Oatmeal Butternut Pancakes with Browned Buttered Nuts

  • Serves: Makes 12 to 14 pancakes
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Photo from Simply Ancient Grains; posted with permission from the author
These delectable pancakes with their saffron hue from roasted autumn squash are such a fantastic way to eat your oatmeal—stacked high on the table. They are thick, nourishing, and substantial, making them hard to resist, even more so with the browned buttered nuts. Best of all, you can assemble them in minutes in a food processor. Serve them with a dollop of Greek yogurt or ricotta and a drizzle of maple syrup. I like adding these to a brunch table in the colder months of the year. In my house they make great dinner fare too. 
This recipe is adapted from Maria Speck's Simply Ancient Grains.


MARIA SPECK SAYS: If you have leftover oven-roasted squash, this is a great place to use it. If your squash is a little blah, you may add a bit more maple syrup to round out the flavor.
Omit the hot spices, Aleppo and cayenne, when making this for children.
MAKE AHEAD As in so many whole grain recipes, allowing the batter to rest overnight improves the texture and makes for a more enticing soft pancake.
You can make the buttered nuts 1 day ahead. Reheat in a small heavy pot over low heat, or in a microwave-safe bowl at 50 percent power, until the butter is hot and the nuts are warm, about 3 minutes, stirring a few times in between.

2 cups plus 3 tablespoons (200 g) old-fashioned rolled oats (gluten-free if needed)
1 1⁄4 teaspoons ground nutmeg, preferably freshly ground
1 teaspoon baking powder
1⁄4 teaspoon baking soda
1⁄2 teaspoon fine sea salt

4 large eggs
1 cup (225 g) mashed roasted kabocha or butternut squash or pumpkin puree; SARAH SAYS: Kabocha is an Asian variety of winter squash
3⁄4 cup whole or 2% milk, plus up to 1⁄4 cup more as needed
1 tablespoon maple syrup, plus more for serving
1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Browned Buttered Nuts
1⁄4 cup (1⁄2 stick) unsalted butter
1⁄4 cup coarsely chopped toasted pecans
1⁄4 cup toasted slivered almonds
1 tablespoon golden or black sesame seeds
1 tablespoon nigella seeds or more sesame seeds; SARAH SAYS: Nigella seeds have a mild, nutty onion flavor
1⁄2 teaspoon Aleppo pepper, or 1⁄8 teaspoon dried chile flakes; SARAH SAYS: Aleppo pepper has a moderate heat level with some fruitiness and mild, cumin-like undertones, with a hint of a vinegar, salty taste
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Fine sea salt
8 ounces soft mild goat cheese or cream cheese (optional), cut into 1⁄2-inch slices

Start the batter the night before, or at least 30 minutes ahead:
1. Add the oats, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process until you have oat flour, about 30 seconds.1. 

2. Add in the eggs and the squash puree and pour in the milk, syrup, and vanilla.

3. Pulse until just blended and no chunks of squash remain, about five 1-second pulses.

4. Transfer the batter to a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes (or chill overnight).  

When you are ready to make the pancakes, prepare the nuts:
1. Add the butter to a 10-inch skillet or a medium saucepan, preferably stainless steel, and melt over medium heat. Cook, watching attentively, until the color turns golden brown, the butter smells deeply nutty, and the bottom of the pan fills with brown specks, 3 to 5 minutes.

2. Add the pecans, almonds, sesame seeds, nigella seeds, Aleppo pepper, and cayenne and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.

3. Immediately transfer the buttered nuts to a small serving bowl and sprinkle with salt to taste.

Make the pancakes and serve:
1. Place a wire rack inside a large rimmed baking sheet and transfer the sheet to the center rack of the oven—this will keep the pancakes from getting soggy. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F.

2. Check the consistency of the pancake batter. It will have thickened considerably. Gently stir in a few tablespoons more milk with a spatula until you have a thick, pourable consistency.

3. To finish the pancakes, heat a large cast-iron skillet or a griddle pan over medium heat. Lightly grease the pan with olive oil. When a drop of water sizzles and briskly evaporates on the surface, add 1⁄4 cup batter per pancake, leaving space in between so you can flip them.

4. Cook until the edges of the pancakes start to look dry and the bottoms turn golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Decrease the heat to medium-low if they brown too quickly.

5. Flip and cook until golden and puffy, almost 2 minutes more. Transfer to the baking sheet in the oven to keep warm. Do not stack.

6. Continue until all of the batter is used, greasing the pan lightly in between as necessary.

Serve each pancake with a slice of goat cheese and a teaspoon or two of the buttered nuts on top, passing the maple syrup around. 

Photo from Simply Ancient Grains; posted with permission from the author

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