January 17, 2011

Waffles and crepes/pancakes- Belgian style



For a long time I have been making waffles,..fast American way, with a baking powder.
They are good and easy to make, and my kids love them for breakfast or any other time of the day..
But I love to explore and discover new and different cooking styles. This time I have to give a credit to my daughter, for discovering a recipe for real Belgian style waffles, with a yeast.

One of my favorite movies, “In Bruges” (with superb performances by Colin Ferrell, Brendan Gleeson and Ralph Fiennes) depicts Belgian city of Bruges as an extremely boring place to visit. However, Belgian cuisine is anything but boring. Thus, in addition to the three kinds of waffle recipes, I couldn't resist not to add a recipe for savory buckwheat pancakes/crepes with melted Gryere cheese, typical of the Flemish part of Belgium. They can be enjoyed any time of the day. Just another great and healthy winter comfort food!


I made these yesterday with strawberry sauce and whipping cream



Belgian waffles
(Le Gaufres/Wafels)

1 pack of active dry yeast or 15 gr of fresh yeast
1 ½ cup of warm milk
2 large eggs
3 tbsp melted and cooled unsalted butter
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
2 cups of unbleached flour

(batter makes 8-10 regular size waffles)

In a small bowl dissolve yeast in a ¼ cup of warm milk. In a large bowl whisk egg yolks with a little bit of remaining milk and melted butter and oil. Add yeast mix, sugar and salt. Add flour to the batter and remaining milk, mix well. Fold in whipped egg whites and mix carefully not to brake the egg white foam.
Cover and let it rise for an hour or until double. Stir it down and heat a waffle iron. Transfer batter in a pitcher so you can pour it easier on the iron.
Serve it with vanilla sugar and whipping cream or melted chocolate or fresh fruits and cream.



Sugar Waffles from Liege
(Gaufres Liegeoises/Luikse Wafels)

Batter 1:
1 1/4 oz fresh cake yeast or 2 1/2 packages active dry yeast
¼ cup warm water
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1 large egg, beaten
1/3 cup milk, warm

Batter 2:
9 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 tbsp all purpose flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon (optional)
pinch of salt
1 tbsp granulated sugar
½ cup pearl sugar or ¾ cup crushed sugar cubes *


Prepare batter 1: In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in warm water with 1 tablespoon of flour and sugar. let stand for 5 minutes until foamy. Sift the remaining flour into a large mixing bowl. Make a well/hole in center and add the yeast mixture, egg, and milk. Mix with a wooden spoon to make a smooth batter. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place until the batter has doubled or tripled in volume.

Prepare batter 2: In a bowl mix butter, flour, salt, vanilla, baking powder, cinnamon, granulated sugar and pearl sugar into a paste.

With hands, work batter 2 into batter 1. Mix well and shape 10 balls that you will bake later in a waffle iron.

* Pearl sugar is a crunchy sugar used in Belgium for decoration. If you don't have a pearl sugar, crush some sugar cubes with a rolling pin in a smaller unequal sizes.



Flemish cognac-scented waffles
(Gaufres a la Flamande/ Vlaamse wafels)

½ oz fresh yeast or 1 package active dry yeast
2 cups warm milk
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/8 tsp salt
1 large egg
2 tbsp granulated sugar
3 large egg yolks
7 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled to lukewarm
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp cognac or brandy
3 large egg whites, beaten to soft peaks


In small bowl, dissolve the yeast in ¼ cup of the lukewarm milk, set aside until the mixture is bubbling and foamy. Sift the flour together with the salt into a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center and add the whole egg, the yeast mixture and the sugar. Mix well. Add the remaining milk and the egg yolks, one at a time, stirring with wooden spoon until smooth. Add the melted butter, vanilla, and cognac. Stir to combine. Fold the egg whites into the batter. Cover and let it rise for an hour.
Stir down and bake approximately ½ cup in a waffle iron.
Best served with sugar and whipped cream.






Buckwheat pancakes with Gruyere cheese
(Crepes au Sarrasin/Boekweitkoeken)

1 ½ package active dry yeast or ¼ oz fresh yeast
3 cups warm milk
1 ¼ cups buckwheat flour
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp salt
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups water
3-4 tbsp unsalted butter





Dissolve yeast with milk. In an other bowl mix buckwheat flour, all purpose flour and salt.
Pour the eggs, yeast mix and a remaining 2 cups of milk in a flour mix. Add water to obtain liquid thick batter. Let it rise covered in a warm place for an hour.

Bake pancakes over medium heat. After turning one side sprinkle it with 2 tbsp of Gryere. Turn down a heat so the cheese can melt slowly and pancake is brown on another side.
Season with a paprika and pepper and fold it in a half. Serve 2-3 per person with a salad.