Prep the pumpkin: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Remove the stem and cut the pumpkin into quarters with a serrated knife. Scrape the seeds and pulp into a strainer; set aside.
Roast the pumpkin: Put the wedges on a baking sheet and cover tightly with foil; bake until the flesh is tender, about 1 hour, 30 minutes. Remove the foil and let cool.
Puree and strain: Scoop the pumpkin flesh into a food processor and puree until smooth. Transfer to a sieve set over a bowl to drain the excess liquid, about 1 hour.
Toast the seeds: Meanwhile, reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees F. Rinse the seeds under cold water and discard the stringy pulp; blot dry. Spread the seeds in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and bake about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally (this helps dry them out).
Make the topping: Transfer 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds to a bowl and add the almonds, sunflower seeds and syrup. Spread on 2 baking sheets lined with silicone mats or parchment paper and season with salt; bake until just golden, stirring several times, about 20 minutes. Cool completely on the pan, then toss with the dried cherries.
Make the batter: Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pumpkin-pie spice in a bowl. Whisk the sugar and egg yolks in a separate bowl, then whisk in 1 1/2 cups strained pumpkin puree, the yogurt and milk. Whisk in the melted butter. Pour the pumpkin mixture into the flour mixture and stir with a rubber spatula until just combined (it will be lumpy). Beat the egg whites with a mixer until stiff, then gently fold into the batter.
Cook the waffles: Preheat a waffle iron and grease it if it's not nonstick. Spoon in the batter and cook until golden brown. Keep warm in a 250 degree F oven (directly on the rack) until serving. Serve with whipped cream, if desired, and sprinkle with the topping.
Tools You May Need
Photographs by Jim Franco
Recipe courtesy Claire Robinson for Food Network Magazine
Tools You May Need
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