The not-so-humble waffle

KATRINA MEYNINK
Last updated 05:00 01/03/2014
waffles

FLAVOUR HIT: Cheddar and wasabi waffles with caramelised soy pancetta.

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Gourmet waffles are gracing plates the world over.

In Paris the waffle with artichoke heart cream and cured ham at L'Comptoir is legendary; in Sydney they come live and large at Paramount Coffee Project with peanut butter ice cream and dulce de leche, and in Melbourne chef Andrew McConnell dishes up waffles with pressed confit duck meat with foie gras and prune puree. 

This version is crisp and cheesy with a nose clearing hint of wasabi - what more could you want from the no-longer-so-humble waffle?

They work best with chunks of cheddar throughout the batter; as they cook you get these luscious melted dollops of cheese, such a good surprise.

They talk about transitional dressing in fashion and this is transitional feasting - you can have them for breakfast with a poached egg or late at night as you stare lovingly at the bottom of a bottle of pinot.

Hell they even go well doused in a bit of hot sauce if the spicy kick is your thing. The choice is yours. And the spectacular thing - you'll never get it wrong.

There are two types of waffle irons available. Either cast iron for heating on the stove top, or electric waffle irons that work in a similar way to sandwich toasters.

I have used both and find my Breville electric waffle iron easier to use with much more consistent results - so I lean towards electric even if it does seem a little lazy.

The stovetop ones leave too much to chance whereas electric offer a consistent, evenly cooked result. You've been warned.

Alternately, the batter can be used to make pancakes in a frying pan.

CHEDDAR AND WASABI WAFFLES WITH CARAMELISED SOY PANCETTA

NEED TO KNOW

Main ingredient Eggs
Type of dish Sweet treat
Course Breakfast/brunch
Cooking time 30 min - 1 hour
Serves/makes 8 waffles
Special options Nut-free

3 eggs
3 heaped teaspoons wasabi (or to taste)
1 1/2 cups milk
125g butter
3/4 cup grated good quality cheddar
3/4 cup good quality cheddar broken into chunks
2 cups self raising flour
Pinch salt
8-10 slices good quality pancetta
1 heaped teaspoon icing sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Extra cheddar cheese, melted to serve (optional)

1. To make the waffle batter, whisk together the eggs, wasabi, milk and butter in a bowl until combined.

2. Add the flour and whisk to combine, add the cheddar and season with salt. Don't be too concerned if the batter appears lumpy.

3. Heat up your waffle maker, stovetop to medium heat. Cook 1/3 cupfuls of waffle batter at a time for 2 -4 minutes or until waffle is crisp and golden.

4. To make the caramelised soy pancetta, lay the pancetta on a sheet of baking paper. Spoon over the icing sugar and soy sauce to coat.

5. Cover with another sheet of baking paper and brown in a sandwich press for 1-2 minutes or line between two baking trays and bake in a 180C oven for 10 minutes or until caramelised.

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6. Turn out the waffles, top with extra melted cheese if using and the soy caramelized pancetta. Serve immediately.

 - Daily Life

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