Every holiday seems to have a culinary pairing that evokes comfort and connection. For me, Thanksgiving means pumpkin, typically in the form of pumpkin pie.
Every fall, I buy a half-dozen pie pumpkins and through a simple process that takes an afternoon, I bake them, scoop out the flesh, drain them of liquid, puree the pulp, and then freeze containers of pumpkin which gets used in pies throughout the year.
With fall again upon me, I looked in my freezer and found a number of unused containers of pumpkin filling. Around the same time, I was reading Meagen’s blog Chaos and Cookies and I came across her recipe for pumpkin pancakes: Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk Buttermilk Pancakes with a Warm Sweet Cream Cheese Topping.
I thought great, Thanksgiving doesn’t just have to be about pumpkin pie. With the holiday a few days away, I knew I now had the inspiration for what to do with this accumulated pumpkin.
However, as mouth-drooling as Meagan’s recipe appeared, I needed to alter it for a few reasons. First, I wanted to create a gluten-free version of her recipe. Secondly, there were just two people (and a dog) to feed, so I needed to pare down the recipe. And, finally, as always, I wanted to put my spin on the recipe by interjecting some fall spices into the dish and also reduce the sugar.
If you’re not gluten-sensitive, I still recommend this recipe. You’re not giving up anything in terms of lightness or fluffiness and you’re gaining a whole lot more flavour and nutrition. However, if you don’t feel like stocking your pantry with these “crazy” flours, you can substitute the flours for 1½ cups of all-purpose flour — just omit the guar gum and you may also want to reduce the buttermilk by a couple of tablespoons.
One final cooking note: I was intrigued by the chocolate chips in her recipe and thought I’d try them on a few pancakes. However, as tasty as they were, the verdict was unanimous, even from the chocolate addict in the family: the chocolate overpowered everything else. Therefore, even if you love chocolate, I recommend omitting it.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 12-14 pancakes (feeds about 4-6 people)
Pumpkin Pancakes with Cream Cheese Sauce (Gluten-Free)
- 1 cup brown rice flour
- 1/2 cup quinoa flour
- 1/4 cup buckwheat flour
- 1/4 cup sorghum flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon guar gum
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger powder
- 1/4 teaspoon ground mace
- 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
- 2 eggs, at room temperature
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1½ cups buttermilk, at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons of melted butter
- Optional: chocolate chips
Cream Cheese Sauce
- 4 ounces (125g)
→ Half a typical package
- 1/2 cup icing (confectioners) sugar
- 2 tablespoons of milk
- Prepare the cream cheese sauce by measuring out the cream cheese in a medium glass bowl or measuring cup and microwave it for about 30-40 seconds until soft. Whisk it until smooth. Add the icing sugar gradually and continue to whisk as you incorporate it all. Add a few tablespoons of milk until it is the right consistency. Place the sauce in a squeeze bottle, a piping bag, or, simply, in a small baggie and set aside until pancakes are ready.
- Sift together in a large bowl all of the dry ingredients (everything from flour to allspice).
- Add both eggs to the mixture and whisk them into the flour until it evenly creates a pea-meal consistency.
- Add the pumpkin and maple syrup and blend together.
- Begin to preheat griddle on medium heat.
- Add the buttermilk and vanilla to the batter and mix it together — but don’t overmix. If you “overmix” you will lose some of the essential tenderness that you get from using buttermilk.The batter should be thick enough to hold its shape when spooned onto a griddle. If too thick, add a bit more buttermilk. If too runny, add a tablespoon more rice flour.
- Add a 1/2 teaspoon of butter to the griddle and spread it around. Then, spoon batter onto griddle to form pancakes about the size of your palm.
If adding chocolate chips, sprinkle them over the pancakes at this point.
- Let the pancakes cook on medium heat, undisturbed. Pancakes will be ready to flip when they have fluffed up and the edges have “dried” and started to lift. Peek under an edge if you must until you figure out the right signs. When golden underneath, carefully flip.
- Cook for another few minutes then serve on warm plates or place in a warm oven until all are ready.
- Squeeze or spoon cream cheese sauce over the pancakes. If using a baggie, cut a small hole in one corner of the bag and “pipe” the sauce over the pancakes.
Serve for Thanksgiving breakfast or anytime of year and enjoy pumpkin in a new form.