Crispy Waffles with Cinnamon Apple Compote

A couple of weeks ago, we had 56 pounds of apples (Galas and Honeycrisps).  Then we stuffed them into pies and juiced enough of them that we came down to having only about 30 pounds of apples.  Then my parents visited from Los Angeles.  Since they wanted to see some fall colors and since we were making our way through our apples, we decided to make another trek up to Wisconsin for their last remaining weekend of apple-picking.  It was to be bucolic—so country!—to pick apples with my parents and our dog.

Pretty much as soon as we finished making the 75-minute drive to the orchard, the skies looked threatening.  So rather than romping amongst drifting leaves and fall colors and plaid shirts, I huddled with my parents under a large picnic bench umbrella while we sent Will to pick as many Fujis (another favorite of ours) as he could before the rains hit.  Easier said than done.  Soon after we received our fresh-from-the-fryer apple cider donuts, the rain started to come down.  Then the thunderbolts.  Thank goodness for the large umbrella! 

Some time later, when we saw Will again, he was drenched.  Apparently our dog Katie—who is terrified of storms—was huddled into as small a ball as she could make herself and was shaking and panting like mad by the time Will got back in the car with his 26 pounds of Fujis.  So much for relaxation in the country.

But since the storms didn’t last too long and the temperature was still fairly mild, we all declared it a rather fun experience.  (Well, maybe Katie might have voted differently…)  Plus, now we’re back to having a respectable bin- and pantry-ful of apples to make delicious items like cinnamon apple compote for our weekend breakfast waffles!

Step 1: Use a good waffle mix. 
We tried several home-made batters—some that even required overnight rising, etc.  Really though, we decided that the much greater preparation for made-from-scratch waffle batter didn’t produce such markedly better waffles than some good mixes.  Since that’s not the case with pancake batter I’m curious about what accounts for the difference, but suffice it to say that we are happy with mixes.  We’ve tried many, but for convenience, cost, and crispiness, we are partial to Carbon’s Golden Malted Original Pancake and Waffle Flour.

Step 2:  Caramelize your apples.
For about 4 servings, you would need 4 large to 6 medium apples.  Peel, core, slice thin, as you would for an apple pie.  Then melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a wide sauté pan and then add 1 tablespoon granulated sugar.  Add apple slices and cook over medium heat (raising the heat slightly to medium-high if the apples are not cooking).  Then when the apples are starting to soften, add 1 tablespoon of brown sugar (to help caramelize and color the apples), ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon and a pinch of sea salt.  Continue to stir until apples are still holding their shape but cooked to your liking.

Step 3:  Assemble your waffle.
Place one (Belgian) waffle on a plate, and then top with a small mound of caramelized apples.  Then you can top with your choice of toppings: a large spoonful of whipped cream, a small spoonful of mascarpone or sweetened crème fraiche.  Just drizzle a tiny bit of warmed maple syrup on the waffle at the table too if you wish.

Voila!  We are ready for a weekend brunch.


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