I stumbled upon a jewel while exploring the Queen Village neighborhood of Philadelphia: the Queen Village Food Market, which is a Turkish grocery store. Its shelves are stacked with exotic imported spreads, nuts, dried fruits, olives, spices, tea and coffee. The refrigerator offers a selection of Turkish cheeses, and the freezer has an array of sweet and savory stuffed pastries. I could not resist purchasing some intriguing spreads and some of that traditional Middle Eastern gelatinous confection called Turkish Delight.
I walked home in the ice, snow and frigid temperature that this January has brought us. To the joy of my daughter and her teachers, the weather conditions had resulted in a snow day. One way to enjoy this special time off and to make our home cozier was to bake. After my visit to the Turkish grocery store, I was inspired to prepare some exotic homemade waffles.
One of the most delicious treats you can easily prepare yourself is a stuffed waffle. The waffle batter is simple to mix, and the only piece of special equipment you need is a waffle iron. If you don’t have a waffle iron, you can use the same batter to prepare stuffed pancakes instead. In place of the quotidian ingredients I see on most local menus, I experimented with some flavors from the Ottoman Empire. I used fresh halva, Turkish Delight, honey with assorted crushed nuts, and sweet poppy seed filling.
Basic Stuffed Waffle
- 2 cups flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 cups milk
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl.
- Heat the waffle iron to medium.
- Lightly oil the waffle iron.
- Place 2 1/2 tablespoons of waffle batter on one side of the waffle iron.
- Add a teaspoonful of the filling of your choice in the center of the batter.
- Pour an additional 2 1/2 tablespoons of waffle batter on top of the batter with the filling.
- Close the waffle iron.
- Cook for 5 to 6 minutes, or until the waffle stops producing steam.
The results of my experimentation with exotic fillings were very interesting. The rich halva stuffing melted in my mouth. The Turkish Delight softened into a sweet, gooey, nutty confection. The honey with ground nuts and the poppy seed filling were sweet and crunchy. All of the fillings were delicious with a thick, sweet cup of Turkish coffee, flavored with a pinch of hel, which is Farsi for ground cardamom.