Thursday, May 07, 2009

Rhubarb... in waffles!

We planted a few rhubarb plants fairly late in the season last year and their stalks have finally busted through the ground and are starting to flourish! While it is a bit too soon to use the rhubarb up here, the markets have been getting the stalks in and I couldn't resist picking up a few so we could make these Rhubarb Waffles with Rhubarb Sauce as a breakfast-for-dinner night.

Before we can get started on the waffles, we needed to work on preparing the rhubarb for the crazy simple sauce. With just a mixture of the diced rhubarb stalks and what may seem like an awful amount of sugar, the two are heated in a saucepan until the juice starts to work itself out and the rhubarb softens. At this point, some of the tender rhubarb is swiped out of the pan (sans juices) to be integrated into the waffle batter. The remaining juice and bits of rhubarb are then brought to a boil and left to bubble until it thickens enough to make a spoon-able sauce. Back to that amount of sugar for the sauce - rhubarb by itself is powerfully tart and that sugar really is needed to tone it down and make it more palatable. Saying that, Jeff has been known to chew on raw rhubarb!

There isn't anything too unusual to be found in the waffle batter - though we did add some soft whole-wheat pastry flour to nudge in a bit of nutty nutrition. We also used only the whites from the eggs, which we just beat with a whisk until they were pretty frothy to give the waffles an airy quality to them. You don't need to worry about getting them to any peak form, simply frothy will do. When the batter was combined, the rhubarb that was stolen from the sauce was folded in to impart its unique essence into the waffles themselves.

We used an American-style waffle machine since that's what we like, but I wouldn't be opposed to using a deeper-pocketed Belgian-style with this recipe. Once the batter is added and the lid closed, you'll know when the waffles are ready when the whispers of steam stop flowing out from the sides and the waffles are a rich golden brown. Eat them as they come from the waffle iron if you like, but if you want to get them all done before you dig in, heat your oven to the lowest setting and set the waffles right onto the racks inside to keep warm and crispy until you're ready.

We found the sauce to be of good consistency for us (though Jeff's first comment was "Hey, it looks like ketchup!), but if you find it needs some help, don't be afraid to make a quick slurry of potato (or corn) starch (maybe a teaspoon or two?) and water - just stir in into the sauce and bring it back to a boil to activate the thickener. Also, it does still have some texture to it, but if you wanted a smoother coating on the tongue, you could give it a quick buzz with an immersion blender or toss it in the food processor. While the ruby mixture is sweet, the natural tartness from the rhubarb isn't hidden entirely and still comes through for a lip-smacking tangy sauce. I've already got plans to make the sauce again soon as a wicked good topping for fresh strawberry or vanilla bean ice cream!


  1. Yum I need to have some waffles. I have made a sauce bluebarb with blueberries , it is really good too. Donna

  2. MMmmm, I have this recipe pegged for when my rhubarb get's big enough to harvest! Glad to hear it is as tasty as it sounds.

    Thanks for the review!

  3. Mmmmm...I love rhubarb! I keep waiting for it to show up at the Minneapolis Farmers Market. Maybe this weekend?? I am hoping!


  4. Oatbread - Interesting!

    Kristin - I can't wait till ours is ready!

    Courtney - If not this weekend, it should be very soon!