In her new book, Dark Rye and Honey Cake, Regula Ysewijn explains the history of Belgian waffles and how to make crispy, buttery Lucken waffles for good luck in the new year.
I’m not confused about the traditions of Belgian baking culture. Waffles hold a special place in the heart of this country. In fact, the words “Belgium” and “waffle” are as synonymous as “France” and “baguette.”
But there’s more than one Belgian waffle, says Regula Isewijn, author of “Regula Isewijn.” Dark rye and honey cake: festive baking in the heart of the Low Countries, published in 2023. This cookbook focuses on her native Belgium and features 13 different waffle recipes. Because just like Belgian beers, each served in a unique glass, each Belgian waffle is different. The ingredients, shapes, textures, and even when and how they are eaten vary.
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“Belgium has more waffle recipes than any other country,” says Ysewijn, who doesn’t have a favorite waffle. “They all have importance. Just naming things that represent Belgium would be simplifying my food culture.”
Ethewin includes caramelized rounds in her cookbook. Liege Waffles were created in the 18th century. It is named after the Belgian city where it was born. It is now one of the most common waffles in Belgium and is the only waffle that is recognized as street food. She also shares a recipe for the 19th-century rectangular, crispy Flemish she-waffle, known today as the Brussels she-waffle. (This popular waffle is dusted with powdered sugar and topped with optional items such as whipped cream, strawberries, and chocolate syrup, but Eesewein says anything other than cream is considered an “abomination” in Belgian culinary tradition.) ”)
Over the centuries, several specialty waffles were also invented, including crumbly, thin, and buttery waffles. Lucken, was common among the aristocracy. Lucken contains more sugar than other types of waffles, and once sugar was expensive, Lucken was associated with celebrations and holidays, especially New Year’s Day. “Sugar makes the waffles crunchy, caramel-like, and lasts longer,” Ysewine says.
No one knows exactly when the first waffle was invented, but Eesewein said that in the Low Countries (which includes Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, and parts of northern France and western Germany) It states that the oldest known waffle iron is on display. Groot Museum Located in Bruges, Belgium, it dates from 1430 to 1450.
The first waffle recipes were recorded in books in the early 16th century in what is now the Flanders region of Belgium. Chef Philippe-Edouard Cordelier, known as the “father of Belgian cuisine,” wrote the first cookbook containing regional Belgian recipes. Het Sparzame Keukenbook 1861 included Flemish waffles and Brussels waffles. According to Ezewin, by this time there were tea rooms serving waffles in every Belgian town, and it was customary for families to go out to eat waffles on New Year’s Day. Fashionable waffle “palaces” (pop-up tearooms) also moved from town to town, hosting fairs offering waffles throughout the year.
Ironically, the United States coined the term “Belgian waffle” because of a branding mishap at the 1964 New York World’s Fair, Ethewin said. That’s where the Belgian Vermersch family had a waffle stand advertising “Bergem Brussels Waffles.” This is a marketing play on the words “Belgium” and “jewel”, as waffles were a culinary delicacy. However, people interpreted (and the media reported) the name as “Belgian waffle.”
For centuries, waffles have been associated with winter and revelry, appearing in every feast from. saint martin’s day From November 11th until Christmas, New Year’s Day, Carnival, and Easter. In the Middle Ages, in many parts of Western Europe, the new year began with Easter. However, with the introduction of the Gregorian calendar, the new year changed to January 1st, and with it the custom of baking waffles.
Nowadays, waffles are made and eaten all year round in Belgium, although some types, such as Lucken, are made specially at home for the New Year.derived from Dutch Geluk For good luck, lukken is made to bring good luck. Lucken originated in West Flanders, where there is a family tradition of baking Lucken on New Year’s Day.
“There’s a lot of measuring and rolling the dough, so baking these waffles used to be a family affair, and it’s still done today in many households in West Flanders.” Isewijn said, adding that almost every household in Belgium bakes waffles. electric waffle iron.
Despite its strong regional association with the New Year, in the 16th and 17th centuries lucken was eaten after various festive meals and served with sweet or spiced wines. I did. In 1890, Jules Destrooper, a baker from Lo, Belgium, began making a thinner version of rucken as “lukke” or “lukke” all year round. galette au beurre (Buttercrisp). He spread it throughout the United States, and in 1949 his son began exporting it to the United States, where it was equally well received. In 1969, the Death Troopersbutter waffles”, which is most similar to homemade rucken and is still widely sold today.
But is making it at home the best way to bring good luck in the new year? “Of course!” Ysewine shouted. ”[Because] As soon as a person makes it, it brings good luck. ”
Written by Regula Esevin
Makes 63 small waffles (3 per person)
250g (9oz) unsalted butter
2 medium eggs
475g (1 lb 1 oz) caster sugar (extra fine)
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons cognac or rum (or water if you don’t want to use alcohol)
500g (1 lb 2 oz) flour
Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat and let it cool.
Beat the eggs in a large bowl, add the sugar, salt and cognac, then add the melted butter and mix well. Sift in the flour and knead until it becomes a smooth dough. Transfer the dough to an airtight container and let it sit in a cool place (not the refrigerator) overnight.
The next day, measure out 20g (¾oz) of the dough nuggets and shape them into ping-pong-sized balls (2cm) or fat cigar shapes, depending on the shape you want to make.
Heat a shallow electric or stovetop waffle iron to very hot and fry each waffle for 2 to 3 minutes or until deep golden brown. Seconds mean the difference between gold and dark brown. There is no need to oil the iron as the fabric will not stick. Once the waffles have cooled, store them in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.
To make these waffles, you’ll need an ice cream cone, shallow electric or stovetop waffle iron, not a traditional waffle iron. There is no substitute for a waffle iron, so we recommend one with replaceable plates.
(Recipe is reproduced below)Dark rye and honey cake: festival baking from the heart of the Low Countries Regular Isevin Murdoch Books, 2023)
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