The history of waffles can be traced back to Belgium and then to the Netherlands. The Liege waffle was a pastry cooked in a mould made up of two crossed faces and was invented by the Prince of Liege's cook in the 18th century. He attempted to cook a brioche in a waffle iron with granulated sugar mixed with sweet pastry. It gave off a vanilla smell, the prince loved it and the Liege waffle became a culinary tradition in the region before spreading throughout the whole of Belgium.
In the Netherlands, waffles were first made with stale bread and spices. This recipe evolved into the famous echte gondse sirowafles, a cheese waffle made with Gouda. Currently in Holland, the most common waffle is thin, cold, flat and spread with syrup, cinnamon and caramel (stroopwafels). In the UK, the best known type are what we call American waffles.
Time to taste
There are many different types of waffles. The best known ones are crispy waffles sold by street vendors, made with a milk and flour base and sprinkled with icing sugar or other sweet toppings (caramel, chocolate, syrup, fruit, whipped cream etc.)
Dare to be different and try delicious savoury waffles, which are well worth trying and can be topped with savoury ingredients a bit like savoury crepes, served with green salad.
Ham and cream cheese waffles (makes 8)
125g cream cheese
50g soft butter
2tbsp chopped herbs
125g chopped ham
Salt and pepper
125g grated or chopped Gouda
1 tbsp chopped parsley
Work the butter into a cream, add the eggs one by one, whisk and then add the flour, milk and salt. Add the ham, Gouda and finely chopped parsley. Butter the waffle mould with melted butter, pour 2 tablespoonfuls of the batter into the middle of the mould and cook at 100°C (Gas Mark 3). Keep warm.
Mix the cream cheese, cream, herbs, a few drops of lemon juice, salt, pepper and season further if required. Serve the waffle hot with the cream cheese sauce.