Pumpkin Spice season is finally here—and it’s one of the reasons why Fall is my favorite season. It reminds me of the sound of crisp leaves, crunching beneath my feet on the crisp leaves as I walk to get the mail, the smell of crackling fires, and of course, Starbucks (duh). It sends me to a place of calm, where I hear the jazz number ‘Autumn Leaves’ on repeat, and the feeling of a warm, fuzzy blanket, encompassing my entire body. A lovely time of year, often a period of reflection before the new year ensues.
This is the recipe I made for my friend who is currently caretaking for her partner who is suffering from brain cancer. She has been inside day in day out taking care of him. Her partner is one of my best friends, so I’ve been caring for him, too, feeding him nutritious meals full of warming herbs and spices, foraging and crafting mushroom teas and tinctures, and boosting him on elderberry syrup. We’ve been exhausting every resource that we have to keep our beloved comfortable.
I have been fortunate enough to take the time out of my day to go on walks, and do the little things to keep my mental health in check, but she has not. I wanted to bring my friend Fall inside, so that she could have a meal that was delicious, warm, and bring her the flavors of Fall inside of their apartment. She deserved that. We all deserve food that feels like a big, warm hug. These pancakes are comforting in all of the right ways.
These pancakes are fluffy, moist, and are perfectly crispy around the edges (my favorite!). They’re well balanced and not too sweet. I relied on some of my favorite spices to create very special flavor characteristics all around. Ginger promotes proper digestion and is great for the gut, while nutmeg increases immune function and improves blood circulation. The allspice, which I had to include as it is used in Jamaican cooking often, is antifungal, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory. Maple syrup and cloves are high in antioxidants, and cinnamon is antiviral and anti inflammatory as well. Pumpkin is currently in season, and seasonal eating is important to me as that means when the food is consumed it’s at its most nutritious state. It’s high in vitamin A, minerals, antioxidants, and boosts your immune system.
You see, I wanted to make my friend a meal that would be delicious, but I also wanted her to have a meal that was good for her, too. Nutrition matters, it always does. Every day is hard, but cooking is the highest form of love. When you can cook in a way that feeds the body and the soul, it provides a form of healing. I need her to be strong, because the battles are just beginning.
I hope you can enjoy these pancakes just as much as we did, because they really are quite special. This recipe was developed with love, so I hope you can share it with someone special in your life on a lazy Sunday morning, sipping coffee by a beautiful fireplace, or snuggled up in bed. Happy Fall.
**I am not a doctor, all opinions are of my own and my own research and understanding**
Pumpkin Spice Pancakes
Yield: 4 servings
1.5 cups all purpose flour, sifted
1.5 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp allspice
½ tsp cloves
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp kosher salt
6 tbsp brown sugar
⅔ cup organic pumpkin pureé
½ tsp grated ginger
¼ cup unsweetened apple sauce
1 cup buttermilk*
3 tbsp plant butter, melted, or olive oil, + more for cooking
½ tsp vanilla extract
Optional Garnishes: Maple syrup, glazed walnuts, powdered sugar, and butter
1/2 cup walnuts
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp cinnamon
- Combine all ingredients up to the brown sugar, in a mixing bowl, and whisk to combine.
- In a large liquid measuring cup, whisk together the pumpkin puree, grated ginger, apple sauce, buttermilk, plant butter / olive oil, and vanilla extract, until smooth.
- Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and stir with a rubber spatula until fully incorporated. The batter will be slightly thick, yet runny.
- Spray a nonstick pan with avocado oil (I find this works the best, but you can also use butter or a high heat oil such as sunflower oil)
- Place the pan on a burner over medium heat. Once the pan is warmed and the oil is sizzling, scoop the batter into the center of the pan using a ¼ cup measurer.
- Cook the pancake until the edges get bubbly and crispy, about 2-3 minutes, then flip and cook the other side of the pancake for another 2-3 minutes. Repeat until all pancakes are made.
- Prepare the Glazed Walnuts: Combine walnuts, maple syrup, and cinnamon. Set aside.
- Serve the pancakes hot, topping with walnuts and any other optional garnishes. Enjoy!
- To make the buttermilk: Combine 1 cup of your favorite milk / dairy free alternative (I prefer oat or almond milk), and the juice of ½ lemon. Stir to combine, and allow it to sit at room temperature for five minutes. The consistency should be a bit thick.
- Pro-tip– Don’t have all of the fun spices to make this pancake recipe? Whole Foods Brand Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix will do the trick! Just sub 2 ½ tsp of the spice blend in the recipe to replace the nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, and allspice. Enjoy!
- Pro-tip–Make Your Own Pumpkin Puree! If you want to make your own pumpkin puree, just purchase a small pumpkin, halve it, scrape out the seeds and stringy flesh, and lightly season with salt. Roast the pumpkin on a sheet tray, face down, at 350F for 45-50 minutes. Scrape the softened flesh into a food processor, puree until smooth, and enjoy.