Sunday, October 14, 2018

Ruth Reichl's Pumpkin Pancakes {and other Pumpkin and Butternut Squash Favorites}

I had been craving butternut squash something fierce when Deb asked me what ingredient/dish we should chose for our Monthly Featured Ingredient/Dish challenge over at I Heart Cooking Clubs. I was having dreams about some of my all-time favorite squash recipes (see below).

As soon as we agreed that orange squash was to be the ingredient I knew instantly what I would make. Something I've been wanting to make for ages, Butternut Squash Macaroni and Cheese. I was all set to make it and copy of Ruth's My Kitchen Year arrived in the mail and it stole my heart.

"Mysterious misty morning. Crows wheeling, cawling. Storm is on the way. 
Coffee black. Egg fried. Toast burnt.
Gourmet's over. What now?" -Ruth Reichl, My Kitchen Year

I am now convinced that Ruth's cookbook, My Kitchen Year, is something every cook should own. I intended to simply flip through it and jot down recipes, but the writing is so compelling. I was pulled in straight away and read every page, start to finish. My Kitchen Year is so much more than a cookbook. It's the story of how Ruth overcame the end of an era, the shuttering of Gourmet magazine. Anyone who has ever suffered a great loss will identify with this book. Anyone who believes in kitchen therapy will love this book. Five pages in I knew I was holding something special. A cookbook that I can easily say is one of my all-time favorites, which is saying something because I a whole room of them.

So Ruth's Pumpkin Pancakes it is! Fluffy pumpkin pancakes that are light as a cloud with a beautiful orange hue and a subtle touch of pumpkin flavor. Ruth calls for the egg yolks to be mixed with the pumpkin puree and other liquids while the egg whites are beaten to a stiff peak and folded in later. This ensures a light tender pancake that goes down easily and doesn't weigh you down. Ruth also calls for all the typical pumpkin spices: cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg. Oftentimes I feel as though pumpkin gets drowned out by all the spices, so I opted to use only a light touch of cinnamon. The end result was just as I had hoped: a mild tender pancake with a subtle pumpkin flavor! I garnished Ruth's Pumpkin Pancakes with some premium maple syrup, butter, and candied pecans. It was heaven on a plate.

"Gray skies. Rain. Fluffy sweaters and fluffy pancakes.
Warm butter. Real maple syrup. Candied pecans. Fall is here."

Ruth Reichl's Pumpkin Pancakes
Adapted from My Kitchen Year
by Ruth Reichl
Serves 4 to 6

3/4 cups pumpkin puree
1-1/4 cups flour
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoons cinnamon
4 eggs
8 tablespoons butter
1-1/4 cups milk
dash of vanilla

Note: Ruth says to add 1/4 teaspoons ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. However, I'm not a fan of spicy pumpkin, so I opted to go the more mild route, using only cinnamon. You will want to make sure you are using pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling as this would make your pancakes too sweet.

In a fairly large bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, and baking powder. Stir in a small amount (about 1/4 teaspoon) of each of the following spices: cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Add a pinch of cloves and a bit of salt.  *See my note above.*

Separate the eggs, putting theyolks into a small bowl and the whites into a larger one. Beat the whites with clean beaters until they're beginning to hold stiff peaks, and set aside.

Melt the butter (this recipe will also work with a mere 4 tablespoons of butter - but it won't be as good), and stir it into the egg yolks, along with the pumpkin puree, the milk, and just a dash of vanilla. Stir the blendedliquids carefully into the flour mixture.

Fold the whites into the flour and pumpkin mixture. 

Heat a griddle, slick it with oil or butter, and cook the pancakes at the size that you like best. I tend to like these better when they're on the small side. Serve with maple syrup. 

This week we are all about Orange Squash at I Heart Cooking Clubs. As soon as fall hits I crave butternut squash and pumpkin pie something fierce. In the past few weeks I've had Butternut Squash Macaroni and Cheese, Butternut Squash soup, Butternut Squash Parmigiana, Butternut Squash Tomato Sauce with pasta, Pumpkin Chai Bread, and several slices of Pumpkin Pie and all of it has left me wanting more. 

Here are my all-time favorite Orange Squash recipes. If you're into Orange Squash, then I highly suggest trying these out!

Click on the recipe titles to link to the original post

THIS IS NOT ONLY MY FAVORITE ORANGE SQUASH RECIPE, BUT IT IS HANDS DOWN ONE OF MY ALL-TIME FAVORITE RECIPES! I can't explain how good this one is. Ironically, both of my butternut recipes in this roundup are Ina Garten recipes based off Ottolenghi recipes. That should tell you about all you need to know because Ottolenghi is known for his mind-blowing combinations of flavor and texture. This dish is a prime example of that. It's crunchy, creamy, chunky, sweet, savory, bright, and simply full of flavor. It's got everything a dish could have and then some.

This is the perfect appetizer to make for any fall get together. I love the brilliant orange color and all the fun toppings on the hummus. Creamy butternut squash hummus adorned with chunks of roasted butternut squash, roasted squash seeds, a drizzle of maple syrup, and a scattering of pretty green parsley. It is simply a masterpiece of a dish!

If pumpkin pie is something you make over the holidays, then I would encourage you to try Donna Hay's Pumpkin Pie with Brown Sugar Mascarpone Cream. It is a very light pumpkin pie, perfect for enjoying after a heavy Thanksgiving dinner, and then there's the Brown Sugar Mascarpone Cream...need I say more?


  1. I am glad that you read Ruth's book. I did too and loved it. Have you read her other books? I really enjoyed them too. I share your love of butternut squash but my family does not. I usually wait for my husband to go out of town to make something like butternut squash soup for myself. All the recipes you have shared looked great.

  2. Yum, I couldn't wait to make these pancakes. The pumpkin spices smell so good. They appeal to all the senses. I've tried the stiff-peak egg whites on cakes, cookies and sweets and have yet used them on pancakes. How come I haven't thought of that before?

  3. Now you've got me wanting to make all of these recipes!!! You know my love of squash knows no bounds.


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