Rich pancakes speckled with golden brown, toasted pine nuts are my favorite acorn pancake recipe. A hybrid of regular pancakes and cornmeal johnny cakes with the addition of cold-leached acorn flour, it's a great place to start if you're looking for something to do with acorns or other nut meals like chestnut.
To make acorn flour, I harvest acorns and dry them in the fall. After cracking in the winter they're ground in a Vitamix blender and leached in cold water to remove tannins.
After a few weeks the tannins are removed and the acorns are strained and dried. I describe my whole method for making acorn flour at home in another post.
I prefer to use cold-leached acorn flour here as it contains starch which helps the pancakes stick together. If you use hot-leached acorn meal made from boiling fresh acorns, I wouldn't use more than 30% of the total flour, and the batter will be more loose.
Also make sure that you're using acorn flour and not acorn starch. Acorn starch is sold at Asian grocers, but should only be substituted in recipes for potato or corn starch. Traditionally it's used to make Korean Acorn Jelly (Dotorimuk).
The combination of pine nuts and acorn flour is a nod to indigenous ingredients of the Pacific Northwest.
Cornmeal in the batter makes it part Johnnycake and I like the texture it gives, but you can use up to 50% acorn flour and omit it. You'll also need a few pantry staples like buttermilk or warm milk, salt, and a pinch of sugar.
How to Make Acorn Pancakes
These are just like regular pancakes but with a few small differences. The images below illustrate the process.
Once the flour's toasted, mix it with the additional dry ingredients, then the wet ingredients.
The pine nut garnish happens at the end. Flipping them to reveal golden brown nuts is a cheap thrill that never gets old.
As written the recipe makes small pancakes that are good as a side dish, but you can make them larger too.
- Smaller pancakes make a great side dish for meat.
- To make regular acorn pancakes, omit the cornmeal and use up to equal parts wheat flour and acorn flour.
- When serving as a side dish to a meal, pair them with a tart wozapi sauce or plum ketchup.
Acorn Flour Pancakes with Pine Nuts
- 1 Griddle or 12 inch non-stick pan preferably cast iron
- 2 3 quart mixing bowls
- ½ cup all purpose flour or gluten free flour (2.5 oz)
- ½ cup cornflour or fine cornmeal (2.5 oz)
- ½ cup acorn flour (2.5 oz)
- 1 Tablespoon sugar optional
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 ¼ cups buttermilk, at room temperature (10 oz) warm nut milk can be substituted
- 2 Tablespoons melted butter (unsalted) (1 oz) plus a little extra for greasing the skillet. Bacon grease can be substituted.
- 1 large egg at room temperature
- 3 Tablespoons pine nuts
- Preheat the oven to 200. Sift the acorn flour.
- Toast the acorn flour and cornmeal in a dry skillet, tossing occasionally for a few minutes until hot.
- Mix the still warm, dry ingredients except the wheat flour in a large bowl. In a smaller, separate bowl, mix the wet ingredients and beat with a whisk.
- Add the eggs and milk mixture to the dry ingredients and combine thoroughly.
- Mix in the wheat flour until just combined.
- Lightly grease a skillet or griddle and warm to medium heat. Put down scant teaspoons of the toasted pine nuts, then pour scant ¼ cups of batter over each one.
- Cook until the edges puff, flip and repeat, about 30-45 seconds per side, adjusting the heat as needed.
- Take your time, and enjoy the thrill of revealing perfectly browned pine nuts with each flip of the spatula.
- Transfer finished pancakes to a baking sheet in the oven until all the cakes are cooked.
- Serve with your favorite pancake toppings like maple syrup and wild blueberries, or as a savory side dish as you would bread or flatbread.
- For an all-acorn pancake, you can use up to equal parts acorn and wheat flour, omitting the cornmeal, but the pancakes will be denser.
- The pancakes are great for breakfast and brunch. A novel way to serve them is as a side dish or vehicle for meat, like smoked, pulled venison.