Sunday, May 6, 2012

Cornmeal and Ricotta Waffles

Several weeks have passed without a waffle Sunday.  Far too much time.  As schedules pick up, Ross and I are finding fewer and fewer weekends off together.   The stars aligned and this past Sunday found a morning together again.

I came across this recipe a while ago, and tagged it for a later date.  The combination was intriguing, but it wasn't until I tried my hand at homemade ricotta that this recipe drew my attention again.

adapted from Michael Mina's recipe at Food and Wine

The Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
2 cups milk
6 large eggs, separated
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups flour 
1/2 cup cornmeal 
1/Tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick unsalted butter, melted

The Process:
Preheat oven to 200 and heat up the waffle iron.
In a large bowl, whisk the ricotta with the milk, egg yolks and sugar. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the cornmeal, baking powder and salt. Whisk the dry ingredients into the ricotta mixture until combined. Stir in the melted butter.

In a separate mixing bowl with an electric beater, or by hand with a strong wrist action, whisk the egg whites until they hold soft peaks.  Fold the whites gently into the waffle batter, until just combined.  Do not over mix!  The batter should retain as much air as possible from the whites.

Brush or mist the waffle iron lightly with oil and spoon batter into waffle iron, spreading quickly with a spatula to cover the entire griddle surface (amount varies depending on waffle iron, mine uses just over 1/2 a cup). Cook according to iron manufacturer’s instructions.

Transfer finished waffles to rack in oven to keep warm and crisp. Make more waffles in same manner.

Serve warm with toppings of your choice.

The Review: 
One thing I've come to truly love about Waffle Sundays is the sheer variety of flavors out there.  Is waffle is so similar, and yet so unique in their own right.  Oh, the shape my be the same.  And the general consistency.  But some are lighter, some are denser.  Some have a smooth, almost creamy center with a crisp exterior while others are more toothsome.  Flavors very from yeasty to sweet to vanilla or cinnamon spiked.  Filler abound: bacon, blueberries, nuts, or nothing at all.  Some hold up to a mountain of toppings.  Others are the perfect sponge for syrup.  

And I love every single one of them.  Some may be more successful than others.  But each and every waffle Sunday has been a treat to look forward to.

SO where does this waffle fall?  This variation was a little denser than most, with a bit pleasant grittiness from the cornmeal.  It soaked up the syrup on a heart beat, yet only the lightest drizzle was needed to offset the light cornmeal flavor.  Of course I added butter, but a silken buttery flavor was present even before the waffle was doused in toppings.  It puffed and crisped wonderfully, and maintained it's crispness under the power of the syrup longer than some, but not quite long enough for my taste.  Yet the interior was wonderfully moist.  

All that sums up to mean these waffles will be amazing frozen for later and reheated in the toaster for a quick breakfast later this week.

And the ricotta?  A creaminess was present, but if you didn't know the ricotta was there, you wouldn't be able to tell.  I used homemade ricotta...this batch turned out a tad drier than the last ricotta, but the waffles did not suffer.  

These may not be the healthiest of waffles, with 6 eggs and 1 stick of butter.  But the fat and sugar is offset by a higher protein content than most other waffles.  This is a waffle that will keep you fuller longer.  And at a 6-8 waffle are only looking at about 1 egg per serving.  The butter may be a bit excessive if you're watching the fat.  Next time around I may swap out half the butter with applesauce. 

Of course, with so many other waffles to choose from, who knows when I'll make it back around to this one! 

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