If cooking is indeed the salt of a culture or even the soul of a country, then, in Belgium, we are definitely in seventh heaven. Its recipes pay tribute to the flavours of its high-quality ingredients that give us a true sense of pride.
Amongst the numerous specialties of Belgian and more particularly Brussels cuisine, let’s unravel the waffle.
Ah, the inviting aroma of freshly prepared Brussels waffles: at the same time, warm, light, deliciously crusty outside and soft inside. They differ from wafers or other waffles that you enjoy cold. For the Brussels waffle, you sit down at a table, you generously sprinkle icing sugar all over it (the waffle, not the table obviously) and if you prefer it rich, you can top it with whipped cream which will slowly melt. We told you, it is bliss.
When you ask for a waffle, be sure to specify “Brussels waffle” because in Belgium waffles come in all sorts and sizes in the various regions of the country, each having its own speciality, mostly cold versions of it. Amongst other famous waffles, there is the Liège waffle with chunks of sugar, which caramelize rendering a slightly sticky outside. This waffle is also preferably eaten lukewarm.
Brussels waffles (yield: approximately 30 waffles)
- 1/2 kg all-purpose flour
- 5 eggs, separated
- 3/4 l milk
- 250 g butter, melted and cooled to lukewarm
- 32.5 g active dry yeast (fresh – available from your baker or in your local supermarket)
- a pinch of salt
- 2 packets vanilla sugar
Set aside a small bowl of milk.
In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, flour, rest of milk, melted butter, vanilla sugar and salt.
Heat the small bowl of milk (lukewarm) and dissolve yeast. Stir well. Let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes. Stir the yeast mixture into the batter.
Beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks, gently fold into the batter.
Cover the large bowl with a clean cloth and let rise the batter in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
Bake your waffles using a waffle iron with large holes. Preheat the waffle iron. Brush it with oil. Spoon a small ladle of batter inside the edges of the iron. Close the lid and turn the waffle iron over in order for the batter to spread evenly in both parts.
Bake until steam no longer escapes from the iron. After a few minutes, the waffle is golden brown. Serve immediately.
Granny’s wafers (cold version)
- 800 g all-purpose flour
- 500 g butter, melted
- 600 g white sugar
- 7 eggs
- a pinch of salt
- 3 packets vanilla sugar
Stir in progressively and whisk all ingredients energetically with electric mixer (dough hooks).
Let the batter rest in a warm place for about 1 hour.
Bake small portions in a waffle iron with small or medium-sized holes.
These waffles are meant to be served cold and crispy. You can keep them for a month in a tightly sealed box.