Pear and Pumpkin Pancakes with Cider Syrup

Chilly fall mornings are back! Before bundling up the family for a trip to the pumpkin patch, fill them up with a hearty breakfast that celebrates the season. Grated pears add sweetness to a fall favorite, pumpkin pancakes, limiting the sugar and bumping up the nutrition. Here it’s best to use a tender, juicy pear variety that is on the sweeter side, such as Bartlett, Comice, Anjou, or Starkrimson. To top it off, pear cider is cooked down with maple syrup to make a simple yet delicious all-natural syrup for drizzling. Serve with bacon and eggs for a complete brunch while entertaining houseguests when the holidays roll around. These fluffy flapjacks are sure to be a new family favorite.

Makes 12 pancakes (serves 4 to 6)

Pancakes

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk

1/2 cup pumpkin purée

1 large egg

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 ripe USA Pears, coarsely shredded

Syrup

2 cups pear cider

1 cup maple syrup

2 cinnamon sticks

For Serving

Unsalted butter

Powdered sugar

To make the pancakes: In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt.

In a separate mixing bowl, whisk the buttermilk, pumpkin purée, egg, and vanilla until well combined. Stir in the shredded pears.

Fold the wet mixture into the dry ingredients until mostly combined. Set the batter aside for 10 to 20 minutes.

To make the syrup: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring the cider, syrup, and cinnamon sticks to a boil. Simmer until the mixture reduces by about half and is slightly thickened, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the cinnamon sticks and keep the syrup warm.

To cook the pancakes: Preheat the oven to 150 to 200˚F to keep the pancakes warm while cooking in batches.

Heat a large cast-iron skillet or griddle over medium-high heat and melt about 1 tablespoon of butter, swirling it around to coat the pan. Add 1/4 cup portions of batter to the pan, gently spreading it out with the bottom of the measuring cup. Lower the heat to medium and cook until the bottoms are nicely browned, 1 to 2 minutes, then flip and continue cooking on the second side, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes more. Transfer the pancakes to the warm oven, and repeat to cook additional batches.

Serve the pancakes with pats of butter, a sprinkling of powdered sugar, and the warm cider syrup drizzled on top.

Pear & Arugula Pesto Stuffed Chicken


pear pesto stuffed chicken heroThis recipe takes several ingredients that one might use to make a delicious pear salad and incorporates them into a pesto-like stuffing for chicken. The filling consists of sweet pears, salty pumpkin seeds, earthy arugula, and big, crumbly chunks of dry Jack cheese. Dry Jack is simply an aged version of Monterey Jack cheese, and is sometimes described as having a butterscotch flavor. The dry Jack is an important component to the stuffing, so don’t skimp on it!

Once the chicken breasts are stuffed and in the oven they don’t need to be fussed with, so you can get to work on a side dish. The chicken would be perfect served alongside your favorite type of rice with a side of grilled or roasted vegetables.

Ingredients
3 ounces baby arugula (2 packed cups)
3 tablespoons hulled pumpkin seeds, toasted
4 ounces dry Jack cheese, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning the chicken breasts
2 small firm-ripe USA Pears, such as Anjou, small dice
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts

Directions
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the arugula, pumpkin seeds, cheese, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and ¼ teaspoon salt into the bowl of a food processor and process until the cheese has broken down. The mixture will be very thick – you’ll need to stop the machine and scrape down the sides a few times with a spatula. Transfer the pesto to a bowl and fold in the diced pears. Set aside while you prep the chicken.

Drizzle the chicken breasts with the remaining tablespoon of oil and season them liberally with salt. Place the chicken breasts rib-side down on a cutting board and using a sharp paring knife, cut a pocket horizontally into the thickest part of the breast. Cut as deeply and widely as you can without letting the knife come through at the sides. Stuff each pocket with approximately ¼ cup of the pesto and pear filling and secure the breasts, pocket-side up, with two pieces of butcher’s twine.

pear pesto stuffed chicken prep

Place the breasts into one or more pans so that they fit snugly and will not fall over during cooking. Transfer the stuffed chicken breasts to the oven and bake for 15 minutes at 425 degrees. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees and continue to roast until the chicken is fully cooked, 40-45 minutes longer.

Remove the chicken from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Carefully snip the butcher’s twine and remove just before serving.