This time of year, pumpkin reigns supreme, and I can’t think of a cozier way to salute such a fine ingredient than to make a batch of pancakes. The best part? WHIPPED CINNAMON BUTTER. If you’re gearing up for the weekend and ready for a simple treat to star at breakfast, look no further than these simple pumpkin pancakes.
I’m not sure if you remember, but we hosted a wedding at our home last weekend. Between a hurricane, COVID, and a few blended families, one would think the odds were not stacked in our favors, but somehow, it ended up being awesome. Not so awesome that I’d sign up to do it again next week, but seriously heart-warming and special. I shared some photos on IG, and if you saw them, you know- it was precious. If there’s any brides out there feeling deflated because 2020 has put a kink in all their wedding plans, let me encourage to consider a small family affair. There was no shortage of love or fun, and if I had a chance to do mine again, I may consider the same.
With so much family in town, I got to share a few baked goods that I’ve been working on for this site, but these pumpkin pancakes were not one of them. Why? Because they were long-gone before family arrived. I nibbled on bits of these cinnamon-spiced treats all week, and Aimee has been demolishing the whipped cinnamon butter one slice of toast at a time.
My hunch is that you’ll find yourself with a half-can or so of pumpkin puree sometime in the next couple of weeks, and when you do, I hope you’ll look no further than these pumpkin pancakes! They are warm, cozy, and simple, which makes them the perfect treat to rely on in these autumn months. While the pumpkin pancakes are the star of the show, don’t sleep on that cinnamon butter. It is so yummy, and I’m finding that any leftovers taste amazing on toast, biscuits, and even baked sweet potatoes! Truly, it’s the gift that keeps on giving.
It’s only Thursday, but I hope you guys are going into the weekend with happy hearts and high hopes. Have some fun these next couple of days, and don’t forget to relax with pumpkin pancakes! Happy baking and see you next week!
If you like these pumpkin pancakes you should try:
These pumpkin pancakes and scented with spice and are topped with a lightly sweetened whipped cinnamon butter!
Total Time:10 minutes
For the pancakes:
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1–1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons milk
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 large egg
2 teaspoons clear vanilla extract
1/4 cup brown sugar
1–1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
Extra butter for greasing skillet, pancake syrup, and whipped cream, if desired
For the cinnamon butter:
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
To prepare the pancakes:
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the butter, milk, pumpkin puree, egg, vanilla extract, and sugar until well combined. Add the dry ingredients and stir together with a spoon or spatula until combined, but still a bit lumpy. Do not overmix and allow the batter to rest while you preheat your pan.
Heat a griddle to medium (325 degrees) and stir the batter once more. Wrap 1 tablespoon butter in a napkin or paper towel and use it to lightly grease your griddle. Spoon 1/3 cup scoops of batter onto the griddle and gently smooth each out into a 5” circle. Cook until bubbles barely appear on the edge and center of the pancake and the edges no longer look glossy. Flip the pancakes and cook and additional 2 minutes, or until the bottoms are golden brown. Serve with cinnamon butter and maple syrup.
To prepare the cinnamon butter:
In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter on medium speed until slightly pale, about 1-2 minutes. Add the powdered sugar and cinnamon and stir until combined. Store in a covered container prior to use.
I can’t claim the recipe for this salted maple pie as my own, but I love it so much that it feels like my child. This pie, straight from a brand-spanking new book called “Sister Pie” is a winning treat that your falls need. Trust me.
Something I’ve been learning about over the last five or so years of my life is how to celebrate others. There was a period of time in my life where my own insecurity prevented me from whole-heartedly cheering on the people around me. I guess I thought that if someone else was successful, hitting milestones faster than me, or achieving things I wanted in my own life it would somehow diminish my own gifts and the good things in my life. Like someone else’s advancement meant I was stuck behind. Obviously that type of mentality was gross and damaging for a number of reasons, but I think the thing I missed out on most was the opportunity to share in the joy of someone else’s successes.
Small Town Life
One of my favorite things about life in a small town is how friends, neighbors, and even complete strangers can come to feel like family. In the confines of a tiny city, it’s easy to recognize how closely your life is knitted to the people around you and wanting the best for them becomes an absolute no brainer. Their struggles become your struggles, their joys become your joys, and the triumphs and blessings in their lives will eventually trickle down to affect yours in a positive way too.
When one person succeeds in a small town, everyone eventually shares in that reward, and I’ve found that taking part in their stories, investing passion and love into the things that are important to them, almost always feels like a shared victory in the end. This way of living, this crazy love and support for the people around you, is is one of the most heart-filling things I’ve ever experienced in my life, and if you’ve felt it too, I bet you’d agree.
This notion of sharing with and loving your community is all over the “Sister Pie” cookbook. Reading the book, you’ll know that these gals are all about taking care of the people (and bellies) around them. The stories are great, but the recipes are crazy good, so much so that I knew I had to share one with you. The salted maple pie was my first bake from the book, and I have a feeling it’s one I’ll be making for years to come.
Salted Maple Pie
With it’s rich, almost chess pie-like filling, equals parts sweet from maple syrup and salty from finishing salt, this salted maple pie satisfies my dessert cravings on so many levels. There’s the buttery crust, the gooey (think Crack Pie from Milkbar) filling, and those perfect crunches of salt. I shared this pie with a group at our church and I literally had someone come up to hug me because it was so good. If you think food can’t bless the pants off of someone, think again.
Making the Pie
To make it, we start with Sister Pie’s crust. Their classic all-butter pie dough utilizes European style butter. Euro butter has a higher fat percentage and less water. This means more flake and more flavor in your pie. The crust blind-bakes until set and starting to turn golden. In the meanwhile you can prep your filling. Just like with my favorite chocolate chess pie, this pie gets whipped up in a single bowl. Eggs, butter, maple syrup, and cream stir together. Pour the filling in and complete the baking process until the filling it barely puffed and only jiggles a little. Allow the pie to cool on the counter, about 4 hours, until set. Finish with a sprinkle (or two) of salt.
This salted maple pie is like a gooey autumnal hug. The flavors are cozy and complex, an extremely satisfying ending to any meal. I hope you’ll give it a try and check out the new “Sister Pie” cookbook! There’s loads of inspiration, both sweet and savory, within its pages; I think it’s one you’ll reach for for years to come. Happy reading, happy baking, and happy Wednesday!
If you like this salted maple pie you should check out:
The Salted Maple Pie is our signature flavor at Sister Pie because it is an homage to the bakeries where I got my professional chops: Momofuku Milk Bar in Manhattan and Four & Twenty Blackbirds in Brooklyn. It is reminiscent of the addictive quality of both Milk Bar’s Crack Pie and Four & Twenty’s Salty Honey Pie. We created our own version of a classic chess filling with robust Grade B maple syrup from Imlay City, Michigan and highlighted with local heavy cream, eggs, stone-ground yellow cornmeal, and light brown sugar. On Saturdays at the shop, we’ll buy applewood-smoked bacon from the market to crisp up in the oven right before opening. It’s a match made in pancake breakfast heaven.
Total Time:1 hour 15 minutes
1⁄2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (11⁄4 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup Grade B maple syrup
3⁄4 cup packed light brown sugar
1⁄4 cup fine yellow cornmeal
Heaping 1⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
3⁄4 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
1–1⁄4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
One 9-inch crust made with All-Butter Pie Dough, blind baked and cooled (see below)
1 large egg, beaten
Flaky sea salt, for sprinkling top
Preheat your oven to 350°F.
Make the filling: In a medium bowl, combine the melted butter and maple syrup. Whisk in the brown sugar, cornmeal, and kosher salt.
Crack the eggs and yolk into another medium bowl. Add the cream and vanilla and whisk until combined.
Slowly pour the egg mixture into the maple mixture and whisk just until combined.
Place the blind-baked shell on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush the crimped edge with the beaten egg. Pour the maple filling into the pie shell until it reaches the bottom of the crimps.
Transfer the baking sheet with the pie on it to the oven and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the edges are puffed and the center jiggles only slightly when shaken. It will continue to set as it cools.
Remove the baking sheet from the oven and transfer the pie to a wire rack to cool for 4 to 6 hours. Once fully cooled and at room temperature, sprinkle generously with flaky sea salt, slice into 6 to 8 pieces, and serve.
Store leftover pie, well wrapped in plastic wrap or under a pie dome, at room temperature for up to 3 days.
This is our go-to dough, and it’s how each pie begins. Every pie baker, professional or at home, seems to have an opinion on the best combination of fats for the flakiest crust—is it lard, shortening, butter, or a mix? Our basic dough is a pure and simple ode to unsalted butter and all-purpose flour—we think it produces the best-tasting, lightest, flakiest pie crust.
Total Time:1 hour 15 minutes
2–1⁄2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted European-style butter, straight from the fridge
1⁄2 cup ice-cold water-vinegar mixture (see below), or more if needed
In a large stainless steel bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and salt and stir to mix well. Place the sticks of butter in the bowl and coat on all sides with the flour mixture. Using a bench scraper, cut the butter into 1⁄2-inch cubes. Work quickly to separate the cubes with your hands until they are all lightly coated in flour. Grab that bench scraper once again and cut each cube in half. I always tell my pie dough students that it’s unnecessary to actually cut each cube perfectly in half, but it’s a good idea to break up the butter enough so that you can be super-efficient when it’s pastry blender time.
It’s pastry blender time! Switch to the pastry blender and begin to cut in the butter with one hand while turning the bowl with the other. It’s important not to aim for the same spot at the bottom of the bowl with each stroke of the pastry blender, but to actually slice through butter every time to maximize efficiency. When the pastry blender clogs up, carefully clean it out with your fingers (watch out, it bites!) or a butter knife and use your hands to toss the ingredients a bit. Continue to blend and turn until the largest pieces are the size and shape of peas and the rest of the mixture feels and looks freakishly similar to canned Parmesan cheese.
At this point, add the water-vinegar mixture all at once, and switch back to the bench scraper. Scrape as much of the mixture as you can from one side of the bowl to the other, until you can’t see visible pools of liquid anymore. Now it’s hand time. Scoop up as much of the mixture as you can, and use the tips of your fingers (and a whole lot of pressure) to press it back down onto the rest of the ingredients. Rotate the bowl a quarter-turn and repeat. Scoop, press, and turn. With each fold, your intention is to be quickly forming the mixture into one cohesive mass. Remember
to incorporate any dry, floury bits that have congregated at the bottom of the bowl, and once those are completely gone and the dough is formed, it’s time to stop.
Remove the dough from the bowl, place it on a lightly floured counter, and use your bench scraper to divide it into two equal pieces. Gently pat each into a 2-inch-thick disc, working quickly to seal any broken edges before wrapping them tightly in a double layer of plastic wrap. If you’re portioning for a lattice-topped pie, shape one half into a 2-inch-thick disc and the other half into a 6 by 3-inch rectangle. Refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours or, ideally, overnight. When you go to roll out the crust, you want the discs to feel as hard and cold as the butter did when you removed it from the fridge to make the dough. This will make the roll-out way easier.
You can keep the pie dough in the fridge for a few days or in the freezer for up to 1 year. If frozen, remove the dough and place it in the refrigerator to thaw one full day before you intend to use it. If you’re planning to make only one single-crust pie, wrap the discs separately and place one in the freezer.
Preheat your oven to 450°F with the rack on the lowest level. Remove the pie crust from the freezer, tear off a square of aluminum foil that is slightly larger than the pie shell, and gently fit it into the frozen crust. Fill the crust with the dried beans (they should come all the way up to the crimps) and place the pie pan on a baking sheet. Transfer the baking sheet to the oven and bake for 25 to 27 minutes. Check for doneness by peeling up a piece of foil—the crimps should be light golden brown. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack. After 6 minutes, carefully remove the foil and beans. You did it! You are now ready to fill the pie.
For the water/vinegar mixture, fill a 1-cup liquid measuring cup about halfway with ice, then add water and 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar.
If you’ve been around the block a time or two, you’ve probably already become acquainted with brown butter. You know it by its nutty aroma and speckled amber hue. You’ve already been allured by the rich caramel flavors, seduced by the complexity it adds to sweet and savory dishes alike. But for the average home baker, brown butter is a mystery. What is it? Where can I find it? How do I make it?
If you fall into that second category, allow me to make the introduction. It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to the magical world of brown butter.
WHAT IS BROWN BUTTER?
Brown butter, or beurre noisette, is basically regular old butter that is gently melted and cooked until it browns which results in a change of flavor, aroma, and color. Butter is made up of water, fat, and protein. When it is cooked beyond the point of melting, the water will slowly evaporate leaving the butterfat and milk protein to continue cooking. As the proteins cook, they will begin to brown, which will be evident in the changes that you’ll notice in your pan.
HOW DO YOU MAKE BROWN BUTTER?
A fine question, dear friend. I’m glad you asked. To make brown butter, all you need is a quality stick of butter, a metal pan for your stovetop (I use this one), and a whisk or a spatula to gently stir with. I prefer to use a a light bottomed pan and a whisk, so whip those out if you have them. To help explain the browning process, I’ve taken some photos and notes. Let’s get started!
Step One: Melt the butter
Place your butter in a pan over medium-low heat. I like to cube my butter into equal sized chunks, and I prefer a light-colored pan so that I can monitor the browning process easily. Use whatever you feel comfortable with. Allow the butter to melt, stirring occasionally, until the butter is entirely liquid. As the butter continues to heat, it will begin to sizzle and foam, which is a good indication that the water has begun to evaporate.
Step Two: Begin browning the butter
Once the water has completely evaporated, the protein in the butter can begin browning! This is when you need to stay glued to your pan. Once you notice that the butter isn’t sizzling as much, begin whisking it regularly to ensure that the proteins brown evenly. We don’t want to burn the butter on the bottom of the pan while the liquid skimming the top remains unaffected. So keep whisking and watching. You’ll notice little golden flecks beginning to form on the bottom of the pan which is a thumbs up that you’re getting super close.
Step Three: Brown that butter!
The butter will continue to darken and brown as it cooks. Man your post at the stove and keep that whisk moving to ensure that the milk proteins cook evenly and you don’t wind up with burnt bits of butter. You’ll notice the changing aromas as the butter continues to brown. Trust me when I tell you that it tastes as good as it smells. Keep stirring and agitating the butter until you reach your desired degree of darkness. Then, remove the pan from the stovetop and pour the butter, browned bits and all, into a separate bowl. Don’t leave it in the pan or the residual heat will continue to cook and brown your butter, likely resulting in a burnt finish.
The trickiest part of this process is knowing when to pull you pan from the heat. There are a few different degrees of brown butter. Some recipes may call for a lighter, less-browned butter, while others may encourage you to continuing cooking, even to the point of nearly burning it. So to help identify what you’re looking for, I’ve got you covered with a photo lineup of the different varieties of brown butter.
The Three Degrees of Browned Butter
First up is a super-light, golden butter. At this phase of the game, you’ll notice deep golden flecks forming at the bottom of the pan, but the overall hue is still pretty light. This degree of brown butter isn’t as rich in flavor, but may be just the ticket for a number of dishes. If a recipe you’re using calls for “lightly browned butter,” this is exactly what you’re looking for.
Next up is the OG of brown butter- the gold standard. When in doubt, go for this degree of browning. Here, the color is darker, and the flavor is richer. This butter will give off a strong nutty, almost caramel scent and those same flavors will be present in the taste as well. This is the brown butter we fold into streusel crumbs, toss in our pasta sauces, and whisk into sugar for a delightfully decadent cake glaze.
If you’re willing to take the risk and allow your butter to brown in the pan just until the point of burning, you can score the darkest butter of all. Ultra-dark butter adds scads of flavor when chilled and creamed into cookies, cakes, and more. The extra color results in an extra oomph of flavor, so you’ll land terrific tasting treats every time.
HOW CAN I USE BROWN BUTTER?
I have a very specific rule of thumb about when it is most appropriate to use brown butter. Are you ready? Ok, here it is:
USE IT ALL THE TIME BECAUSE IT’S THE BEST.
That’s it! Simple, right? Ok, I’m kind of kidding. When making things like pasta sauces, salad dressings, toppings for breads and sauces for proteins, brown butter is a perfectly acceptable substitution for regular butter and oil. However, when adding it to baked goods like cookies, cakes, and pie crusts, there’s a few things to consider. Remember how we cooked all of the water out of the butter? Well, water is a really important part of baking! We need water to add moisture, to create steam in the oven, and to do a number of other nerdy food science stuff that I won’t bore your with here. So if we substitute brown butter for regular butter, we have to remember that our final outcome will likely be affected by of the lack of H2O. To compensate, sometimes you can add a bit less dry ingredient (like flour) or a wee bit of extra water or fat. But sometimes it’s just isn’t a good sub and we just have to dry our tears and be okay with that.
Yes. There’s tons. But this isn’t that kind of blog. I’m giving you what I think you want to know as well as a few other science geek tidbits that I just couldn’t hold myself back from. If you have more questions about, please share them with me below in the comments section! I would love to help in any way!
This is the first in what I hope will become a fun and helpful series for you all. Baking becomes so much easier and enjoyable when you understand some basics and have a few tips and techniques up your sleeve to help achieve success in the kitchen every time. So stick around for a few more things you need to know. I can’t wait to share more! Have a great weekend and cheers to you!
This is a quick and simply tutorial on how to brown butter. Making brown butter has never been easier with this photographic how-to!
Total Time:10 minutes
1/2 cup (113 gm) unsalted butter, cut into equal-sized chunks.
Place butter chunks in a light-colored pan over medium-low heat. Allow the butter to melt completely, stirring occasionally to ensure even cooking.
Once the butter has melted, you’ll notice it begin to sizzle and foam. Continue stirring occasionally. Once the crackling has subsided, you’ll notice small golden flecks forming on the bottom of the pan. Begin stirring constantly with a whisk or a spatula to agitate the butter and keep it cooking evenly. Continue cooking until the desired level of brownness is reached. Remove the butter from the pan to a separate bowl to discontinue the cooking process.