While traditional Belgian waffles are made with yeast, we use beaten egg whites to give these salty-sweet waffles their light, airy texture and crispy exterior. For freezing and heating instructions, see below.
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons canola oil, divided
6 firm pears, such as Anjou, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
6 tablespoons water
1/3 cup maple syrup
5.6 ounces white whole-wheat flour (about 1 1/4 cups)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 ounces finely chopped lower-sodium Black Forest ham
2 ounces finely shredded Gruyère cheese
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
3 large eggs, separated
How to Make It
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add 2 teaspoons oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add pears; cook 15 minutes or until soft. Add 6 tablespoons water and syrup; bring to a boil. Cook 2 minutes or until liquid is syrupy. Remove from heat.
Preheat a Belgian-style waffle iron.
Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 4 ingredients (through salt) in a large bowl; stir with a whisk. Add ham and cheese; toss to coat. Add buttermilk, remaining 2 tablespoons oil, and egg yolks, stirring to combine. Place egg whites in a medium bowl. Beat with a mixer at high speed until soft peaks form. Fold egg whites into batter. Spoon about 1/3 cup batter per 4-inch waffle onto hot waffle iron coated with cooking spray, spreading batter to edges. Cook 7 minutes or until steaming stops. Repeat with remaining batter.
To freeze: Cool pears to room temperature. Divide mixture evenly among 8 plastic freezer bags. Cool waffles completely on a wire rack. Stack waffles between wax paper, and place in a large plastic freezer bag for up to 6 months.
To cook: Heat frozen waffles in toaster using freezer setting until heated through. Or heat in a 350° oven until warmed through. Microwave frozen pears in bags on DEFROST 1 minute. Remove from bags; place in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at HIGH 1 minute or until thoroughly heated.