The last time I shared a kitchen with my grandma, she was 92 and led the way, showing me how to make lady locks—a croissant-esque cookie stuffed with cream, the puff pastry for which she made from scratch (and with butter-flavored Crisco)—in the house where she’s lived for the past 54 years.
I like to complain that I come from a culture-less, tradition-lite family. We don’t have a special Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner that must be recreated in its exactness every year. We’re a little Irish, a little Swedish, a little English, a little German, but we’re not enough of anything to speak a foreign language or even guess “lingonberry” in a game of charades (even if I had them saying berry and sounds like sling).
But the truth is we do have a few specific traditions. One: our annual beach vacation. And two: the eating of Grandma’s homemade waffles at some point during this gathering. As a kid, these beach waffles tasted like no other waffle I’d ever known. They smelled bready yet they were light and subtly sweet. I could eat them alone, straight off the waffle iron and did. Though most often, I topped them with sliced peaches and whipped cream.
We decided we would make the dough in the morning so that they’d be ready by lunchtime.
By noon, the dough had doubled in size, rising to the brim just like it was supposed to. But corralling a group of seven to eat lunch at relatively the same time when the sun is out and the beach is a block away isn’t easy. And as I stood and manned the waffle iron, producing golden duos of waffles, one after the other, I heard my brother, referring to me by my nickname, tell my step-dad that “Amy’s waffles” were ready.
Makes 8-10 waffles
1 package dry active yeast
2 cups lukewarm milk
4 eggs, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 ½ cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar plus more for sprinkling over fruit
½ cup melted butter
3-4 peaches (or any fruit you like on top of your waffles)
1 cup heavy cream
Sprinkle yeast over warm milk. Stir to dissolve. Beat egg yolks and add to yeast mixture with vanilla. In another bowl, mix together the flour, salt, and sugar. Add to liquid ingredients. Stir in melted butter and combine thoroughly.
Beat the egg whites until stiff. Carefully fold into batter. Let mixture stand in a warm place about 45 minutes or until it’s double in bulk.
Meanwhile slice your peaches and sprinkle with a teaspoon or two of sugar. Stir and let sit at room temperature until mixture gets nice and syrupy.
Whip the heavy cream until it reaches soft peaks. (Feel free to add a ½ teaspoon vanilla and a teaspoon of sugar while you’re whipping it.)
Cook waffles according to your waffle iron’s specifications. Top with fruit and whipped cream. Enjoy!