Monday, October 15, 2012

Pumpkin Ale Pancakes

I was talking to a man from England last weekend.  He and his wife recently retired, and were traveling across New England.  We got to talk over coffee and tea at a bed and breakfast Donny and I spent the night in.  This couple rented a car, intending to drive through each state, making stops along the beaches of Maine, the White Mountains of New Hampshire, and the Green Mountains of Vermont.  He described the scenes he had seen, the allure of the changing leaves, the quaint towns, and rocky coastline.  I realized someone had traveled so far, and quite literally waited all their life, to experience and see what I'm privy to each and every year.  

I was reminded to appreciate my surroundings not only that particular day, but also each and everyday.  I began to watch autumn unfold from a new lens.  I caught the way the golden light hits the apricot leaves just right in the early morning.  I felt the cool crisp air and chill on the tip of my nose.  I noticed the way my hands can't quite get warm unless they're wrapped around a mug of tea.  Autumn is all encompassing in that way.  You can very much sense the shift happening all around you.

This man, I don't think I ever caught his name, was particularly tickled about the pumpkin theme he encountered across New England.  Pumpkin coffees and lattes, pumpkin muffins and breads, and our choice of pumpkin ale pancakes that morning for breakfast.  I had a serious case of 'order envy' that morning. Order envy occurs quite often in my case.  It happens when I'm debating between two menu choices.  I mull the choices over in my head, back and forth, back and forth, and under pressure when it's my turn to order, blurt out my decision.  As soon as I hear the words leave my mouth, I want to back track.  I know I've made the wrong choice.  Out of the kitchen comes the meal I let slip away and the envy begins.  

In this case, stacks of pumpkin ale pancakes had me green with envy.  I chose the eggs Florentine in haste.  Sure, it was good, predictable even, but those pancakes were fluffy, orange, and piping hot.  As I watched everyone else at the table smear them with butter and drizzle them with maple syrup, I thought I would lose my mind.  I also thought it would be highly inappropriate to steal a pancake off my new British friend's plate.  I had pumpkin ale pancakes on my brain for the rest of the day.     

And here they are.  I made these babies with a combination of whole-wheat pastry and all-purpose flour.  While it might be an oxymoron, they're as fluffy as they are dense.  I tested this recipe three times to get it just right, which means I've consumed well over a dozen of these pancakes over the last few days.  They're spiced with cinnamon, freshly grated nutmeg, and ginger.  Best of all, they're spiked with a smidgen of pumpkin ale.  I used Shipyard Brewing Company's Pumpkinhead Ale, but any will do.  The pumpkin ale barely lingers in the background, but adds that special something you can't quite put your finger on.  They cooked up brown and crispy along the edges, just the way I like them.  I think I've done them justice.  My dog looked pretty envious if that counts for anything.  In fact, these might just be my new favorite pancakes.  You should know that the last time I included beer with my breakfast was during my 'kegs and eggs' days in college.  I've come a long way, baby.

~Pumpkin Ale Pancakes Recipe~

Dry ingredients:
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup all purpose, unbleached flour
2 tsp aluminum free baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg (grate your own!)
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp salt

Wet ingredients:
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup canned, organic pumpkin
1/2 cup Pumpkin Ale (Shipyard, Sam Adams Harvest Pumpkin Ale, Harvest Moon)
3/4 cup almond milk
2 tbsp melted butter
1 tbsp honey

additional butter for cooking pancakes

In a large bowl, whisk dry ingredients together (whole wheat pastry flour, all purpose flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt).  In another bowl, mix wet ingredients together (egg, pumpkin puree, ale, almond milk, butter, and honey) until combined.  Pour wet ingredients into dry, mixing until combined.

Add a small pat of butter to a large cast iron or skillet pan over medium heat.  I cooked four pancakes at a time, approximately 4" in diameter.  Cook on the first side until a little dry around the edges and bubbles begin to form.  Flip and cook the other side until lightly browned.  Continue until you have used up your batter.  You may have to dial back the heat as you make subsequent batches.  Serve up with butter and REAL maple syrup.  Makes 12, 4" pancakes.  Serves 4. 

~In other news, my recipe for Mini Black Bean Patties with Cilantro Pesto is included in the premiere issue of Everyday Entrees Magazine for the ipad.  To get a free three month subscription to the magazine, use the coupon code "subscribers" and follow the directions below.
1. Click on this link
2. Then click on the View in iTunes button
3. Click on the Free App button in iTunes to install
4. From here, you'll need to go to your iPad and tap on the Newsstand app
5.  Tap on the Everyday Entrees Magazine icon
6.  Tap on the yellow Subscribe button and then on the Current Subscribers button
7. Enter Subscribers into the box and tap OK
8.  You'll get a message that says you've successfully subscribed so tap Close
The magazine will start downloading.  Enjoy! 


tess said...

Okay, definitely making these. This weekend for sure - they look incredible! And congratulations on getting published - that's wonderful!

Stephanie said...

Oh I'm so glad! I think you'll love them :) Let me know how they work out for you. Thank you so much!

Amy said...

Ahh I first opened up this post around lunchtime when I was just about near starving (so dramatic, aren't I?) and when I saw that first picture I just about died with envy. These looks SO good, Stephanie!! I have some leftover pureed pumpkin from a pumpkin whoopie pie excursion this weekend, and they're going to pancakes. I love how you added some pumpkin ale, too. I've never tried it but I'm really curious.

Stephanie said...

Haha I get dramatic when I'm hungry too ;) Thanks Amy. Let me know if you make them! And don't waste that pumpkin ale-make sure you polish it off!

thyme Sarah said...

I can't tell you how much I miss being up in the North East. Here the change of seasons is very gradual. I work very hard to see the beauty in the every day landscape here but...I dream of Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine scenes!