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Saturday, 5 September 2015

Belgian Liege Waffles


Recently I have moved jobs...well schools...and as my leaving present from my old school I requested a waffle iron.  I fondly remember being in Spain during my early teens and on my walk down to the Yacht Club I always used to pass a lady on the road side cooking fresh waffles.  Often I would treat myself to one and have is smothered in chocolate sauce and 'present' whipped cream.  They were amazing!  Soft on the inside, slightly chewy and they always have a crisp outside.  Amazing!  The only waffles I had ever really known were those potato ones you got from the freezer.  Later on I discovered that you could make what I call 'American Style' waffles that consisted basically of a pancake mix baked in a waffle iron.  I have tired these and they are much easier to make than the Belgian version above however, in my opinion, they go soggy quickly and just don't really have much to them.

Researching around the net I came across a number of recipes for 'Belgian Liege' waffles.  The pictures I looked at reminded me of the waffles from Spain.  Basically the dough you create is the same as brioche - that being eggs and butter.  The only issue I had was sourcing pearl sugar.   This type of sugar is basically little nibs that you mix in to the dough before cooking and as they cook they melt, caramelise and give the waffles their perfect crunch.  A number of websites suggested using sugar cubes that you whack with a rolling pin to create bits.  I tried this, and although not perfect, it seems to work.  The recipe below uses sugar cubes but if you can get them  feel free to use pearl sugar.

Of course you need a waffle iron to bake these.  I have a fancy electric one (thank you old school) but you could get a cheaper cast iron one that you hold over a heat sauce to bake.  They only take about 2 minutes to cook and I have found that you can keep the dough in the fridge for a few days to bake as needed OR you can part bake in the waffle iron and then freeze, later to reheat and finish off in a toaster.  The recipe makes about 12 waffles.



Belgian Liege Waffles
makes about 12 depending on size

Recipe found at http://www.thekitchn.com/the-best-waffle-youll-ever-eat-90629
and slightly adapted by me

6 tbsp warm milk (hand hot)
1/2 tsp granulated sugar 

2 tsp instant yeast 
1 1/2 230 grams plain flour, sifted  
2 tsp vanilla extract 
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg 
1 egg yolk
113g unsalted butter, room temp

140 pearl sugar (or same amount of crushed up white sugar cubes)

You will need a waffle iron.

If using sugar cubes, measure out and place in a bag (best to double bag it).  Whack with a rolling pin to break up to bits.  Try not to over do it otherwise you will end up with dust.  Set aside.



Mix the yeast with the warm milk, add sugar and leave for 5 minutes until it activates.  You should see bubbles forming at the top.


In a mixer, fitter with the paddle (not bread hook) add the flour and salt.  In a small bowl mix the egg and extra yolk together with the vanilla extract.  

 


Add the egg mixture to the flour, followed by the yeast.  Mix on medium speed until fully combined.  You will have a sticky mixture. Set aside in a warm place, covered with a cloth to rise for 30 minutes.

 

 

Once rested, place back in the mixer, with the paddle again, and add the butter bit by bit.  You can add quite quickly.  Keep mixing and it will all combine.

Scrape the sides of the bowl if necessary.  Then add the sugar bits and mix.  

 




















Your dough is now ready to bake into waffles.  You can keep in the fridge, covered, for 2 days if necessary.

To bake... heat your waffle iron. Mine only has one setting -  on!


Place large tablespoon full of mixture on to the plates, no need to press down.  Just lower the lid and allow to bake.



Check after 1.30min...  I cooked for 2 minutes and they seemed perfect.  You want a dark brown outside.  Remember the sugar will start to melt and may smoke. 



I use a meat fork to remove them, you don't want to touch the outside as it may be very hot with molten sugar.  Slide the fork in the side and lift out.  Allow to cool slightly before covering in your chosen topping.  

For me... its what I had in Spain... chocolate sauce and pretend whipped cream!  

Enjoy!