The first time I had gingerbread pancakes, I was sold.
Then, I wanted to recreate them at home, so I could have them whenever I wanted. I went through a few recipes trying to find “the best,” but I was never happy and then abandoned the project altogether while I moved onto other recipe testing. This year, I decided to take on the challenge with more determination. Perseverance is key in recipe testing, but you can also get weary of the flavors as you go through batch after batch after batch of tests. For this one, the third time was a charm and now I present to you, Whole Wheat Gingerbread Pancakes with Lemon Curd Whipped Cream!
Just an fyi, my family thought rounds one and two were quite tasty too, and there was nary one complaint as they were treated to a few days of festive breakfasts. I decided this was a perfect place to use whole wheat pastry flour, my whole wheat flour of choice. I love it because you can use it as the only flour in a recipe and still get wonderful lightness. I really can’t even tell in this heartily spiced recipe that it is made with whole wheat.
The pancakes are thick and fluffy and well spiced with ginger, cinnamon, clove and nutmeg. Molasses helps punctuate that traditional gingerbread flavor and I used just a hint of espresso powder since my gingerbread cookie recipe calls for coffee in it. I love gingerbread. My kids love gingerbread. My husband, not so much. But he enjoyed these pancakes quite thoroughly and even had seconds, so I think it’s a winner.
Why three trials? I think the molasses threw off my wet to dry ratios even though I compensated for it. Then I added more flour which then made them too dry because I forgot to rebalance the fat to go with the extra flour. So, once I got everything in order and then added a short rest time to the batter, all was good.
Then I thought syrup and butter, or special topping? Lemon sauce is classic with gingerbread, so I decided a lemon curd whipped cream would be fabulous on this. Have you made lemon curd? If you’ve made lemon bars, then you basically have. Lemon curd is so easy to make and the stuff you make from scratch? Ugh. So good. Good like pull up a chair and grab a spoon, good. And it doesn’t take a lot of time. Throw the egg yolks, lemon juice, lemon zest and sugar in a sauce pan and stir and cook until thickened. Then add your cold butter, piece by piece, while you stir and watch your sauce transform. Let it cool and you have luscious, sweet, buttery lemon curd. Yes, it’s great on a spoon, wonderful on cakes, cookies or stirred into yogurt, but today, we are folding it ever so slightly into fresh whipped cream and topping our gingerbread pancakes with it.
The wonderful sweet, tart, lemon creaminess takes your gingerbread pancakes up a notch. If you’re my daughter, you get to the curd before it hits the whipped cream and you spread it on every pancake, then top the whole stack with whipped cream. If you’re my son, you do that and then ask if you can have some butter and syrup too, lol! I get it. The maple syrup is perfect with the gingerbread flavors, but how can you turn down lemon curd whipped cream? Maple syrup was the topping for round one, before the idea for the whipped cream came to me…So butter and syrup or lemon curd whipped cream…
Either way, it’s a delicious and festive breakfast!
Whole Wheat Gingerbread Pancakes
For the pancakes
- 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- pinch salt
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/8-1/4 teaspoon espresso powder or instant coffee optional
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 cup unsulfured molasses
- 4 Tablespoon salted butter melted
For the lemon curd whipped cream
- 3 large egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 6 Tablespoons sugar
- 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter cold, cut into pieces
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 Tablespoon confectioner's sugar optional
- Additional confectioner's sugar for sprinkling
Make the lemon curd in advance, so that it has time to cool.
For the curd, combine yolks, zest, juice and sugar in a small saucepan.
Whisk to combine. Set over medium heat and stir constantly, making sure to scrape sides and bottom of pan.
Cook until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 5-7 minutes.
Remove from heat. Add butter, one piece at a time, stirring until consistency is smooth.
Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl. Lay a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent a skin forming. Allow to cool then refrigerate. You can speed up this process by placing the bowl with the lemon curd in it into a larger bowl filled with ice. This recipe makes about 3/4 of a cup of lemon curd.
For the pancakes, in a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, spices and espresso powder. Set aside.
In a two cup liquid measuring cup, measure 1 cup of buttermilk. Add eggs and molasses. Whisk until incorporated.
Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients. Pour buttermilk mixture into the well.
Whisk or stir until incorporated taking care not to over mix.
Add melted butter (it's okay if its still quite warm) and whisk or stir into batter until incorporated.
Let batter rest for 10 minutes. Preheat griddle to 325 degrees F. or if you're using a frying pan, preheat it a few minutes over medium heat.
Spray cooking surface with cooking oil. Pour 1/4 cup of batter onto preheated griddle or pan. Make this your test pancake to check your heat levels. This batter has molasses and sugar in it which can burn quickly at high heats. You want a lower temperature for this recipe so that the batter has time to cook before your outsides burn. It should take about 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 minutes per side but this will vary greatly based on temperature and your cooking surface. You don't get a lot of bubbles with this pancake. Look for edges that are set, lift up an edge with a spatula to check color underneath, should be a medium golden brown, then flip to the other side. Adjust heat, if necessary, before continuing on with the rest of the pancakes.
Beat whipped cream, and sugar, if using, to stiff peaks. I didn't use the sugar, but you may want to add it if you like a sweeter whipped cream.
Fold the whipped cream into the lemon curd leaving streaks of the lemon curd in the whipped cream. There's no need to fully combine. After mixing with the lemon curd, you'll have about 1 3/4 cups of topping.
Serve on top of hot pancakes. Sprinkle with confectioner's sugar.
These pancakes were best made fresh and served warm, but you can refrigerate leftovers and reheat in the microwave. They do lose some moisture after refrigeration, an issue I don't have with other pancakes, but they were still tasty. The lemon curd stabilizes the whipped cream, so if you have leftovers, they should keep in the refrigerator for a day without separating or weeping.
Lemon Curd Recipe from Martha Stewart
Gingerbread pancake recipe from The Merchant Baker Copyright © 2014