Shopsin's Pumpkin Pancakes

I have been honest with you about my love for Kenny Shopsin. I've made his recipes, quoted him, dressed as him, and even pitched you culinary romantic comedies with him as the prideful protagonist. And all of this adoration has paid off in the form of friends sending me Shopsin-related articles, recipes, and thoughts (shopsinthoughts). This one for pumpkin pancakes came at me via my good friend Heather, via Saveur (Thank you, both!). Saveur had me at the photograph, but it wasn't until much later, until I began making the batter that I realized this recipe seemed very un-Shopsin-like. For starters, in his book Eat me: The Food and Philosophy of Kenny Shopsin, Mr. Shopsin admits that he doesn't like to make pancake batter, and in fact, uses frozen Aunt Jemima batter. It's been a while since I read Eat Me, but to make sure I was remembering correctly, I went back and re-enjoyed part of his explanation for using the frozen stuff:

"The only way I imagined I might be able to make a better pancakes [than the frozen stuff] was if I beat egg whites until stiff and then folded them into the batter, but the problem with this method is that the only thing I hate more than baking is beating f*cking egg whites. I go through so much batter that I knew if I did this, I was just going to be beating those egg whites for the rest of my life. So I cut bait and started using the frozen stuff instead."

This makes sense considering that 1.) Shopsin doesn't ef around doing things he doesn't like to do and 2.) for him, the pancake is all about equipment and technique anyway. He lays out his specifications for both in the subsequent section: The Art of Griddling. I know I mentioned this already in the mac 'n' cheese pancake post, but he goes into it with such conviction, I believe it deserves the double mention. There's much to take away from his notes on griddling, but what I believe is the most important is that the vast majority of us don't wait until the pan/griddle is hot enough. "Heat the griddle until a drop of water bounces off the surface. This is key," Shopsin writes. If you don't do this, to quote him yet again, but from another source: "different, bad things happen."

Thanks to his advice, with these pumpkin pancakes, similar, good things happened. I do wonder, though, if Shopsin makes his pumpkin pancakes from scratch or if he adjusts the Jemima batter accordingly. Either way, Matt and I enjoyed these and I think you will too.

Saveur's version:

our version:

Maybe it's the fact that only last week, LA was experiencing 100+ degree weather, but I feel like I've never been more excited about fall and fall cooking. The clove and cinnamon coming off these pancakes as they cooked on the stovetop with my bare feet gripping the cold kitchen tiles and a chilly, autumnal breeze blowing in through the windows placed me firmly within a Ruth Reichl tweet. Far too dreamy for real life. I had been running around all day, but it was one of those moments where I had to stop and say aloud: "I love coooking!!" Here's a Bon Appetempt suggestion: Buy the ingredients for these pancakes (they all keep), wait for that perfect fall day to make them, then (and, this is key) turn up a few songs in the realm of, or specifically, Mumford & Sons' The Cave, and love life.
Kenny Shopsin's Recipe via Saveur Magazine:

1 3⁄4 cups flour
3 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. ground ginger
1⁄2 tsp. kosher salt
1⁄4 tsp. ground allspice
1 cup canned pumpkin purée
1 cup heavy cream
1⁄2 cup milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
6 tbsp. canola oil
Butter and maple syrup, for serving
1. In a bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, cloves, ginger, salt, and allspice. Add pumpkin, cream, milk, and eggs; whisk until smooth.

2. Heat 1 tbsp. oil in a 12" nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Using a 1⁄4-cup measuring cup, pour batter into skillet to make three 3" pancakes. Cook until bubbles begin to form on the edges, 1–2 minutes. Flip and cook until done, 1–2 minutes more. Repeat with remaining oil and pancake batter. Serve pancakes hot with butter and syrup.


Ana Degenaar said...

This is something I seriously need to make! Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

I've had my eye on these for a long time, waiting until it was more seasonally appropriate. I think I've reached the time to pull the recipe back out. Glad to see you tagged it as a "success!"



Rachel said...

yum! they look beautiful. know what you mean about that fall weather and cooking!

Matt said...

We need to make these again for Thanksgiving breakfast!

Alex said...

Ou I've been meaning to make the mac & cheese pancakes since you introduced me to Kenny, but these look like heaven and will have to come first! Thanks for the Mumford & Sons link too!

Mary Anne said...

pumpkin YUMpkin!!

Unknown said...

I use AJ complete powdered mix, making sure to start with room temp water and leaving many small lumps in the batter. I also use less water than what they suggest.
For the big box - 8cups cold water + 5 cups warm water. Let the batter sit for a while. Load it into a squeezy container ( like a diner ketchup one) with the tip cut to make a larger opening. Put the amount you want in a small bowl and add plain canned pumpkin and Mara spice (my daughter's mix; I think it is cloves,ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice). Pour on a hot griddle, turn when the edges bubble.
Making pan cakes is like baking bread; the temperature it cooks at is critical. If the griddle you are using is not thick and heat stable your pancakes will burn (too hot) or get gummy (to long of a cook)
If your griddle is thin your only hope is to cook very small pancakes.
All the rest of the instructions are not significant, but maintaining a constant, appropriate temperature is.

Amelia Morris said...

Kenny: thank you!! that completely made my day. i have no true griddle--only pans, but my pancakes have been turning out better and better thanks to you and your book!

Alex said...

Thank you for the insight Kenny! I'm going to attempt your pancakes tomorrow on this reversible griddle/grill!

Mark and Marsha said...

Now we have a new favorite breakfast for our favorite season. Matt, Thanksgiving is too far away to wait.

Mark and Marsha said...

Now we have a new favorite breakfast for our favorite season. Matt, Thanksgiving is too far away to wait.

Heather Taylor said...

oh my lord. this is beyond. dying. i need these. i don't care if it's one million degrees. give me the pumpkin.

jeana sohn said...

i'm going to try this. thank you!!

Anonymous said...

So it's ok to try this even if one really hates pumpkin? and is it more Saveuretempt than BonAppetempt? I really must hit up Shopsin's one of these years...

Amelia Morris said...

if one truly hates pumpkin, this may not be the place to start... pumpkin cupcakes perhaps?!

ave estudio said...

great towers!

Mary Anne said...


we made this this morning and they were a TOTAL HIT! We followed the recipe exactly and the batter was a bit too thick, but when we added more milk they were perfect.


Unknown said...

that's a LOT of ground cloves. i'd half that to start with and taste the batter at the end to decide if more goes in.

I've made these a while back but I am sure that I didn't use that much spice. This is a very good recipe