Editor's Note: Please welcome Daniel Shumski, author of the Will It Waffle? blog (one of our favorites), and the new Will It Waffle? cookbook. In the coming weeks, Daniel will be sharing some of his favorite waffle-iron recipes.
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I love pumpkin pie, but sometimes the work of making the crust does not pay off in proportion to the amount I enjoy eating it. At the same time, baking a crustless custard is fine, but it takes some time. Enter the waffle iron.
The flavor of this waffled pumpkin custard gets nudged in the direction of pie by incorporating crushed crackers. The flour in this recipe holds it all together in the waffle iron, but keeping the flour to a bare minimum means that rather than being a waffle with pumpkin flavor, this is much more a custard that happens to be cooked in the waffle iron. (Eliminate the flour entirely if you're brave, but don't expect the finished custard to come out of the waffle iron easily—or at all.)
My first attempt at this recipe involved spreading a layer of graham cracker crumbs on the waffle iron and then pouring the batter on top. Perhaps the batter would hydrate the crumbs and form a layer of crust? No. Wishing it would waffle does not make it so. Back to the drawing board.
I next tried a "magic cake"-style recipe, where everything is poured in together and the crust rises to the top. Or at least it does in the oven. In the waffle iron, it was a mess. I don't think we can count that as a "yes" to the question "Will it waffle?" unless you're okay with eating the mixture right off the waffle iron.
After several rounds of fine-tuning, victory was mine. This recipe cooks in minutes and can be a godsend if your oven is otherwise occupied—a not unlikely occurrence in what's sometimes a mad rush to the Thanksgiving finish line. You could also use it as a participatory dessert: food comas fade at different rates and while guests might not be ready for dessert at the same time, you can let them waffle their own when they're ready.