Sunday, April 28, 2013

Yeasted Buckwheat Waffles with Rhubarb Compote

For my birthday this year, I received several wonderful cooking-related gifts, including Deborah Madison's new cookbook Vegetable Literacy. Not only is this book brimming with delicious recipes, but it's organized taxonomically, perfect for a biologist. This structure reveals some surprising kinships and ingredient affinities. I learned, for example, that sorrel, rhubarb, and buckwheat, are all members of the Polygonaceae or knotweed family. Suddenly a compote of new spring rhubarb and the end of last season's frozen strawberries seemed like the perfect topping for Madison's yeasted buckwheat waffles.

I'd never made yeasted waffles before because the timing seemed tricky for breakfast, but Madison's recipe recommends an overnight ferment, which produces a pillowy and flavorful base that is quickly finished while the waffle iron warms. The yeast's transformative power sweetens and lightens the whole grain batter, and the delicious yeasty smells that fill the kitchen while the waffles cook is itself worth the effort of a little mixing the night before. Also worth making ahead is a pot of rhubarb and strawberry compote. Draping this assertive pseudo fruit over its smoky pseudo grain cousin turns out to be a match of botanical and culinary harmony.

Yeasted Buckwheat Waffles
from Deborah Madison's Vegetable Literacy
(best started the night before)

1 package (2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
2 cups milk, just warmed (or use buttermilk)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 cup white whole wheat pastry or spelt flour (I used Lonesome Whistle's red fife)
1 cup buckwheat flour (I used Lonesome Whistle's buckwheat)
2 Tbsp honey
5 Tbsp butter, melted, or sunflower seed oil
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 tsp baking soda

1. If proofing overnight, combine the yeast and warm water and let sit for 10 minutes. Put the milk and salt in a large bowl, add the yeast, then whisk in the flours. Cover and refrigerate overnight if the weather is warm, or leave out on the counter if it is cool. The next morning, stir in the honey, butter, eggs, and baking soda.

If proofing for two hours, combine all the ingredients in a large bowl, mixing well. Cover the bowl and leave in a warm spot for two hours. 

2. When ready to cook, give the batter a stir. Heat the waffle iron. When the iron is ready, spoon the batter onto the grid and close the lid. When the waffle is done remove it from the iron with a fork and serve right away with rhubarb strawberry compote (recipe below) and maple syrup.

Leftover batter will keep for several days in the refrigerator. This batter can also be used to make buckwheat blini.

Rhubarb Strawberry Compote
(can prepare the night before)
4 slender or 2 large stalks rhubarb
1/2 cup frozen strawberries
1/4 cup sugar, or to taste
1/4 cup water

Rinse and trim the rhubarb and chop into 1 inch pieces. Combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat and simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the fruit has cooked down to a soft consistency. Taste and add more sugar if desired. If made ahead, rewarm before serving.

1 comment:

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