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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Waffles, My Liege

"Original" Waffle, topped with kiwi, Waffle Brothers, Denver, CO. 

I'll admit to being mystified by the automatic association of butter and maple syrup with waffles. Even when I broke out the moffle, the pounded glutinous rice cake mochi cooked in a waffle iron, people tended to ask for butter and syrup. Turns out that I am not alone in being perplexed. Is this hand in hand with the idea that waffles are no more than reshaped flapjacks? Don't people understand the flexibility of the waffle iron?

Speaking with one of the proprietors of Denver's Waffle Brothers, I learned that they had revise their menu to prominently explain that their "original" waffles didn't require the butter and syrup treatment. And they had to come up with an alternate recipe which was meant to be doctored up with maply liquid.

The Waffle Brothers premise was simple - bringing in the Liege waffles from Belgium to the American masses (albeit modified slightly). The Liege wafels are notable for being made with a thicker, dough-like batter, yeast risen, on a deeper iron, and studded with pearl sugar - a large crystal form that doesn't dissolve in the wet dough, and this, caramelizes on the hot iron, resulting in a waffle is coated with patches of candy and burnt sugar. It's truly an addictive combination of flavors and texture - ruined by dousing the confection/bread/cake with liquid. Best enjoyed with a simple, non soaking topping, like fresh fruit, and some whipped cream, it's excellent walking food.

As I've been on the search for a domestic source of pearl sugar, I inquired where they got theirs from. He said they order it by the ton.

From Belgium.

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