Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Brown Butter Pumpkin Pancakes with Maple Bourbon Bacon Pecans

Brown Butter Pumpkin Pancakes

If you're cooking Thanksgiving dinner for your family, then I know that the last thing you're probably thinking about right now is pumpkin pancakes. It's more likely that you're still trying to figure out exactly how long that turkey is going to take, or playing tetris with said turkey and the 10 different casserole dishes in your fridge, or maybe you're busy ironing napkins and thinking to yourself "when did I become this person?" 

But perhaps if you're choosing R&R over being trampled in a riot at Walmart on Black Friday, and you've had a couple days full of turkey sandwiches and soup, you'd like to use up the leftover pumpkin puree from that pumpkin pie and make what amounts to dessert for breakfast. Or, if you're really lucky, you have an awesome family member who wants to treat you to it!

These aren't your average pancakes - they're super fluffy pancakes flavored with pumpkin and warm spices, laced with brown butter and topped with cinnamon whipped cream and sweet, salty, bacon-y pecans. Yeah, they're good. This recipe makes a big family sized portion of pancakes, but it's easy enough to half the recipe. They are surprisingly tasty even after being reheated, though!

Brown Butter Pumpkin Pancakes

Brown Butter Pumpkin Pancakes
with Maple Bourbon Bacon Pecans

For the pecans:
1 egg white
3 Tbsp bourbon
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup maple sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp kosher salt
3 strips thick-cut bacon, cooked until crisp and finely chopped
3 cups raw pecans, coarsely chopped

For the pancakes:
1 stick butter (1/2 cup), cut into several slices
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
4 Tbsp sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp clove
1 tsp kosher salt
2 cup milk (room temp)
3/4 cup pumpkin puree (room temp)
2 eggs (room temp)

1 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp powdered sugar
pure maple syrup, for serving

1. For the pecans: Preheat oven to 350F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment.  In a large bowl, whisk egg white until foamy, then whisk in the bourbon, vanilla, maple sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Add the pecans and bacon and toss to coat. Spread the nuts in an even layer on the prepared pan and bake int he preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool for at least 10 minutes before removing from the pan and setting aside.

2. For the pancakes: Heat a small skillet over medium heat. Add the sliced stick of butter, whisking frequently. Continue to cook the butter and wait for it to foam up and then subside. Watch for small brown specks to form in the butter - it should smell toasty and nutty. Once it reaches this point remove from the heat and measure out 4 Tablespoons of the melted butter and place into a medium bowl. Pour the remaining butter into a small vessel and stick in the fridge or freezer so it can harden up for serving.

3. To the medium bowl with the 4 Tablespoons of brown butter, add the milk, pumpkin puree and eggs and whisk until well blended (it helps if these ingredients are at room temperature.) In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, clove and salt. Gently, but quickly, mix the wet ingredients into the flour mixture. 

4. Heat a heavy frying pan or griddle over medium heat and lightly grease. The pan is ready when a drop of water skitters across the surface of the pan. Drop 1/4 cups of pancake batter onto the pan and cook on one side until bubbles begin to form on the surface, about 2 minutes or so. Flip over and cook on the other side for another 2 minutes, or until golden brown. 

5. To serve, whip the heavy cream, 1/2 tsp cinnamon and powdered sugar until soft peaks form. Top the pancakes with a bit of the cooled brown butter from the fridge/freezer, a drizzle of maple syrup, a dollop of whipped cream and prepared pecans.

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