I do apologize. Truly. I hadn't meant for my first blog post of 2017 to be quite so ... naughty. The food world in general is rightly fixated on healthy foods after two months of holiday gluttony, and I was planning on sharing the joys of braising vegetables - comforting still, yet less guilty.
And then I saw a post on some social media channel from Food52 that included a video of the sparkling and adorable KatieQ, gleefully munching on a crisp and airy waffle she claimed was made with puff pastry. How could I not investigate further? I had one leftover piece of puff pastry languishing alone in the freezer.
so next blog post ... braised vegetables ...
But the weekend is approaching and it's pretty much cold everywhere right now, so how about just a leetle-beet more comforting? Invite some friends over for brunch and give this ingenious waffle-iron hack a go.
The premise is simply this: substitute your favorite waffle batter for "oven-ready," thawed puff pastry. Heat your waffle maker to factory settings, cut the puff pastry to a shape that is relatively the same size as your iron's surface, lubricate as you normally would, and you're in business.
Understandably, you might have some questions. And I'd love to help!
Q. HOW HOT SHOULD MY IRON BE?
A. I left my iron on it's usual setting (which produces crispy waffles with tender interiors) which I suppose you could call the "medium-high" setting. For your first run, leave it on the setting you're most comfortable with and adjust from there.
Q. WHAT'S A GOOD LUBRICATING AGENT?
A. Again, you know your own iron, but my #1 choice for any type of waffle is always going to be butter. Feel free to use a non-stick spray or go all out and brush your iron with coconut oil.
Q. HOW LONG SHOULD I COOK THE PUFF PASTRY?
A. While my iron is equipped to let me know when a waffle is done, I never trust it and constantly take peeks. I suggest you do the same with the puff pastry - but do know that it will cook MUCH faster than a regular waffle, so peek after a couple of minutes. You'll know it's done when it's risen and puffed up.
Q. SHOULD I STUFF MY PUFF PASTRY WAFFLE WITH SOMETHING DELICIOUS?
A. Alright, now we're getting somewhere! You certainly don't have to, but why, in heaven's name, wouldn't you? I did a simple sweet puff pastry waffle stuffed with dark chocolate and sprinkled with powdered sugar. And then I made a savory waffle stuffed with swiss cheese and crispy pancetta. Here's how I did it:
Puff Pastry Waffles
Sweet and savory fillings of your choice - I used dark chocolate to make a "pain au chocolat" and Swiss cheese with pancetta for a savory waffle.
I know, rather simplistic, but this is all about bringing your own creativity to the table. I only had one sheet of puff pastry (the stuff you get in the store will most likely contain two sheet) which I cut in half. If you're not interested in stuffing the "waffles" cut each of those halves in half again and that should give you about the right size to put into a standard waffle maker.
Again - no hard and fast rules here, cut the puff pastry to fit your iron. But if you ARE going to stuff the waffle, make sure you crimp the edges of the pastry dough so all the goodies stay securely inside and DO NOT OVERSTUFF. You will want to. You will be tempted to pile a lot of chocolate or add one more layer of Swiss cheese, but don't do it. I guarantee you will experience blowout. Add less filling than you want to and you'll be fine.
Also - make sure that you're not stuffing the waffles with ingredients (like pancetta) without cooking them first. The waffles aren't hanging out in the waffle maker very long and the stuffing ingredients simply be getting warmed up.
The possibilities are endless ... peanut butter and bananas, bacon jam (trying that next!), stewed apples, just make sure you get a good seal on the dough. Have fun!