What does a communion wafer and one of my favorite breakfast foods have in common? More than you would think.
When I think of waffles, two things come to mind; the frozen breakfast food I would eat two to three times a day while in high school and the country of Belgium. But I can honestly say that communion wafers never crossed my mind.
While looking into the history of the waffle for this week’s Cooking with Fire episode, I came across an interesting article that traced the history of this flaky cake back to Greek flat cakes. These flat cakes were cooked in between two hot metal plates. The cakes were pressed thin, and the batter consisted simply of flour, water, milk and sometimes eggs.
These cakes became known as wafers, and the Roman church began creating communion wafers using this same method. It was common for the metal plates that were used to make these wafers to have designs in them, most often a cross.
Over the years the cast iron plates began to change in size while keeping the popular criss-cross pattern. The depth allowed the batter to rise and fall, creating fluffier varieties of wafers, which over time became, waffles.
But was the cross pattern of communion wafers the basis for the design of modern waffles? It is unlikely that this is the exact reason, but it’s hard not to see dozens of tiny crosses each time I glance at a waffle.
On this week's Cooking With Fire podcast, Josh Cary and Chef Tom Jackson make waffles their way:
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tbsp white sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 3 eggs, yolks and whites separated
- 1 3/4 cups whole milk
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 1 tsp bourbon
- leftover pulled pork
For the syrup:
- 2 cups maple syrup
- 1/4 cup bourbon
- 1/4 tsp red chile flakes
- In a mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar and baking powder. Add the salt.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, milk, melted butter and bourbon. Whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, just until all dry spots are gone.
- Whip the egg whites until stiff peaks are formed. Gently fold the whites into the waffle batter, just until the white streaks are gone.
- Place some of the leftover pulled pork on a hot waffle iron. Pour 1/2 cup of batter over the pulled pork. Cook until crispy. Remove and hold warm.
- Combine the syrup ingredients in a skillet and bring to a simmer. Simmer for two minutes.
- Serve the waffles topped with more pulled pork and the bourbon maple syrup.