Many of us have firm convictions about when certain dishes should be eaten: for instance, I would never have pancakes with butter and maple syrup for anything other than breakfast. Other dishes are more nebulous, though. Most people would consider the following recipes to be breakfast dishes, but the first one works well as a dessert while the second is equally delicious for lunch or dinner.
YEAST-RAISED WAFFLES WITH SAUTÉED APPLES
This waffle recipe comes from a now-closed restaurant in Quarry Bay, where I was pastry chef. The batter keeps in the fridge for about a week.
If you don’t like apples, serve the waffles with maple syrup, fruit preserves or fresh
or frozen berries that have been mixed with a little sugar and lemon juice. A scoop of vanilla ice cream with any of these toppings is also delicious, but it puts the waffles very firmly into the dessert category.
120 grams unsalted butter
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
300 grams plain (all-purpose) flour
7 grams instant yeast
½ tsp fine sea salt
50 grams granulated sugar
For the apples:
3 large Fuji apples
45 grams unsalted butter
About 75 grams muscovado sugar
About 15ml fresh lemon juice
Clotted cream, to serve
Pour the milk into a saucepan and place it over a medium flame until tiny bubbles form around the perimeter of the surface, then remove from the heat. Stir the milk, then leave it at room temperature until it cools to 35 degrees Celsius. Melt the butter in a small pan then cool it to lukewarm. Separate the eggs, putting the yolks into a medium-sized bowl. (You’ll be using the whites later; if you plan to finish making the waffles the same day, the whites can be placed in a mixing bowl, but if you’re making them the following day, put them in a small bowl in the fridge.)
Whisk the yolks until smooth then add the milk, butter and vanilla. In another bowl, whisk together the flour and yeast. Pour the liquid ingredients into the bowl containing the flour and whisk briefly to combine, but do not overmix – the mixture should be slightly lumpy. Cover the bowl with cling-film and leave to rise at room temperature for about two hours, or in the fridge overnight. If you refrigerate it, let the batter and egg whites warm at room temperature for about 30 minutes before making the waffles.
Make the sautéed apples before finishing the waffle batter. Peel the apples and cut them into wedges. Melt the butter in a wide skillet then mix in the sugar and heat until dissolved. Add the apples and cook over a medium flame, stirring often, until the fruit is tender but not mushy. Stir in the lemon juice. The sauce should lightly coat the apples; if it’s too watery, take the apples from the pan and simmer the liquid to reduce it to the right consistency.
Finish mixing the waffle batter. Put the egg whites and salt in a mixing bowl and whip until frothy. Add the sugar and whip until the whites form soft peaks. Add half the whites to the yeast/flour mixture and fold together gently. Stir in the remaining whites, trying to maintain the volume.
Heat the waffle iron and spray it lightly with pan-coating. Ladle the batter into the waffle iron, close it and cook on both sides until medium-brown.
Put the waffles on plates, top with some of the sautéed apples (reheat them if necessary) and serve with clotted cream.
Leftover waffle batter should be covered with cling-film then stored in the fridge. Mix it gently before making the waffles.
POTATO PANCAKES WITH CORN, CHIVES AND BACON
For a heartier meal, top these savoury pancakes with a poached or fried egg. The potato mixture can be made in advance, then cooked as needed.
1kg potatoes (I use the smooth-skinned
2 large eggs, at room temperature
About 30 grams plain (all-purpose) flour
¼ tsp piment d’Espelette (or another type of chilli powder)
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 or 4 ears of corn
20 grams chives (don’t use Chinese varieties because the flavour is too strong)
250 grams streaky bacon
Sour cream, as needed
Peel the potatoes and cut them into large chunks. Put them in a pan of salted water and boil until tender. Use a slotted spoon to scoop them from the pan (leave behind the water) then mash until smooth. Cool the potatoes slightly then mix in the eggs, chilli powder and flour. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Heat the potato water until boiling, then add the corn and cook for about two minutes. Drain the corn and as soon as the ears are cool enough to handle, remove the kernels with a sharp knife. Weigh out 250 grams of the kernels (reserve the remainder for the garnish) and mix them into the potato mixture. Stir in the chives. If the potato mixture is sticky, add a little more flour. Cover with cling-film and chill for at least an hour.
Fry the bacon just before cooking the pancakes. Cut the bacon into 5mm pieces then cook in a pan until crisp. Pour the bacon fat from the pan as it renders out and reserve the fat to cook the pancakes. Drain the bacon pieces on paper towels.
Use the bacon fat to thoroughly grease four to six individual serving skillets. Heat the pans over a medium flame then divide the potato mixture between them. Press the mixture into the skillets to flatten so each pancake is about 1cm thick. Pan-fry until the mixture shrinks from the sides of the pan and starts to brown (you can smell it). Carefully slide the pancake onto a plate and rub the skillet with more of the bacon fat. Invert the skillet over the pancake, then holding the plate firmly against the skillet, very quickly turn them over together. Lift away the plate so the pancake – cooked-side up – is in the skillet. Continue to cook until the pancakes are hot and nicely browned (if needed, flip them over one more time).
Put a scoop of sour cream on the pancakes and add the bacon pieces, chopped chives and reserved corn kernels on top. Serve immediately.
Stylist: Nellie Ming Lee