Wednesday, March 25, 2009
gaufre de liege
Every street fair I've been to in Switzerland and beyond serves up Gaufre de Liege, the dense, chewy, yeasty Belgium waffles (not the light and crispy ones), served with a sprinkling of powdered sugar and sometimes a side of ice cream. I can't resist them and am never satisfied with just one (especially when I have to share with my two boys).
So I hunted down some recipes and settled the one that appeared most frequently, although it seemed absolutely ridiculous - 2 packages of yeast for only 1 3/4 cup flour??? I saw version of this recipe with same yeast with only 1 cup??? Plus, the dough is supposed to be more substantial than batter, like a brioche dough that you can form into loose balls. The proportions of liquid to flour did not add up. I followed the recipe as is and the resulting batter was much too loose to form into anything but a puddle and it was so yeasty, it tasted like beer. I was very worried. All signs pointed to no.
But amazingly, they were practically perfect in every way. Dense and light at the same time and only a hint of yeastiness just like the commercial versions. The secret is the pearl sugar (Hagelzucker in Switzerland) mixed into the batter at the last minute - it caramelizes against the waffle iron, creating its own sticky syrup.
Thanks Megan for letting me use your waffle iron!
The recipe below was originally published in The Boston Globe.
2 packages active dry yeast
1 1/3 cups warm milk
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 3/4 cups flour
1 egg, beaten
1. In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the milk. Add 1 tablespoon of flour and the sugar; set aside for 5 minutes or until foamy.
2. Sift the remaining flour into a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center and add the yeast mixture and egg. With a wooden spoon, stir well to make a smooth batter.
3. Cover and set aside in a warm place for 2 hours to rise until the batter has doubled or tripled in bulk.
9 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3/4 cup pearl sugar
1. In a bowl with a wooden spoon, work the butter, flour, vanilla, baking powder, salt, granulated sugar, and pearl sugar into a paste.
2. Work the butter mixture into the sponge mixture until well combined. Cover, and set aside for 10 minutes.
3. With floured hands, shape the dough into 10 balls. Flatten one slightly and dust it with flour. (If the dough seems too wet to handle, that's OK. Pour the batter directly onto the waffle iron.)
4. Heat a waffle iron until medium hot. Place a flattened ball in the middle of the iron; close the top. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes. If the waffle iron is too hot, the sugar will burn. Some electric waffle irons bake on such a high temperature, it may be necessary to unplug the waffle iron intermittently to cool it off. Continue baking until all the waffles are done.
My note: despite its perfectness, I would be curious to see what happens with only one packet of yeast and a bit more flour.
Posted at 10:31 PM