Tucked away in the picturesque streets of Lille you will find the green and gilt facade of Meert – a shop surely descended from heaven. Opened by ice-cream maker and chocolatier Delcourt in 1761, the shop became a Lille institution from 1849 with the arrival of Mr Meert and his specialty Meert Waffles.
Frequented over the years by the likes of King Leopold I and Charles De Gaulle, Meert hand crafts many delectable treats but are most well known for the oblong shaped waffle filled with a Madagascan vanilla bean buttercream. The recipe is a highly guarded secret and although a version of the recipe was recently published in a recipe book by Meert, impressions are that the recipe does not quite do the waffle justice (perhaps they are not giving all their secrets away!).
When choosing a dish to bring to you today, I could not go past the Lille Waffle (or a version of it anyway). The waffle recipe comes indirectly from a Meert cookbook via http://www.sucrissime.com while the filling recipe is from another source as the Meert recipe appeared a little dubious from all reports! Anyway, dust off the waffle make and have a go at home.
Note: Meert Waffles are made using a ‘northern’ style waffle iron. That is, one that does not have the very deep square grooves associated with the more robust Belgian Waffles. Known as a ‘Gaufrette Iron’, these waffle irons are available to buy online however you can also just use a standard waffle iron or maker like I did.
For the dough:
- 250g flour
- 1 pinch of salt
- 40g sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cube (or 1 sachet) of yeast diluted in a little warm milk
- 125g butter at room temperature
For the filling:
- 200g brown sugar
- 200g unsalted butter at room temperature
- Seeds of a vanilla bean or vanilla extract
How to do it
Well, the recipe asks you to place mix all the dough ingredients (except the butter) in a mixing bowl or stand mixer, before adding the butter, piece by piece. I just threw all my dough ingredients in together and turned the mixer (equipped with a dough hook) on. Mix on a low speed for 10 minutes or until the dough becomes stretchy and elastic.
Place the dough in a clean bowl and stand, covered with a tea towel, in a warm place for 2.5 to 3.0 hours (or until doubled in size.)
While the dough is rising, place all your filling ingredients into the mixer and beat for 5-7 minutes, scraping the sides down occasionally, until the mixture is pale and creamy. Set aside until needed.
When the dough has doubled, portion the dough into about 16-18 pieces and shape as needed for your waffle maker. Mine was a heart shape so I roughly shaped my dough into triangles so it would fill the waffle plate when I squashed the top plate down.
Cook for a minute or two until cooked through.
When cooked place on a rack to cool before splitting the waffles with a knife and spreading the inside with the vanilla filling. Sandwich the two halves together and trim the edges of the waffle with a knife or biscuit cutter to neaten (if desired).
Share some gaufres sweetness with friends and family, or sit back and enjoy yourself. If you are like me and wont be able to pop down to Meert this weekend, have a go at these instead!