Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Serving Up {Breakfast}: Liege Waffle (Belgium)

This past summer I was in Salt Lake City and I had two different people tell me that I simply had to try an eatery called Bruges Waffles & Frites.  I was excited to try it out for the Belgian Frites (fries) because years ago I had eaten at a Frites Stand in NYC and I still remember the "perfected" fries served with an array of unique dipping sauces.

During my trip I had reason to be downtown one afternoon and so I decided to stop in and get my fry fix.  When I walked in I saw the menu on the wall featuring the Liege Waffle adorned in a number of mouthwatering ways and I new that what I really neede to try was the waffle (I did try the fries as well but they kind of paled by comparison).  I ordered my Leige waffle with vanilla bean ice cream and fresh strawberries and it was AMAZING!

My understanding of the Liege Waffle is that it is the street waffle of Belgium.  The dough is actually a yeast dough with pieces of pearl sugar added right before cooking, so the end product is a very dense, delicious waffle with little pockets of caramelized sugar throughout.  I knew as I left Bruges that afternoon that I needed to find a recipe to recreate that waffle at home.  As I searched online there were a lot of people who felt the same way that I did.  I decided to try this recipe and it turned out delicious.  My only tweak to it was to omit the cinnamon that the original recipe called for, and I was pretty generous with the vanilla (which was the pure vanilla in this case - no imitation flavor for this recipe).

A couple of helpful tips:
* You can coarsely crush sugar cubes in place of the pearl sugar, which totally worked fine, but I figure I will make these waffles enough to justify ordering the real stuff to have on hand. (here or here)
* You don't want to overcook this waffle, so play around with the setting on your waffle maker.  I found that I had to turn down the temperature on my waffle maker from what I usually use.  You want a light golden brown end product.
* This recipe makes a mess of the waffle iron - sorry!  I have read a tip online that a paste of corn starch and water is the perfect cleaning solution to remove the caramel remains.

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                          Bread Pudding


1 (1/4 ounce) package yeast
1/3 cup lukewarm water
1 1/2 Tbs. granulated white sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
2 cups flour
3 eggs
1 cup butter, melted
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup pearl sugar

Mix the yeast, water, sugar in a bowl and let it rest for 15 minutes. Place the flour and salt in a separate large mixing bowl, making a well in the center of the flour.  Pour the yeast mixture into the well and mix until blended on medium speed.  Add the eggs, one at a time, and melted butter slowly and then vanilla;  mix well after each addition to the batter.  The batter will be thick and VERY sticky.

Remove the bowl from the mixer and let the dough rest until it doubles in volume inside the bowl, about 1 hour.  Gently fold in the pearl sugar and let the dough rest for 15 more minutes. While the dough is resting, heat the waffle iron.

Spoon about a 2″ ball of dough into the center of the waffle iron. Waffles will take 3 to 5 minutes to bake (I use level 3).  Don't overbake!  Eat plain or topped with your favorite combination of ice cream and/or berries.

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