Kabocha Squash and Cinnamon Spiced Pancakes with Maple Syrup

Kabocha Squash and Cinnamon Spiced Pancakes with Maple Syrup
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About This Recipe

In the heart of California's famed wine country, where vineyards sprawl across sun-kissed hills and valleys, there's more to Napa and Sonoma than just grapes. The lush, fertile soil is home to a myriad of produce, and among them, the kabocha squash shines brightly during its season. Known for its rich, sweet flavor and velvety texture, kabocha has won the hearts of many Californians, and it's no surprise that this versatile vegetable has made its way into numerous dishes, both savory and sweet. Among these culinary delights, a special recipe with kabocha squash stands out: the Kabocha Squash and Cinnamon Spiced Pancakes with Maple Syrup.

The inception of this delightful breakfast dish captures the essence of wine country's innovative spirit. Kabocha squash, with its inherent sweetness, is pureed to a silky consistency and blended with a touch of aromatic cinnamon, reminiscent of Napa's fall air, crisp with anticipation for the grape harvest. This innovative twist turns an ordinary pancake into a seasonal sensation, and the generous drizzle of maple syrup brings a touch of traditional breakfast comfort.

Now, in wine country, it's a given that most culinary conversations naturally meander towards wine pairings. So, let's talk about the perfect wines to elevate this breakfast to a brunch fit for wine aficionados. While you may not immediately think of wine with breakfast, the unique profile of this pancake can make you reconsider.

First, consider a Late Harvest Riesling from Frog's Leap Winery. This gem from Napa Valley, with its notes of apricot, honey, and a splash of citrus, seamlessly melds with the kabocha's sweetness. The balanced acidity of the Riesling refreshes your palate, making each bite of pancake as thrilling as the first. Frog's Leap, with its commitment to sustainable and organic farming, offers a taste that's truly reflective of the Napa terroir.

But if bubbles are more your morning style, then the Blanc de Blancs from Schramsberg Vineyards is your go-to. Located in the heart of Napa Valley, Schramsberg's sparkling wines are often likened to champagne in their complexity and elegance. The effervescence of this sparkling wine adds a lightness to each bite, and its notes of green apple and brioche echo the warmth of the cinnamon and the richness of the squash.

For visitors to Napa or Sonoma, or even those just dreaming of a trip, integrating local produce into your meals is a wonderful way to taste the essence of wine country. And while vineyard tours and wine tasting sessions are a must, take a detour to local farmer's markets, like the renowned Oxbow Public Market in Napa. It's here that you'll find the freshest kabocha squashes, and perhaps even inspiration for your own wine country-inspired dishes.

In conclusion, wine country is not just about wines; it's about an experience. It's the amalgamation of the land, the produce, the people, and the passion that goes into every bottle and every dish. The Kabocha Squash and Cinnamon Spiced Pancakes are not just a recipe; they're a taste of Northern California, a reflection of the land's bounty and creativity. So, whether you're savoring these pancakes in a sunlit Napa kitchen or thousands of miles away, with every bite, you're taking a journey through the picturesque vineyards and golden fields of California's wine country.

Hero Ingredient Spotlight: Kabocha Squash

Kabocha squash, often dubbed the "Japanese pumpkin," is the unsung hero of the culinary world. With its thick, knobbly green exterior and vibrant orange flesh, it's a visual delight and a flavor powerhouse. Originally hailing from Japan, it is now lovingly cultivated in places like Napa Valley due to its adaptability and popularity.

What sets the kabocha squash apart from other squashes is its intensely sweet flavor, often compared to a sweet potato but with a richer and fluffier texture. This sweetness is accentuated when roasted, making it perfect for desserts, soups, and, as we've seen, innovative breakfast dishes like our Kabocha Squash Pancakes.

How to Achieve the Perfect Pancake Flip

One of the trickiest parts of making pancakes, especially for beginners, is mastering the flip. Here's a step-by-step guide to ensuring your pancakes turn out golden brown on both sides:

  1. Wait for the Signs: As your pancake cooks, you'll notice bubbles forming on the surface. When these bubbles begin to burst, and the edges of the pancake look set and slightly lifted, it's time to flip.
  2. Use the Right Tool: A wide, flat spatula is essential. Make sure it can slide easily under the pancake without causing it to fold or break.
  3. Confidence is Key: Once you decide to flip, commit to the motion. Slide the spatula under the pancake, lift it slightly off the skillet, and in one swift motion, turn it over.
  4. Adjust the Heat: If you notice your pancakes browning too quickly, reduce the heat slightly. Remember, each stove is different, so it's essential to find the perfect temperature for your specific appliance.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can I substitute another squash for kabocha? Yes, you can. Butternut or acorn squash are suitable replacements, though keep in mind the flavor may vary slightly.
  2. How can I store leftover pancakes? Cool the pancakes completely, then place them in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze. Once frozen, transfer them to a zip-top bag and store in the freezer for up to 2 months. Reheat in the oven or microwave.
  3. I have a gluten allergy. Can I use gluten-free flour? Certainly! Use a 1:1 gluten-free baking flour as a direct substitute for the all-purpose flour in the recipe.
  4. I don’t have buttermilk. What can I use instead? You can make a buttermilk substitute by adding 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar to a cup of regular milk. Let it sit for about 5 minutes until it thickens and curdles.
  5. What type of pan is best for making pancakes? A non-stick skillet or griddle works best for pancakes as it allows for easy flipping and ensures the pancakes don't stick.

Tips for Success

  1. Room Temperature Ingredients: Using ingredients like eggs and buttermilk at room temperature helps in achieving a smoother batter. Cold ingredients can solidify the melted butter, leading to an uneven mix.
  2. Rest the Batter: After mixing the batter, let it sit for about 10 minutes. This rest time allows the baking powder to activate, leading to fluffier pancakes.
  3. Consistency is Key: Pouring the pancake batter using a measuring cup ensures that all pancakes are of the same size and cook uniformly.

By understanding the hero ingredient, mastering the pancake flip, and following the provided FAQs and tips, you're well on your way to making the perfect Kabocha Squash and Cinnamon Spiced Pancakes with Maple Syrup. Pair with your favorite wine from the region and transport your taste buds to the heart of California's famed wine country.

Recipe Overview

Recipe:
Kabocha Squash and Cinnamon Spiced Pancakes with Maple Syrup
Author:
Lily Anderson
Season:
Fall
Yield:
4 servings
Calories Per Serving:
375
Prep Time:
PT20M
Cook Time:
PT20M
Total Time:
PT40M

Ingredients List

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup roasted kabocha squash puree
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter, plus extra for the pan
  • Pure maple syrup for serving

Step-by-Step Directions

  1. Prepare Kabocha Puree: If you haven’t already, cut the kabocha squash into halves, remove seeds, and roast face-down in a 400°F (200°C) oven for about 45 minutes or until tender. Once cooled, scoop out the flesh and blend or mash to make a smooth puree.
  2. Dry Ingredients: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.
  3. Wet Ingredients: In another bowl, combine the kabocha puree, buttermilk, eggs, and melted butter. Whisk until smooth.
  4. Combine: Pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. It's important not to overmix.
  5. Cook the Pancakes: Heat a skillet or griddle over medium heat and lightly brush with melted butter. Pour 1/4 cup portions of the batter onto the skillet. Cook until bubbles form on the surface and the edges look set. Flip and cook for another 1-2 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through.
  6. Serve: Stack the pancakes on plates and drizzle generously with pure maple syrup.

Share Your Results

Was it everything you dreamed it could be? Let me know how it turned out for you and share a picture on social media with the hashtag #LilyCooksNapa

Hello and welcome to Napa Home Chef! We're thrilled you're joining us to explore the vibrant world of wine country cooking. Our team has crafted bold, creative recipes inspired by Napa Valley's lush landscapes, bountiful harvests, and world-renowned wines. We hope you enjoy the journey with us!

Get ready to experience the rich flavors and unique culinary delights that embody the essence of wine country living. Happy cooking!

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