You’ve got to love autumn. Those adorable miniature pumpkins at the grocery store? Fun-sized candy bars you justify purchasing by telling yourself they’re for trick-or-treaters? Roasted, salted pumpkin seeds? Apple cider, with or without the shot of Southern Comfort? Fantastic. Even better would be some sweater weather and the use of a wool scarf, but I take what I can get now that I live in south Florida, land of two seasons: Humid and Less-humid.
And so when I saw this recipe floating around the internet recently, I knew I needed to try it, if for no other reason than to have an excuse to buy pumpkin puree a full two months before Thanksgiving. I’ve seen versions at Epicurious, Smitten Kitchen and Country Living. Here’s the one I went with last night, and have been pining for leftovers since:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
4 eggs, separated
2 cups well-shaken buttermilk
1 cup pumpkin puree (NOT! Pumpkin Pie Mix!)
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
Mix together flour, brown sugar, baking powder and soda, salt, and spices. Whisk your egg yolks in a large bowl with buttermilk, pumpkin, and butter until smooth. Mix in the dry ingredients just until combined – leave those lumps alone.
Now you’ll need to whisk the egg whites until they hold soft peaks. This took maybe one minute total with my hand-held mixer my mother got for a wedding gift, 30+ years ago. It’s harvest gold and it’s a thing of beauty. Point being, you don’t need fancy, just sturdy. I’ve heard rumors you can whisk egg whites by hand, but who’s got the wrist temerity for that? Then fold the whites gently, so gently, into the batter.
Heat up your waffle iron, and don’t forget to grease it or spray it or whatever your preferred method of de-sticking may be. Do I need to tell you to proceed with cooking the waffle batter? Go ahead and cook your waffle batter. You may need to spread it out a bit, since it’s a thicker substance than your standard Bisquick business. I used about 2/3 cup per waffle, but we have a professional Belgian waffle maker. Take it up with my husband, it was one of his wedding registry items. I have nothing more to say on the matter.
If you’re worried about the warmth situation, or you had dinner delayed unexpectedly, pop those cooked waffles in a 250 degree oven to keep them toasty. Serve them with butter, maple syrup, apple butter, maybe even pumpkin butter if you’re feeling seriously autumnal. The best thing about these, besides the serious lightness the egg whites give, is the subtlety of the flavor. You can taste the pumpkin and the spice, but it’s not overpowering, which I find just delightful. Happy eating!