Below you will see a slice of pizza. It is cold. Some people like to eat it cold. This is ok. I sometimes like to eat cold pizza, particularly when the previous night has not quite taken the hint and decided to stick around to continue the party into the next morning.
Some people microwave their slices. They deserve our most sincere sympathies and pities, for they know not what they do. Sure, the pizza gets hot, but it is a lifeless, flaccid, zombie-esque version of its former self that deserves no better than a blunt blow to the head.
Some people like to reheat their pizza in a toaster oven or an oven. This is also ok, if you've got the patience to wait for an oven to preheat.
Still others, the true scholars who have studied the art and science behind the best way to reheat pizza will heat their cold slices in a skillet on the stovetop, a method that brings that slice completely back from the dead, rendering it nearly indistinguishable from the original.
Today, I'm going to reveal to you a method that is superior to any of these. A method that converts stale, cold, lifeless pizza into a crisp-crusted, gooey-cheesed, brown-edged, stretchy, saucy, hand-held treat. A method so good that it'll make you want to order fresh pizza and let it go cold just so you can use it. And we're going to do it in the waffle iron.
We're not the first people to think about making pizza in a waffle iron. The Waffleizer has a fantastic-looking recipe for it. His technique involves using raw pizza dough and toppings to create either a mini calzone, or a pizza base that can be topped and finished in the oven. Instructables has a recipe that uses frozen crescent dough and some pizza-esque toppings.
What we're doing is a little different, and a heck of a lot easier. All it takes is some cold leftover pizza (even the chain stuff will do—this is a major makeover that fixes many flaws), and a waffler.
Step 1: Top as Desired
Place any toppings (which will soon become stuffings) on the upper left quadrant of the slice, Try to go relatively easy here so that you don't end up squeezing them out down the line.
Step 2: Fold it
Fold the tip of the slice up over the toppings to meet the upper corner of the crust. You should end up with a near perfect right triangle.
Step 3: Trim it
Trim off the exposed crust. This bit of crust can be consumed immediately (if you want your cold pizza fix), or waffled directly on its own (you can stick it straight into a preheated waffle iron. Don't worry, the cheese won't stick when it begins to brown!).
Step 4: Insert Pizza in Waffle Iron
Place the folded pizza pockets in a preheated waffle iron and close the iron. This may prove a little difficult at first, but as the pizza warms up and softens, the iron should close further and further.
For the record, if you happen to have a very large waffle iron or very small slices of pizza, you can skip steps 1 through 3 and simply combine two slices face-to-face before waffling. Our slices did not fit into the waffler whole, hence the pocket approach.
Step 5: ??????
Step 6: Profit
About five minutes later you should be able to open up that waffle iron. If it sticks at all when opening, close it back and let it keep cooking. These pizza pockets will come quietly when they're good and ready.
Now, you may think that those oozing rivulets of cheese coming in direct contact with the hot metal are a recipe for acrid, burn disaster. You might think this, but you'd be wrong.
For you see, those oozing cheese rivulets are actually the best part of the whole affair.
Now answer this quick: What's the best part of those dishes? I'm guessing at least half of you exclaimed "the crispy burnt cheese bits around the edges! Because, well, they are the best part. Crispy, nutty, salty, and packed with flavor, when the pizza-waffle is done cooking, that cheese should lift itself easily from the waffle iron, exposing those crispy edges.
Ok, I lied a little bit. The best part is when you bite into one of those crispy edges and it comes away, pulling a trail of soft, gooey, melted mozzarella behind it.
No, really, the best best part is sharing these little bites with your friends and coworkers. Or keeping them all for yourself, if that's how you roll.
Next task: Come up with a good name for them. We were bouncing back and forth between Pizzaffle (which sounds like "awful") or Wafizza, which sounds like a minor character in a Harry Potter novel. Any better suggestions?
About the author: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is the Chief Creative Officer of Serious Eats where he likes to explore the science of home cooking in his weekly column The Food Lab. You can follow him at @thefoodlab on Twitter, or at The Food Lab on Facebook.