Gaufres de Liège: My take on a waffle from Liège, Belgium

Photo by Scotty Irani.

by Scotty Irani
Food Columnist

Oh, the Belgian Waffle. The American version of the Belgian Waffle that is; light and airy, deep waffle squares, easily fillable with melting butter, syrup, whipped cream and fruit.

What we here in the good old USA consider a “Belgian Waffle,” the people of Belgium call the Brussels Waffle. Also, not surprisingly and along the lines of the Chinese fortune cookie, our Belgian Waffle wasn’t created in Belgium, but here. More specifically in New York during New York’s 1964 World’s Fair. Get all that, kids? 

This variety of waffle is from Belgium. A waffle hailing from the city of Liège which has a rich yeast leavened brioche dough with chunks of pearlized sugar mixed in. 

Now in keeping with American tradition and my Scotty ways, I’m taking a classic and modifying it for our use. I keep the rich brioche dough, add a little In The Kitchen With Scotty “More Than Pumpkin Pie” spice blend, and instead of pearlized sugar, I incorporate turbinado sugar. The sugar melts in and caramelizes while cooking, and it’s amazing. 

 My version is also a two-part process (mixes). I know this may seem daunting to some of you who, “Want waffle now!” Trust me, it’s not that crazy of a process, and the wait is well worth the effort. 

Ingredients: Approximately 6-8 waffles

First Mix Ingredients: 

2 (.25 ounce) packages Dry Yeast 
1/4 cup warm water
1 cup unbleached All-Purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 large egg, beaten
1/3 cup warm whole milk 

Ready for Brunch!

Second Mix Ingredients: 

9 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temp
6 tablespoons flour (same kind as First Mix) 
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon baking powder 
2 teaspoons In The Kitchen with Scotty “More Than Pumpkin Pie” spice (or you can use plain old boring cinnamon). 
Kosher salt, just a pinch
1/2 cup, full Turbinado Sugar

Make: Crunchy Turbinado Sugar ready to be folded into the dough

First Mix Directions:

1. In a small bowl add the warm water, then the tablespoon of sugar. Sprinkle the yeast on top and swirl in. Set aside and let the yeast “bloom” and get frothy. Add 1 tablespoon of flour from the one cup of flour and mix in. Set this aside again to rise and get pillowy. A warm area of the kitchen helps. Once the dough rises, add the 1/3 cup of warm milk and beaten egg to the mixture. Combine well. 

2. In another mixing bowl add the remaining flour (the one cup minus the one tablespoon) and make a well in the center; make the flour look like a volcano. Pour the egg/yeast mixture a little at a time into the center of the flour. Quickly mix in the sides of the volcano, while gradually adding a little more of the egg mixture. Keep doing this until all the egg mixture is poured in and the flour volcano had collapsed, and you’ve made a wet sticky dough. Cover with a kitchen towel and set aside to rise.

Second Mix Directions:

1. Begin heating your waffle iron according to the manufacturer’s directions. In yet another bowl, and with a wooden spoon or whisk, start creaming the butter. Add in the ITK Pumpkin Pie Spice, salt and vanilla. Mix thoroughly until creamed and combined.

2. After the first mix has risen and doubled in size, add in the turbinado sugar. Fold in NS combine. Next, pour/scrape the sticky dough into the Second Mix bowl, and with your clean little hands mix and squish the butter mixture gently into the dough mixture. Do this thoroughly.
No, do not lick your finger. 

3. Scoop or spoon out golf ball size to plum size balls of the sticky dough and place in the center of your prepared waffle iron. Smooth out as best as you can (imperfect shape and waffling are desirable on this) and close the lid. Let the waffle bake around 3-5 minutes depending on how hot your iron gets. You’re looking for golden color and a vanilla caramelized aroma coming up from the steam. 

4. Unlike the American dry, airy waffle versions, this will be a softer bread-like version coming off the iron. As it cools the caramelization from the crunchy turbinado sugar “candies” the waffle and it becomes a little firmer. The bite and flavor are divine. 

5. Top your Liège Waffles with a sprinkle of powdered sugar and fresh fruit, or a good coating of Nutella, or fresh fruit coulis/puree.
Just don’t do syrup. Please, please save the pancake syrup for your “Eggos.” The waffles you just made took so much incredible care. They deserve much better.

Way to go waffle baker. You’ve done well!

Copyright The Gayly. 8/24/2018 @12:27 p.m. CST.