Though my dad came to Canada from Belgium when he was a kid, I’m no expert on the Liège waffle, except to know what I like when I eat one. Liège waffles aren’t like other Belgian-style (thick? round?) waffles – they’re dense and chewy, yeast-raised, with a dough like brioche but studded with ultra-coarse pearl sugar that melts and caramelizes on the outside as they cook, creating a slightly crunchy exterior with plenty of crispy bits. (Depending on where you live, you can usually find it at gourmet shops and stores that carry more baking supplies than others. I got mine at Duchess Provisions in Edmonton, which is now closed, but it was only $3 – not pricey.)
I love working with rich dough like this – many recipes call for a cup of butter for this quantity of flour, but as I was running low I didn’t use as much, and it was just fine. Make sure you err on the side of tacky – it should be quite tacky, but not so sticky that you need to scrape it off your hands – and keep in mind that it will swell and smooth out as it rests. Don’t worry about timing it precisely – it needs a good couple hours to rise, and can hang out for longer or go into the fridge overnight – this version is streamlined and not at all high-maintenance. No one wants to stress out over waffles – even the Liège kind.
(Pardon the blue cast on these photos – I took them in the early morning, while I was packing for New York – I wanted to get the recipe up before I left, so I’m typing this in the airport! Enjoy!)