Pumpkin Griddle Cakes with a Surprise Topping…

Pumpkin Griddle Cakes with a Surprise Topping…

This fall recipe really cheered me up. We had a rainy summer and a couple of she-devil hurricanes here in the mountains of North Carolina, and it all but killed the autumn leaves. Before they can turn golden, orange and red, they’re blown to the ground. This would be deeply upsetting, if it weren’t for the fact that apple trees LOVE rain!That’s the surprise on the side…warm, seasoned apples to eat with your pumpkin pancakes. Thanks to all the rain in the Blue Ridge Mountains, the apple crop this year is about as abundant as I’ve seen. The varieties are too numerous to taste, but I managed to grab several varieties of apple (and a hefty haul of pumpkins) at the farmer’s market this year.

And so begs the question: what to make?

I have made so many dishes that take advantage of pumpkin and apple. I’ve shared many of them with you. But, this one for pumpkin griddle cakes with sautéed apples – from my book Fresh Traditions: Classic Dishes for a Contemporary Lifestyle is a favorite.

Like all my best recipes, this breakfast comes from a childhood memory.

My grandmother, Mary Magner made flapjacks the size of a pie in a large cast-iron skillet every Sunday morning after church. She served them with rich maple syrup and spicy pork sausage. (please don’t ask me about the sausage…. I remember playing with da pigs….).

My other grammy, Marie Cohen, made delicious applesauce she served alongside her delicate potato pancakes, always dousing both with powdered sugar. The kicker was that potato pancakes were served for dinner! What a treat to happen upon the Sunday you ate flapjacks in the morning, and latkes at night. Those were the days.

Start the fall season with a brunch that features pumpkin pancakes.  Sugared apples make the dish even more festive.  If you are not counting calories, add a bowlful of whipped cream and a sprinkle of toasted nuts for an over-the-top garnish.

I bet your family will love it!!

Pumpkin Griddle Cakes with Sautéed Apples

Serves about 4 to 6 (about 12 4-inch pancakes)

30 minute cuisine

For apples:

4 tablespoons butter, ½ stick, divided

4 medium apples, peeled and thinly sliced, about 4 cups

3 tablespoons brown sugar

¾ teaspoon cinnamon

Juice of ½ medium lemon, about 1 tablespoon

For griddle cakes:

2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour

½ cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup canned pumpkin puree

3 large eggs

1 cup milk

2 tablespoons butter, melted

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a skillet over medium heat.  Cook the apples in the butter until soft, about 5 minutes.  Reduce heat to low.  Sprinkle the apples with brown sugar and cinnamon and cook for 2 minutes or until the apples are golden and syrupy.  Stir in the lemon juice.  Keep the apples warm.

Whisk together the flour, sugar, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, eggs and milk.  Stir this mixture into the flour mixture to form a smooth batter.

Stir in 2 tablespoons melted butter.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a sauté pan or on a griddle over medium heat.  Ladle about ½ cup batter into the pan.  Continue layering to create as many cakes as you can without over-crowding the pan. You need room to flip! Cook until the top begins to bubble, about 2 to 3 minutes.  Flip and cook for 2 to 3 minutes more.  Serve the griddle cakes with a spoonful of syrupy sautéed apples.




Special Mother’s Day Brunch Idea & Cookbook Offer!

Special Mother’s Day Brunch Idea & Cookbook Offer!

With Mother’s Day coming up, I perused my very best brunch recipes from my family style cookbook, SUNDAY BEST DISHES. Envisioning a breakfast fit for a queen, I ultimately chose (from so many delicious and syrupy possibilities) BANANAS FOSTER SKILLLET CAKES with…drumroll…cinnamon swirl syrup. This recipe was inspired by a New Orleans classic that features sautéed, caramelized bananas over melting ice cream.

This is a tribute to the original that gets better only if you travel to the Big Easy and eat at the Commanders Palace – home to perhaps the most famous brunch in America. But let’s let Mom sleep in today…The part she’ll love the best is using the extra syrup to dip sweet, crunchy bacon in. But bacon or no bacon, my guess is everyone in the family will want cinnamon swirl syrup – a SUNDAY BEST original – drizzled atop all their future pancakes.

Here’s how to prep the bacon for your Mother’s Day brunch:

Preheat your oven to 350°. Dredge bacon slices in brown sugar. Really pack that sugar onto the bacon. Place each strip onto a rack set into a baking sheet. Cook the bacon for 20 minutes or so, until it is browned and caramelized and yummy. Oh how happy are you!! Oh, by the way, Sunday Best Dishes is the perfect present for the Mom cook in your family. Order your copy from Amazon today and get special pricing.  I’ll send a personalized inscription for your Mom if you email me directly at jorj@jorj.com, subject line: Sign my cookbook!

Bananas Foster Skillet Cakes

with Cinnamon Swirl Syrup


Banana Cream

4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk

¼ cup buttermilk

2 tablespoons dark molasses

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1 whole banana, peeled and slice into rounds

Whisk together cream cheese, condensed milk, buttermilk, molasses and vanilla in a saucepan over medium high heat. Cook until the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth. Add water to thin the syrup to desired consistency if necessary. Stir in the bananas and keep warm.


Skillet Cakes

1 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour

¼ cup granulated sugar

1 ½ teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon nutmeg

½ teaspoon table salt

1 ½ cups buttermilk

3 tablespoons pure maple syrup

1 large egg

2 tablespoons butter, melted

1 tablespoon canola oil, plus 1 tablespoon butter

Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a large bowl. Whisk buttermilk, maple syrup, egg and melted butter in a separate bowl. Stir wet ingredient into the dry ingredients.

Heat an electric griddle (or non-stick skillet) over medium heat. Melt together the canola oil and 1 tablespoon butter. Ladle the batter into the pan. Cook until the batter bubbles and the edges begin to crisp, about 2 to 3 minutes. Flip the skillet cakes and cook on the second side until golden, about 2 to 3 minutes more. Remove to a platter and keep warm in a 200° oven (or warming drawer). Repeat with the remaining batter using additional canola oil and butter as needed.


Cinnamon Syrup

¾ cup pure maple syrup

¼ cup sweetened condensed milk

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons butter

Whisk the syrup, condensed milk and cinnamon in a saucepan over medium heat until just combined, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and swirl in the butter. Keep warm.

Build the dish by layering a skillet cake topped with a spoonful of banana cream. Continue as high as you dare. Pour cinnamon syrup over the top. Slice into wedges and serve.