I’d promised the kids pancakes on Sunday. That was on Friday, and, truthfully, it was my way of not having to do anything time-consuming Friday morning.
I also didn’t have maple syrup, and Alex just loves his maple syrup. I figured I’d remember to get some before Sunday morning, but of course I didn’t.
I had a pear. I had about half a cup of pumpkin puree left from the other day, and I had a banana. Those were my fruits of choice. (I also have a pomegranate, a pink grapefruit, and a bowl of tangerines, but I wasn’t in the mood for those flavors.) (Oh, and we have a papaya, too. But again, nah.)
So I juggled the pear, the banana, and the pumpkin around in my head for a while early this morning, and I came up with thoughts of a pear syrup of some kind, and pumpkin and banana in the pancakes.
First, I diced up my pear and put that and 1/4 cup of unsalted butter (half a stick), and 1/4 cup brown sugar in a small sauce pot.
I set the flame at medium low and just let it all cook together for a while. A bit later I added 1/4 cup white sugar, because I didn’t think I’d have enough of the syrup.
Confession time: I need practice with my syrup-making. Or maybe I just need to pay more attention to it than I did today. I just let it bubble away and start to caramelize, and really I think I was on my way to making candy, because later, when the syrup/sauce/concoction began to cool at the table, it took on a chewy-verging-on-crunchy texture.
But it tasted really good, and this morning that was the most important thing.
On to the pancakes.
I mixed flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar, cinnamon and ginger in a bowl.
I combined white vinegar and milk to make faux buttermilk. I combined three eggs, the half cup of pumpkin puree, and the mashed banana, and I melted half a stick of unsalted butter and let it cool slightly.
Next, since the butter was still pretty warm and I didn’t want to cook the eggs, I tempered the butter with small amounts of the egg/pumpkin/banana mixture until it had cooled sufficiently. Then I poured that little mixture into the larger bowl where the rest of the egg/pumpkin/banana mixture was.
I scraped all of that into the flour, poured in the milk/vinegar, mixed it all together, and started cooking my pancakes.
I used to make lots of little pancakes, but it seems I’ve lost patience for that. Today I did medium-sized pancakes and almost-big pancakes.
No one seemed to mind.
Some were round, some were kind of oval shaped.
No one minded that either.
I took my handful of pictures, and then I summoned people to the table. (Well, first I had the kids SET the table. It’s nice that they’re old enough to do that.)
Lots of mmmmmmms and other happy eating noises led me to believe that the pancakes and the pear caramel sauce met with everyone’s approval.
After cooking the final pancake, I joined Bill and the kids at the table and tasted everything myself.
Yum. Really good. You don’t really taste the pumpkin at all – there wasn’t much to begin with – but along with the banana it added moisture and – yay – nutrition – to my recipe. The pancakes had a nice little banana flavor, and I probably could have upped the cinnamon and ginger, but I didn’t want to go overboard.
The pear caramel sauce tasted really good. Not too sweet – the caramelization adds a darkness that goes nicely with the pears.
Now I just need to improve my syrup/caramel sauce techniques and I’ll be all set.
If you’d like to give the pancakes and syrup a try (or improve on them), the recipes are below.
Banana Pumpkin Pancakes with Pear Caramel Sauce
serves 4-8 people, depending on their appetites
For the Pear Caramel Sauce
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 pear, peeled, cored and diced
What to do:
Combine ingredients in small sauce pot over medium-low heat.
Bring to a boil and reduce heat so the bubbling is gentle. Cook, stirring occasionally, until pears are soft and mixture is starting to darken/caramelize. Don’t let it get too dark or it will taste bitter.
Keep warm until the pancakes are ready.
For the Banana Pumpkin Pancakes
3 cups flour (I used all-purpose, but if I’d had whole wheat flour left I would have gone half and half. Some cornmeal would have been nice in there, too, now that I think of it.)
6 teaspoons light brown sugar
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3 cups buttermilk
1 banana, mashed
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
What to do:
Combine all the dry ingredients and whisk together well. Set aside.
Mash banana and pumpkin together, combine with eggs, and then add cooled melted butter.
Add buttermilk and banana mixture to dry ingredients. Stir well, but if you’ve got a few lumps, it’s okay. They’ll cook out.
Heat your griddle or pan and cook pancakes as you usually do.
Serve hot with butter and warm Pear Caramel Sauce.