From Grand Central Station in New York City, we traveled on the Metro-North Railroad (MNR) line that follows along the shores of the Hudson River to Tarrytown. It’s a longish walk from the depot to Phillipsburg Manor and so a stop at Muddy Water Coffee and Cafe at 52 Main Street for lattes and pastries was in order. The restaurant, located in historic downtown Tarrytown, is cozy and comfy with original tin ceilings, wood floors, and a small garden tucked away in the back. Then it was on to the manor and old gristmill dating back to 1850. A note to those that make the journey. Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow (yes, the Sleepy Hollow where the Headless Horseman rode) are built on steep hills and if you’re so inclined (and I was on the way back to the depot) Tarrytown Taxi is a cheap and easy alternative to getting around.
The manor, gristmill, and rebuilt millpond bridge are accessible at the Historic Hudson Valley (HVV) Visitor’s Center which is also where you catch the shuttle to Kykuit, the Rockefeller Mansion that rises above the Pocantico Hills overlooking miles of woodlands and then, in the distance, the Hudson River. Other tours include Washington Irving’s Sunnyside and the Union Church of Pocantico Hills.
For those who visited the mill and buy some of the grain ground there, HHV provides recipes including the following for Pumpkin Cornmeal Pancakes re-created from the travel accounts of Swedish botanist Peter Kalm, a Finnish explorer, botanist, naturalist, and agricultural economist, who journeyed to Colonial America in 1747 to bring seeds and plants that might be useful to agriculture. In his description of foods eaten by the Colonists, Kalm described a thick pancake “made by taking the mashed pumpkin and mixing it with Corn-meal after which it was…fried.” He found it “pleasing to my taste.” Further recipes are including from HHV for recipes from an article titled Cooking with Cornmeal Fresh from Philipsburg Manor’s Gristmill .
Pumpkin Cornmeal Pancakes
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup yellow cornmeal
- 1 cup confectioner’s sugar, plus extra for the topping
- 1/2 teaspoon dried ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 cup canned pumpkin
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 2½-3 cups milk
- Butter for frying
Combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Combine eggs and pumpkin. Beat into the dry ingredients. Add the milk slowly to make a smooth batter.
Heat some butter in a frying pan and pour some of the batter in. Swirl the batter around to make an evenly thick pancake. Cook on both sides until brown.
Serve hot, dusted with confectioner’s sugar.
Light Corn Bread
- 1/4 cup sweet butter
- 1/3 cup light brown sugar
- 2 egg yolks, beaten
- 1¼ cups buttermilk
- 7/8 cup cornmeal
- 2 cups cake flour, sifted
- 1 tsp. salt
- 3 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 2 egg whites, beaten
Cream the butter and sugar until smooth. Add the egg yolks. Mix dry ingredients together in a separate bowl. Stir in the buttermilk and the mixed dry ingredients alternately. Fold in the stiffly beaten whites last. Bake in a greased, floured 8 by 11 by 1½-inch pan about 20 minutes at 375 degrees F.
- 1 cup yellow cornmeal
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 Tbsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 2 large eggs (lightly beaten)
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease an 8″ baking pan and set aside.
In large mixing bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt; stir until well mixed. Add buttermilk, eggs, and shortening; mix until smooth (about 1 minute).Pour batter into pan. Bake 30 minutes (until lightly browned); toothpick inserted in center should come out clean.
Serving suggestion: Top with fruit and whipped cream.