I clearly remember this time of year in Tokyo. A whisper of autumn was in the air amidst the hot, heavy humidity hovering over the city. People dabbed their faces with handkerchiefs to keep the dripping sweat in check but, because of a devotion to the seasonal calendar, began to wear light jackets and sweaters on their way to work in the morning. The intersection of summer and fall was pronounced if you looked for it. You could even see it in the food. In our last apartment (we lived in 3 different places during our 4 years in Japan) there was a yakiimo truck that would pass through the neighborhood selling roasted sweet potatoes. We could hear the strangely melancholy sound of the vendor calling out to anyone who would listen, “yakiiiiiiiimoooo”, as he made his way slowly through the streets. The potatoes, wrapped in brown paper and served whole, would warm hands and fill tummies as they make their way home at the end of the day. I look for equally special signals at this time of the year in other places now. Here in Colorado, I have begun to identify this transition into autumn by the smell of roasted chiles and the explosion of all the pumpkin-y-things appearing in every grocery store and coffee shop and on every food blog in the land.
Some people try to resist, but I’m not going to. My favorite season only lasts a little while, so I’m going to take full advantage of all it has to offer.
So, here’s my pumpkin-y contribution. I made these pumpkin coconut pancakes last weekend - on one of those clear, crisp mornings - and they were absolute perfection on a plate.
I used a recipe I posted a while back as my guide but made changed it up by using whole wheat flour, coconut milk in place of regular milk and coconut oil in place of butter. Topped with toasted coconut flakes, these pumpkin spiced pancakes are the perfect way to usher in the cooler weeks while gently letting go of summer.
Pumpkin Coconut Pancakes
- 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- pinch of ground cloves
- 1 cup coconut milk, mixed well until smooth (light or full fat)
- 1/4 cup milk or almond milk
- 6 tablespoons pumpkin puree
- 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil, cooled + extra for cooking
- 1 egg
- 1 cup toasted, unsweetened coconut flakes
- In a large bowl, whisk the dry ingredients together.
- Toss the white chocolate ships in with the dry ingredients using a spoon or spatula.
- In another smaller bowl, stir the coconut milk, milk, pumpkin, 2 tablespoons coconut oil and egg together.
- Gently stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just combined. The batter should be wet but lumpy.
- Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add some coconut oil and swirl it in the pan.
- Pour in 1/4 cup batter per pancake.
- Cook on the first side until the side facing up begins to dry out around the edges and little bubbles appear on the surface.
- Flip the pancake and allow it to cook for an additional 2-4 minutes until the second side is golden.
- Serve the pancakes sprinkled with toasted coconut flakes and drizzled with maple syrup.