Belgian Waffles, so easy to make

I bought a decent waffle maker, my 3rd and I hope the last. The other 2 were cheap and delivered a poor waffle, a sort of a crime towards waffles.

I’m quite happy with my 1st trial and I think I can even get even better crispier crust next time while still keeping a tender and spongy texture from inside. It’s a matter of using a different temperature/timing while the waffles are baking/cooking. I’m getting to know my new gadget and I’m sure it won’t fail me.

There are as many recipes as there are many Belgian waffles. However, It all revolves around the same main ingredients except that some folks use yeast and others use baking powder (I’m still referring to Belgian waffles which are more like a thick crêpe dough and not Liege waffle which definitely need yeast because it’s more like a brioche dough).

Controlling the temperature to get the right texture and the right colours depends on how well your waffle maker

I can tell that the recipe I used recently is satisfying. It’s taken from 750g.com which is in French, it’s home bakers’ “friendly” and the videos are short and straight forwards.

The video can be visualized here although it’s dead easy to make Belgian waffles or Fair’s waffles without assistance.


Ingredients
Makes 12 square waffles (or more)
Prep: 10 min – Cooking : about 2 min for each 2 waffles

  • 250g of all purpose flour, sifted
  • 10g of baking powder
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract or any flavour you fancy
  • 50g of caster sugar 
  • 80g of melted butter, cooled
  • 35 cl of milk
  • 4 eggs (separate whites from yolks)
  • 1 pinch of salt

For serving

  • Icing sugar, Nutella, jam, chocolate sauce, Fruits coulis….

Preparation

First, plug the waffle maker and heat it on.

Then beat the egg whites with 1/2 of the sugar until you get a sort of meringue but do not beat it to dry and crumble. Set aside.

In a large bowl, sift all dry ingredients. Make a well and then add the egg yolks. Whisk slowly bringing the flour towards the center. Start adding the liquid ingredients gradually while whisking until all amalgamate.

Fold in the white meringue gradually. The 1st addition  should be stirred into the previous mixture to liquify it and then the other additions should be made carefully by using a rubber spatula (just like you would do for a macaron batter).

Head to your waffle maker which should be greased first (follow the instructions on how to use your machine and how to cook the waffles).

Do not put too much batter in, that way they won’t overflow

Scoop in the batter and close. I used level 3.5 and I think I should go ahead and use level 4 next time.

It’s important to put them on a grill after taking them out of the waffle maker, otherwise the steam will damage them

Serve right after taking them out of the waffle maker with any of your favourite sinful additions. Nutella is usually my favourite but I stick to icing sugar these days because I have to keep the baby in my belly healthy.


Pistachio paste/powder

Pistachio paste/powder is one of these basic recipes you can make ahead and use as per inspiration.
It can be used to stuff pastry. It can be added to shortbread or shortcrust dough. It can be used in pistachio ice cream, It can used to make a pistachio cream just like you would make a frangipane (which is why I am making it). And what about making pistachio chocolate filling for truffles and chocolate squares?
I made my pistachio paste that would have become one if I had a proper food processor. But I’m just using one of those small 5 in 1 braun type of grinders, so I didn’t dare blending the pistachios for more than 7 min from start to finish, pausing in between.  
That said, I’m content with the semi-paste texture because it wouldn’t disturb the final project I have in mind.
I have used a recipe that I found pretty much everywhere in the blogosphere and which people claim it belongs to Pierre Hermé. Altought I have 4 cookbooks of him, I just can’t find it anywhere in them….
So this recipe to make a pistachio paste/powder, depending when you are going to stop grinding and kneading.
Ingredients 
For about 2 cups
Prep : 30 min
  • 120 g of skinless pistachios (I boiled them, removed the skin with a towel and torrefied them)
  • 60 g of sugar powder  
  • 30 g of almond powder (optional but helps in the texture)
  • About 2 tbsp of water or 1 tbsp of neutral oil
Preparation
Grind the pistachios in a food processor for about 4 minutes, until you get a fine powder. Add the sugar and grind again for few more minutes.
To make pistachio paste, add water to mixture while still grinding, one tablespoon at a time, until the paste has the consistency of an almond paste or a marzipan.  Knead with the palm of your hands, shape it into a ball or a sort of sausage.
Store in a plastic bag and freeze until you need it.

Tomates confites – Roast tomatoes

“Tomates confites” are one of the must-have in your fridge. You can add them into your sandwiches, in pizzas, in sauces, in savoury pies. There are many ways to eat them. They’re dead easy to make.
I’m almost sure tomates confites means “Roast tomatoes” in English, but please do let me know if this isn’t the case.
Sometimes, I add halved onions, whole garlic cloves to the tomatoes and I use them in other recipes.. There is one picture with onions so this is why it’s there.

These where baby-plum kind of tomatoes, with a sweet taste

Ingredients
for a medium size jar
Prep: 10 min – Cooking: about 2h
  • 500g of ripe tomatoes, preferably plum variety
  • 3 to 6 cloves of garlic
  • 3 to 4 tbsp of olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp of sugar (optional)
  • Fresh thyme sprigs
Preparation  
Halve the tomatoes and place them onto 1 large baking tray, preferably covered with aluminium foil. If you are using big plum tomatoes, discard the seeds. If you are using smaller tomatoes (cherry tomatoes), you may skip this part.
Crush 3 to 4 garlic cloves and spread around, add the herbs (I use fresh thyme when I can), season and finish with a drizzle of olive oil. If you think your tomatoes are not sweet, sprinkle about 1 tsp of sugar. Massage the tomatoes to spread the oil and seasoning evenly.
Roast at medium high temperature (160 degrees C) for 20 min then continue on 120 degrees C for about 2 hrs or until the tomatoes look all wrinkled, flattened and almost dried. This will depend on the size of the tomatoes you are using. Sometimes, I just extend the cooking time by keeping them in a warm oven but turned off.
Cherry tomatoes receiving the same treatment
In a sterilized jar, place the tomatoes, discard the herb sprigs; add fresh ones if you like. Cover the tomatoes with olive oil (that you will use for salads and other things). Chill for up to 10 days.
Tomates semi-confites (Semi-Roast tomatoes), half-way, cooking them more gives you tomates confites (Roast tomatoes)
Give it a try! If you are a tomato lover, you will like it. This recipe is very handy if you have a batch of tomatoes that will be spoilt if not consumed. It’s a nice way to grant them a longer life.

Recette de base des gnocchis

Les gnocchis (prononcez « nyoki ») sont des pâtes italiennes toujours fraiches. C’est une sorte de dumplings faits de pommes de terre, de farine et de jaune d’œuf. Accessoirement, vous pouvez y incorporer des herbes ou des épinards par exemple.
Gnocchis sans la forme ronde (j’avais omis de le faire pour les premiers)
Je trouve que les gnocchis fondent dans la bouche plus que les autres types de pâtes. Leur texture moelleuse les classes incontestablement dans la rubrique du « comfort food ». Elles sont faites de pommes de terre et pour moi, c’est assez pour les adorer.
Je vous conseille de ne pas trop malmener la pomme de terre lorsque vous ramasser la pâte à gnocchis.
Les gnocchis se conservent pendant une semaine au congélateur (farinez le plat et disposez-les en une seule couche).
Ingrédients
Pour 2 personnes
Prépa : 15 min/ Cuisson : 3 min
– 250g de pommes de terre bouillies, séchées, réduites en purée
– 60g de farine tout usage (environ)
– 1 jaune d’œuf (optionnel)
– 1 c.à.c de sel
– Herbes (optionnel).

La méthode
Sur le plan de travail, déposez la purée et faites un puits au centre. Incorporez le sel et le jaune d’œuf. Mélangez avec les doigts ou une fourchette.
Incorporez la farine progressivement, jusqu’à ce que le mélange soit homogène et pas collant.
Farinez un grand plateau ainsi que vos mains. Façonnez des saucisses longues de 2 cm de diamètre. 
Commencez par façonner les gnocchis en découpant des bouts de 2 cm.
Prenez chaque gnocco (singulier de gnocchis) résultant et le retourner avec votre index contre 
l’intérieur d’une fourchette (ou si vous en avez un, une spéciale rigagnocchi) ou même une gratteuse. Cela permettra aux gnocchis de prendre une forme concave avec des crêtes à l’extérieur. Alignez-les sur le plateau fariné et laissez crouter pour quelques heures.
Faites cuire les gnocchis dans de l’eau légèrement bouillante salée. Ils sont près après 3 minutes environ, dès qu’ils remontent à la surface. Egouttez-les et passez-les dans votre sauce favorite.
Note : la qualité de la pomme de terre définira la quantité de farine dont vous aurez besoin. Il faut utiliser des pommes de terres farinées et non fermes. Ensuite, quand vous les mettez à bouillir, gardez la peau.
Enfin, une fois les pommes de terre cuites, découpez-les et laissez-les sécher pendant une ½ heure environ, cela permettra de réduire la quantité d’eau et donc aidera dans la composition de la pâte.
Je vous propose de regarder cette vidéo ou la fameuse Niccoletta explique bien la méthode du façonnage.