Field Notes

Ginger Chile Pancakes

This time of year, that family of ingredients known as “baking spices” gets extra attention. Practically every holiday recipe is imbued with the rich notes of cinnamon, the deep sweetness of cloves, or the tangy zing of allspice. We’ve always felt like chilies should be part of this motley crew, adding an acidic note and subtle smokiness to our favorite cakes and cookies. These gingerbread pancakes make a great case for our cause. We used sweet paprika in ours, but a mild smoky chili, such as urfa biber, would work well here also.

Ginger-Chili Pancakes

Serves 6

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon cloves
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon sweet ground chili, such as paprika or aji dolce
  • 3 eggs, divided
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 3 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted, plus more for the pan
  • One 2-inch knob of ginger
  • Maple syrup, for serving

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, allspice and chili.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, brown sugar, milk and butter.

Finely grate the ginger on a Microplane set over paper towel. Set the paper towel over a small bowl and squeeze the ginger so that the juice drains through the towel and into the bowl. In a medium bowl, use an electric mixer to whip the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold in the ginger juice.

Add the milk mixture to the dry mixture, stirring to combine. Fold in the egg whites until completely incorporated.

In a large skillet over medium-low heat, add 1 tablespoon of butter. When the foaming has subsided, pour ¼ cupfuls of batter into the pan, taking care not to crowd the pan. Cook on one side until bubbles begin to form and pop on the surface, about 2 minutes. Carefully flip the pancakes and cook another minute or two. Transfer to a warm oven while you finish the rest or serve immediately. Repeat with the remaining batter, adding butter to the skillet between each batch. Serve with maple syrup on the side.