancakes
Thanksgiving is still two days away, but Greg and I started preparing early Sunday morning. I wanted to ease into the gray day with a leisurely breakfast–a little coffee, a crossword puzzle, and maybe some pancakes. Greg had other plans. He struck up a casual conversation about Thanksgiving table arrangements—a subject that’s anything but casual for us—while I poured my first cup of coffee. Before I knew it dining tables were moved, turned, and moved again. Chairs came out. Chairs went in. Chairs turned. Tables moved again. To a peeping Tom the scene probably looked like a game on the Price is Right. Greg was measuring and muttering and trying his best to keep his cool. My coffee cooled on the counter. I couldn’t think of a worse start to my Sunday morning.
Table arranging for Thanksgiving brings out the worst in us both. Arguing over where people (Greg’s family and a few friends thrown in for good measure) sit for our Thanksgiving feast is an unfortunate part of our holiday tradition. If Greg gets That Tone in his voice–the one he inherited from his father–it can all break bad very fast. My contribution to the kerfuffle is usually a new idea or new way I think we should do it. The past, I believe, can always be improved on. Unfortunately my visions aren’t always an accurate reflection of the space available. “Bob, that won’t fit. We’ve tried it before,” Greg will say in That Tone. I stubbornly insist it will work and duck as Greg flings the snaking metal measuring tape across the dining room.
An hour later the chairs, high-chairs (four and counting) and tables that would accommodate seventeen adults and five kids were in place. But we weren’t out of the woods yet. The equally contentious matter of who would sit where remained. Delicate issues like girth, eating habits, and hearing problems were considered as we shuffled placecards from table to table, from seat to seat. For the first time in ten years of hosting Thanksgiving, we pulled off the table and seating arrangements without a single argument. And we were way ahead of schedule.
It was time for pancakes; we’d earned them. I savored every maple-soaked, nutty bite, every moment, knowing that my next chance to relax wouldn’t come until after the elaborate feast was over. Now, with the part of the holiday I least enjoy already out of the way, only the best is yet to come–sharing a bountiful meal with our loved ones nestled into their carefully arranged seats.
Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pecan Pancakes
These pancakes are denser than your typical fare with a texture reminiscent of pumpkin bread. I like to keep the spices on the light side so the pumpkin flavor shines through, but you can change it up to suit your own taste.
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup pumpkin puree
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 3/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour (All purpose flour will yield an equally satisfying though slightly denser pancake.)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
Butter for the griddle
Maple syrup for serving
- Whisk together the milk, eggs, pumpkin puree, maple syrup, and oil.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and spices. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones, mixing only until combined. Stir in the pecans.
- Melt some butter on a griddle over low-medium heat. Ladle about 1/3 cup of batter on the griddle for each pancake. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until bubbles appear on top and the underside is nicely browned. Flip the pancakes and cook for another minute or two until browned.
- Continue cooking the pancakes until all the batter is used.
Makes about 12 pancakes.
Why stop at pancakes? For a pumpkin breakfast trifecta: Pumpkin Pie Waffles with Bourbon Pecan Syrup and Pumpkin Scones.