Pumpkin Pie Waffles with Bourbon Pecan Syrup
The trouble with much modern cooking is not that the food it produces isn’t good, but that the mood it induces in the cook is one of skin-of-the-teeth efficiency, all briskness and little pleasure. Sometimes that’s the best we can manage, but at other times we don’t want to feel like a postmodern, postfeminist, overstretched woman but, rather, a domestic goddess, trailing nutmeggy fumes of baking pie in our languorous wake.
Nigella Lawson, How to Be a Domestic Goddess
I’m not immune to the Siren call of a little word like simple.
The promise of fast and easy often poses a temptation that’s impossible to resist.
But there are times when simple doesn’t satisfy me. Like when the sky is that shade of grey that I adore in a pair of boots, but detest when it’s ominously blanketing the sky. Or when the weather report includes the “S” word. In those moments I prefer to linger in my oven-warmed kitchen. I favor the tick-tick of the whisk hitting the metal bowl over the fitful whirring of an electric mixer. I lose time watching the egg whites grow to meet my gaze. Freshly ground nutmeg falls like that “S” word on the soft pile of flour. The clank and scrape of the marble pestle against the mortar prevails. The spice grinder sits quietly in the cabinet waiting for the next time I succumb to fast and easy. I stop to ponder whether walnuts or pecans are a better partner for my slow-roasting pumpkin. Another day my pumpkin will likely be scooped from a can.
Greg is at my side offering to help. He likes to work the waffle iron. I’m far from ready with no impending sense of urgency. He’s anxious to “get some stuff done”, but he’s picked up on my vibe and works to mask his restlessness. He takes a seat at his piano, his place of peace. Without trying I click the whisk against the bowl in time with his music; my trance deepens. We go on like this. For how long, I can’t be sure.
“It’s time,” I call from the kitchen when he reaches the end of Linus and Lucy. He’s immediately by my side again. Steam rises from the waffle iron. I’m whipping cream while the bourbon and maple syrup simmer. Pecans are toasting. My forearm is aching–too used to simple–but the burning sensation is strangely pleasant. I’m floury, sticky, and completely present in this moment. Still basking in the fussiness of it all, I assemble our plates.
“It’s almost ten,” Greg says as we sit to eat. “Guess this is brunch.”
At last my spell is broken. I swallow my disappointment as I slice into the syrupy, unrestrained plate before me. Greg takes his first bite. I watch his impatience wash away. Fussy. Elaborate. Anything but simple. This is our reward–this heady satisfaction. The softly spiced whipped cream melts into the syrup and streams over the sides of the stack. The waffle crunches under my knife and gives way to a delicate interior. The salty, toasted overtones of the pecans and bourbon perfectly balance the sweetness.
A few hours later we’re bustling in the yard, raking leaves, tending to the cold-frame. My morning dance is a delicious but distant memory. This is my repayment for Greg’s patience. He heads into the house for water and returns with two glasses. He’s smiling at me. I’m struck by how handsome he is in his ratty flannel shirt. He leans down and kisses me lightly. It’s a “thank you” kiss though I’m not sure what it’s for.
His smile broadens and he says, “the whole house smells like pumpkin pie.”
Pumpkin Pie Waffles with Bourbon Pecan Syrup and Cinnamon Whipped Cream
Plan to spend 45 minutes to an hour preparing this indulgent breakfast (or brunch). Your efforts will be rewarded in many ways.
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, separated
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 cup pumpkin puree
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/4 cups milk
1/3 cup bourbon (Optional. You can replace it with an equal amount of milk.)
2 cups white whole wheat flour (or all purpose)
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
BOURBON PECAN SYRUP:
1 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons bourbon
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup pecans, toasted and roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
CINNAMON WHIPPED CREAM:
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 250°F.
- Preheat waffle iron.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, egg yolks, yogurt, pumpkin, melted butter, oil, milk, and bourbon if using.
- In a separate medium bowl, whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Set aside.
- Add the remaining dry ingredients to a large bowl and whisk to combine. Make a well in the center. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until just blended. Fold in the egg whites.
- Divide 1 cup of batter among the four waffle wells and cook according to manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer waffles to the warm oven until you’re ready to eat. Repeat until the batter is gone.
- Make the bourbon pecan syrup and cinnamon whipped cream while the waffles cook. Combine the maple syrup, bourbon, and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Allow the mixture to simmer for 1 minute after the butter has melted. Remove from heat. Add toasted pecans and salt. Set aside.
- Pour the heavy cream, cinnamon, and powdered sugar into a medium mixing bowl and whip until soft peaks form.
- Drizzle the waffles with the chunky syrup and finish with a generous dollop of cinnamon whipped cream.
Makes 18-20 waffles.