These gently spiced sweet potato pancakes represent the best of Southern down-home cooking, with a topping of toasted pecans and a drizzle of buttery brown sugar sauce. They’re the perfect treat for a cozy weekend morning with family.
Sweet Potato Pancakes with Pecans and Brown Sugar Sauce
2 sweet potatoes (1 1/4 lb./625 g. total), scrubbed but unpeeled
3/4 cup (6 oz./185 g.) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for serving
1 cup (12 fl. oz./220 g.) plus 2 tablespoons firmly packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 cups (12 fl. oz./375 ml.) whole milk, or as needed
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup (4 oz./125 g.) whole wheat flour
3/4 cup (4 oz./125 g.) all-purpose flour
1 Tbs. baking powder
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
Canola oil or clarified butter for cooking
1/2 cup (2 oz./60 g.) pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Pierce the sweet potatoes a few times with a fork, place on a rimmed baking sheet, and bake until tender, about 1 hour. (Or, alternatively, microwave the sweet potatoes on high until tender, about 8 minutes.) Split each sweet potato lengthwise and let cool just until easy to handle, then scoop out and reserve 1 1/4 cups (6 oz./185 g.) of the flesh.
Meanwhile, make the brown sugar sauce. In a medium saucepan, melt 1/2 cup (4 oz./125 g.) of the butter over medium heat. Add the 1 cup brown sugar and whisk until melted. Whisk in 1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml.) water and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the sauce has reduced slightly 8-10 minutes. Remove from the heat, cover to keep warm, and set aside.
Decrease the oven heat to 200 degrees F (95 degrees C). In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, process the reserved warm sweet potato flesh and the remaining 1/4 (2 oz./60 g.) butter until the butter is fully incorporated. Add 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml.) of the milk, the eggs, the 2 tablespoons brown sugar, and the vanilla, and process until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and whisk in the remaining 1 cup (8 fl. oz./25o ml.) milk.
In a large bowl, sift together the whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Add any bran left in the sifter from the wheat flour. Pour the sweet potato mixture into the flour mixture and stir just until combined. Do not overmix.
Place a griddle over medium heat until hot. Lightly oil the griddle. Have ready a rimmed baking sheet. For each pancake, pour about 1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml.) of the batter onto the griddle and cook until bubbles form and break on the surface, about 2 1/2 minutes. Flip the pancakes and cook until the other sides are golden brown, about 2 minutes more. Transfer to the baking sheet and keep warm in the oven. Repeat until all of the batter is used, oiling the griddle as needed. If the batter begins to thicken, thin it with a bit more milk.
Whisk the reserved sauce well and pour into a serving pitcher. Serve the pancakes piping hot, sprinkling each serving with the pecans. Pass the warm brown sugar sauce and butter on the side. Serves 4-6.