Having lived in Belgium from 1971 to 2006, I am partial to most things Belgian, such as my wife, chocolates, fine patisserie, chips, and wafels (amongst other things). I also enjoy baking, so the purchase of a wafel iron (wafelijzer) was hardly a great step for mankind.
Mind you, finding just the right wafel iron proved to be harder than I had imagined.
When we got married, we were given a wafel iron as a wedding-present, and in those days you had a choice of a Nova or a… well, there really wasn't anything else, at least not in the electrical ones. You could, of course, have the non-electrical ones, but then you also needed a Leuvense stoof with a special wafel-iron-holding lid, so that sort were rapidly becoming nothing more than quaint decorative items (heck we threw out several that we had managed to collect, but which were useless without that Leuvense stoof). Nowadays, however, the choice of electric wafel irons is overwhelming. Well, it's overwhelming in Belgium; here in Spain, we had the choice of a single model, which made only small wafels, with fixed plates and which was not reversible. In Belgium we must have had a couple of hundred candidates: removable plates, non-removable plates; duplicate as a croque monsieur machine; different patterns for the plates; different wattages; reversible or non-reversible; plastic covered or full metal; thermostatically controlled or fixed temperature…
In the end I plonked for a FriFri Wafelijzer WA106A 4x7, which seemed likely to produce a sort of happy-medium waffle of both the Brusselse and the Luikse variety and would allow me to install different shaped plates later on, should the urge arise. Strangely, it closely resembles the Nova we received 46 years ago as a wedding present. Good designs don't disappear…
I prepared the first wafels following a recipe from Laura Vitale. I had already tried this recipe with the Spanish wafel iron and wafels they are, and quite pleasant, too, but Belgian wafels…? No, nothing like either Brusselse or Luikse. They did, however, prove that the new iron worked, and worked well. The mission now, then, was to locate a decent recipe for real Belgian wafels of either the Brusselse or the Luikse variety.
Fortunately, when chatting to a neighbour in Belgium, Moniek, I mentioned the new wafel iron and asked if she knew any decent recipes. Moniek assured me that she had an excellent recipe for Brusselse wafels and that she would email it to me. This she did and, upon arriving back in Spain it was not long before Moniek's recipe was put to the test. I prepared just a half of the amount, and just as well! That was sufficient for no less than 17 wafels and they were as close to the genuine as-sold-in-the-Belgian-patisserie wafels as you can get with a non-professional iron. Of course, we could not eat anywhere near all of them at one sitting, so many were kept for the next day, and the next… Easy to store and re-heated in the wafel iron or toaster they are as good as or even better than freshly baked.
In case you don't know, wafels are eaten covered in butter and brown sugar, or with cream and fruit, or with chocolate sauce and… well, whatever.
Here's Moniek's recipe (I have halved her original quantities):
- 500g self-raising flour
- 0.5 litre sparkling water
- 125ml milk
- 2 eggs
- 50g brown sugar
- 2 packets vanilla sugar
- 250ml corn oil or groundnut oil (I used sunflower oil)
- pinch of salt (I did not use any)
Mix the beaten eggs with the flour, sugar, salt, and oil. Gradually add the milk and sparkling water. This results in a liquid dough that can be used immediately.
Now I have to find a really good recipe for Luikse wafels. Anyone?