Updated: Feb 22, 2019
Where can you buy the best buckwheat flour and pecans? Hint: one of them involves a giant squirrel.
Sunday morning I made waffles, always a treat. After trial and error I’ve developed a recipe I love that is very reliable.
Several years ago Sarah and I experimented with nut flours. We made waffles using pecan flour to replace spelt flour. While the waffles were tasty, they were not crisp. I thought about cutting the nut flour in half, and substituting half of another gluten-free flour. My first try was cornmeal. They tasted great, and were crisp and crunchy, with the flavor of toasted corn goodness.
Lately, instead of cornmeal I’ve been making them with half buckwheat flour, half pecan flour. I love buckwheat’s earthy flavor. The waffles emerge from the deep Belgian waffle maker crisp and light.
Buckwheat is not a true wheat. It is not in the grass family, as are all true grains; its seeds come from a plant related to sorrel and rhubarb. It is gluten-free, and is considered one of the “pseudo-grains,” along with quinoa and amaranth. You can buy dark buckwheat flour at any natural food store. I also order buckwheat flour online. My favorites companies are Bouchard Family Farms in Maine, which sells a lighter colored, sifted buckwheat flour, and Birkett Mills in New York State. Birkett Mills sells buckwheat flour, buckwheat cereal (both of these under the Pocono label), and also buckwheat groats used for making kasha, which cooks up like a fluffy rice.
Buckwheat is used in European recipes, such as kasha varnishkes, or to make divine little pancakes called blinis, served with smoked salmon, sour cream and caviar. In Japan, buckwheat is used to make dark, square-cut soba noodles.
I keep my buckwheat flour fresh by wrapping tightly in freezer bags or boxes and storing in the fridge or freezer. I also store pecans in the freezer. I know it’s a pain to have to store nuts and grains this way, but unless you’re cooking often from your pantry, they will get rancid quickly, because they are high in natural oils.
Sarah lives in Austin, Texas, which is home to native pecan trees. When we visit, we drive just east of Austin a little ways and stop at Berdoll’s Pecan Farm.
You’ll know it by the giant squirrel out on Hwy 71 West. They grow three or four kinds of pecans, and if they’re in stock, will let you taste them. My favorite is the large Pawnee type, which is lighter in color than the pecans sold in California, and has a sweet buttery flavor. If you can’t get to Austin, they will ship.
Buckwheat and Pecan Waffles
4 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 c. light or dark buckwheat flour, or can substitute cornmeal
1 c. plus 2 Tbs. finely ground pecans (pecan meal)*
2 tsp. double acting baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
2 c. buttermilk, or goat yogurt thinned with water (to buttermilk
consistency) to equal 2 c.
2 large eggs, separated
Maple syrup or berry syrup, for topping
Preheat a deep (Belgian) waffle iron.
Melt the butter and reserve. In a large bowl whisk together the buckwheat or cornmeal, ground pecans, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, whisk the egg yolks until smooth, then beat in the buttermilk and melted butter. Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.
Combine the dry ingredients with the liquid, mixing just until combined; fold in the beaten egg whites.
Lightly oil or spread ghee on your waffle iron. I give the iron a light coating of oil or ghee before each waffle.
Spoon out about 1 cup of batter on the hot iron, spreading gently to fill out to the edges. Close the lid and bake until browned and crisp, about 4 minutes. Serve waffles immediately, or keep waffles warm in oven set to 250 d. After cooling, waffles may be tightly wrapped and frozen, then reheated in a toaster.
*Pecan meal can be purchased, but it’s fresher to make your own. Simply grind pecans in a food processor, pulsing until a fine grind is achieved, stopping before nut butter forms. For a lighter, fluffier texture, you can also grind the nuts in a hand-turned nut grinder, or use a Zyliss rotating grater.