These traditional waffles are a street staple in their native Belgium. Unlike American waffles (which use baking powder), these have a little yeast in the batter. The result is a light and airy inside and a crisp outside. As to what to top your waffle with – the world is your oyster!
you will need a waffle iron (I use a sturdy cast-iron one that sits on the hob and which you flip over halfway through cooking)
In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, yeast and salt. Melt the butter in a saucepan. As soon as it has melted, pour in the milk and vanilla extract and allow it to warm for a couple of minutes. Don’t let it get too hot – dip your little finger in; it should feel nicely warm. Pour the liquid over the dry ingredients and whisk together to form a smooth batter.
Separate the eggs, one at a time, into two glasses. After separating each egg, slide the yolk into the batter and the white into a clean mixing bowl. (If you get any yolk in the white they will not whisk up properly, so doing them individually lessens the risk of ruining all three should one yolk split open.) Whisk the yolks into the batter so they are completely amalgamated.
Take a very clean whisk and whisk the egg whites to soft peaks. Using a large metal spoon, fold them gently through the batter mix, trying to keep as much air in as possible. Cover tightly with cling film and leave to prove at room temperature for an hour. You can also prove the batter overnight in the fridge, and then make fresh waffles as a fabulous treat for a weekend breakfast.
Lightly oil the inside of your waffle iron and heat it up as per the manufacturer’s instructions. Make sure it’s really hot (a little drop of water should sizzle away instantly on contact with the surface), then pour in a ladleful of batter – don’t overfill – and shut the lid. Leave to cook, again as per instructions: mine suggests a minute per side. Serve immediately with your favourite toppings.
Try one of the following toppings, or mix and match to suit your taste – the options are endless!
•Keep it classic with maple syrup, an old favourite.
•Dulce de leche is absolutely delicious spread on a hot waffle.
•All fruit – particularly summer berries, ripe sliced peaches and bananas.
•Melt over a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of ice cream.
•Add a sprinkle of pecans, walnuts or hazelnuts with syrup or caramel sauce.
•Drizzle over some Nutella – king of the chocolate spreads.
•Add a dollop of fresh fruit compote or jam.