Layered scallion pancraffles
” SOMETIMES THE RIGHT THINGS DON’T MAKE SENSE. “
This is not a croissant. I know better not to call it such without the distinct lamination equally spaced across in laser-precision, if only to avoid sudden eruptive rage from the sentimental hearts of any avid croissantologists. But this is not a scallion pancake either. Not only that its yeasted, bread-like dough stands apart from the standard model. But the ungodly amount of butter in between its much thinner circular layers, stained green from bled out scallions could surely, I speculate again, rattle the graves of many conservative Chinese grandmothers. Not that dead people have feelings. But I wouldn’t underestimate their much-alive grandchildren with multiple Twitter accounts. I guess what I could safely refer to it as, is probably that it’s a waffle. For nowadays, anything and everything cooked in a waffle machine, let it be raw fish sushi or spaghetti bolognese, is unmistakably, a waffle. No progressive movement there.
Or, I could just call it something else entirely. A pancraffle.
And if you are one who doesn’t spend too much time on correct name-calling, but instead, on actions, then you’d be rewarded with these crispy and flakey outside, soft oniony and buttery on the inside, all in all, a beautiful hybrid with the best qualities of all parties.
But if you really want to get out there, then instead of the very reasonable topping of grated cheddar cheese, try a big dollop of burnt marshmallow meringue. Sometimes the right things don’t make sense.
You could probably use any compound butter that you prefer instead of the scallion butter.
- 2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour
- 3 tbsp (41 grams) light brown sugar
- 1 tsp (3 grams) instant dry yeast
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup + 2 tsp (95 grams) water
- 1/4 cup (60 grams) whole milk
- 1 tbsp (14 grams) unsalted butter
- 9 tbsp (117 grams) unsalted butter, straight from the fridge is fine
- 4~5 green scallions (60 grams), green parts only
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
- Finely grated aged cheddar and sour cream for savory version
- Marshmallow meringue for savory/sweet version
- 3 egg whites
- 2 cups (165 grams) powdered sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/8 tsp cream of tartar
- PREPARE DOUGH: In a stand-mixer with dough hook attachment, mix together flour, light brown sugar, instant dry yeast, salt, water and whole milk on low speed for a few minutes until a cohesive and sticky dough forms. Add unsalted butter and knead on medium-high speed for about 10 minutes, until a very elastic and soft dough forms. The dough should eventually pull cleanly away from the sides and bottom of the bowl while the machine is running, but sticks right back once the machine stops. If the dough feels too dry, or too wet, add a little more water or flour to adjust until right. Wrap the bowl with plastic-wrap and let rise at room-temperature for about 2~3 hours until doubled (may be faster or slower depending on the temperature).
- MAKE SCALLION BUTTER: In a food-processor, pulse the butter several time until roughly blended and not in chunks. Cut the green parts of the scallion in small segments into the processor, along with salt and black pepper, then run continuously until the mixture is smoothly blended. You may need to stop and scrap the sides and bottom of the bowl a couple times but it will eventually come together. Set aside at room-temperature until needed.
- SHAPE THE PANCRAFFLES: Transfer the dough onto a floured surface and divide into 6 equal portions. Dust with flour as needed, and roll one portion out into a large circle about the thickness of a flour tortilla. Mentally divide the butter into 6 equal portions (about 1 1/2 tbsp), then spread one portion onto the dough evenly and all the way up to the edges.
- Roll the sheet into a log and brush the exterior with water (this helps the log stay in a snail shape later), then hold each tips with your fingers and slowly pull it longer until it can no longer extend, about 50% longer. This stretches out the layers and make them thinner. Now curl the long log from one end to the other, and tuck the end tip underneath itself, looking like a snail. Place it on a slightly floured surface and repeat with the rest and arrange each in the order they are made.
- Once you have shaped all six "snails", go back to the first one. At this point I don't like to use more flour because it leaves an unsightly crust in the final product. Rub your rolling pin and the surface of the dough with some canola oil, and gently roll it out again into 3/8" (1 cm) thick. Do not roll it thinner or it won't cook/brown properly in the waffle machine. Transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet and repeat with the rest. Cover them loosely with a plastic-wrap and let rise again for about 2 hours. The thickness will not look "doubled", but more puffy and swollen. At this point you can freeze them, and let thaw at room temperature before cooking when needed.
- TO COOK THE PANCRAFFLES: Preheat your waffle machine on high. Gently lift and transfer one from the baking sheet onto the griddle and close, and cook for about 4 minutes until golden browned on both sides. If your griddle is the kind that flips, be careful to put a plate underneath to catch the excess butter that will seep out. Let cool and crisp up on a cooling rack for 5 minutes before serving.
- TO SERVE: If you are a full-savory kind of person, I would spread a little sour cream on top and pile on a small mountain of microplane-grated aged cheddar cheese. If you are, like me, a savory-sweet type of human, put a big dollop of marshmallow meringue on top and torch the meringue until slightly burnt on the exterior. Both equally satisfying. To make the marshmallow meringue, do it within an hour of serving to ensure optimal texture, which is during the second rise or when frozen ones are thawing.
- MARSHMALLOW MERINGUE: I use powdered sugar instead of granulated sugar because it will melt without using a double boiler. Place egg whites, powdered sugar, vanilla extract and cream of tartar in a stand-mixer with whisk attachment. Whisk on high for about 10~13 minutes until the mixture has expanded in volume, looking very glossy, and a soft peak forms on the whisk without falling. Cover and set aside until needed.