Well you can hardly bypass this one when making a Belgo-Franco-Anglo blog. So here it is.
I took advantage of my Christmas holiday in Belgium to ask my mom to make these together. I have a fond memory of lazy afternoons when my mom would make these and I would eat them as soon as they came out of the waffle iron. In my opinion that should be the only way of eating waffles.
Waffles in Belgium come in all sorts and shapes: round, square, plain, sturdy, soft, crunchy, thin, thick, card board like, with pearl sugar, with cinnamon (like these), drenched in maple syrup (in Liege only during carnival), filled with fruits, topped with whipped cream and fruit, topped with chocolate and whipped cream, etc… Each region has its specialty and I am alas not knowledgeable in all of them to start citing.
Anyways these are the ones I prefer. They are just like the ones you can find almost anywhere in Belgium. Especially in metro and train stations, where you can always find a waffle vendor making these fresh and selling them hot out of the waffle iron. They are made with yeasty dough filled with pearl sugar that caramelizes in the waffle iron. My mother has a little books of waffles (as the picture shows), which I love for its vintage pictures and spots, and this is where the recipe comes from.
This isn’t the easiest thing to make and the first hurdle is that you need a waffle iron. A good one is really worth the investment, as my mom has found out. Her loyal one has passed away after several decades of sturdy service. Since then she has a hard time finding a worthy replacement.
The other hurdles if you are living in the UK, is to find pearl sugar and baker’s fresh yeast. I have found that Ocado does provide them both. But have failed to find it in any other supermarket.
Ingredients (makes a lot of waffles, don’t hesitate to half the recipe):
- 750g of flour
- 250g of milk
- 50g of caster sugar
- 50g of fresh baker’s yeast
- 1 pinch of salt
- 300g of molten butter
- 500g of pearl sugar
- 20 g cinnamon
- 1 tsp of honey
- 150g of water
- Mix the flour in a big bowl together with the sugar and salt and form a well in the middle
- Heat the milk until tepid/warm and mix in the yeast
- Mix in the milk little by little in the flour mix until you have a silky dough. If not enough milk only add water until the dough is not too dry anymore. If you have, use a free standing mixer for this.
- Cover and leave to rise for 45 minutes in a warm place
- Incorporate the rest of the ingredients into the dough. Mix well. Cover and leave to rise in warm place for 45 min.
- Make little dough balls that will fit in your waffle iron and leave to rise again briefly.
- Cook in the waffle iron until golden and the pearl sugar is caramelizing.