As is common practice around here, the blog will take some time off soon —although there is still one or another recipe in the pipeline before that. You know only too well that I’m unable to do without plotting a few wickednesses. Thus, I thought that it would be just fine to leave you with a double recipe in order to prevent the system from crashing due to all these massive, evil plans piling up in my head: a pile of fresh cooked real Belgian waffles topped with some dreamy Golden Syrup ice cream. I can hear no one complaining nor whining over there…
Some time ago, in 2007 to be more precise, the distinctive Lyle’s Golden Syrup tin was confirmed as the world’s oldest unchanged brand packaging by the Guinness World Records. It has remained essentially the same since the tin took shape a long, long time ago…
In 1881, Abram Lyle set up a sugar refinery on the Thames in East London. As part of the cane sugar refining he produced a rich golden and smooth treacly syrup. Calling it ‘Goldie’, Lyle started selling it from wooden casks. Before long he was supplying a tonne a week to grocers across London and demand was such that soon the famous green and gold tin, we know today, was born.
Lyle was a very religious man, which is why the tin’s famous logo depicts strongman Samson’s ‘lion and bees’ from the Bible’s Old Testament, registered as Lyle’s trademark. The syrup tins were soon to prove just how hardy they were. Captain Scott took a supply of Golden Syrup with him on his ill-fated Antarctic expedition in 1910. And when Scott’s stores were re-discovered by explorers in 1956, the characteristic tin was still in good condition, along with the syrup inside. They also found a letter of thanks from the Captain to Mr Lyle, which still read as follows: ‘Your Golden Syrup has been in daily use in this hut throughout the winter, and has been much appreciated by all members of the expedition.’
However, after the outbreak of the Second World War, the iconic tin packaging had to be temporarily replaced with cardboard —as well as a packaging explanation for the duration— as all available metal was sent to the front lines to help support the war effort. On later occasions, the characteristic ‘bees and lion’ tin has co-existed with other limited edition designs, which were created to commemorate some of the most representative events in the United Kingdom, such as the tin’s own 125th anniversary (in which the tin was entirely golden), the queen’s jubilee, at Christmas or during the Olympic Games held in London in 2012 (like the one depicted in the photographs above). Nowadays we can also find Lyle’s Golden Syrup flows from an ‘easy pour’ bottle, which makes everything a little bit easier, and less sticky.
In 1921, the all-time rivalry between Lyle’s refinery (already known as Abram Lyle & Sons) and the one owned by Henry Tate (Tate Gallery founder), which had been created in 1859, came to an end and Tate & Lyle Sugars Ltd was born, the largest sugar refinery in Europe and the only in the UK. Lyle’s Golden Syrup was so popular that King George V was partial to a drop and in 1922 Lyle’s included a ‘Royal Warrant’ on its tin to highlight its status supplying to the monarchy. And there it remains to this day, now ‘By Appointment to Her Majesty the Queen.’
At present, more than one million Golden Syrup tins leave that refinery by the Thames every month to supply pantries all over the world, from USA to Australia, through China, Yemen, South Africa among others.
And still, this iconic Golden Syrup is not a very popular product here in Spain. It can be hard to find it at the local grocer’s —if you are lucky enough, you may come across a limited offer of this syrup at gourmet supermarkets or pastry shops and bakeries.
Well, this has been quite a harangue! Everything has its price and the following recipes are well worth the nuisance 😉 But fear not, I shall not elaborate on it any further. On the other hand, what can I say about waffles that you do not already know? I must admit that it was not an easy task to find the right formula to enjoy the flavour and texture of real, genuine Belgian waffles that we all know. But practice makes perfect and all that effort has paid off beyond my expectations. So there’s just one thing left for me to add; I hope you put into practice all this learning experience and judge for yourselves…
- ¾ cup + 1 tablespoon (?200 ml) whole milk, lukewarm
- ½ oz (15 g) fresh or compressed yeast
- 2 ? cups (375 g) (strong) bread flour
- 2 medium eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 heaped tablespoon (15 g) vanilla sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup + 1 tablespoon (125 g) unsalted butter, cut into small cubes (plus extra butter for greasing)
- ¾ cup (150 g) pearl sugar
- 2 ½ cups (600 ml) whipping or double cream
- ½ cup (120 ml) whole milk
- 1 vanilla bean
- ½ cup (55 g) Demerara sugar
- 4 egg yolks
- ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons (90 ml) Golden syrup (plus extra syrup for drizzling)
- Dissolve yeast in lukewarm milk (be careful! just lukewarm, not scorching - 35ºC / 95°F approx.). Stir until combined and let it sit for a few minutes until it reaches room temperature.
- In a large mixing bowl (you can use your stand mixer, fitted with the dough hook), combine flour, vanilla sugar and salt.
- Make a well in the center and add the eggs as well as the yeast and milt mixture and stir to combine.
- Knead gently until incorporated for 5-6 minutes hasta que quede todo perfectamente integrado en una masa homogénea, suave y bastante pegajosa.
- Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let it sit in a warm, free-draft spot for 30 minutes or until doubled in size.
- After this time, push the dough down with your knuckles a few times to release all the gases and air. Gradually add the butter, while mixing at low speed until smooth and no more butter is left.
- Finally, stir in the pearl sugar until evenly distributed.
- Cover again with plastic wrap and let the dough rest for a further 30 minutes just like the first time.
- Preheat your waffle iron according to the manufacturer's instructions and grease every crevice with a pastry brush.
- Scoop about ½ cup of dough into the waffle maker and cook for 5-6 minutes or until golden brown and crispy on the outside.
- Let them cool slightly on a cooling rack at room temperature before serving.
- Fill a large mixing bowl with ice cubes for later ice bath and set aside.
- Place cream, milk, demerara sugar and split and scraped vanilla bean in a heavy based saucepan over a medium heat and stir until sugar has dissolved.
- Once sugar has dissolved quickly bring mixture to rapid boil and then remove from the heat. Set aside.
- Whisk egg yolks in a medium bowl, then whisk in the golden syrup until totally combined.
- While stirring constantly, add a couple of tablespoons of the cream mixture to the yolk mixture and whisk in. Very slowly stir the rest of the cream mixture into the egg yolk mixture, being careful not to go too fast as you will scramble the eggs.
- Return the mixture to the saucepan and return to heat. Over a low heat, and stirring continuously, cook the mixture until it thickens and coats the back of a spoon. You know it is ready when you can draw a line across the back of the spoon with your finger and the line stays there.
- Strain mixture into a bowl and Immediately, plunge the pan into the ice bath, stirring constantly so that the it chills evenly. WARNING: be careful not to let any water drops to come into contact with the mixture.
- Once completely chilled, pour the mixture into an airtight container, cover with some plastic wrap directly on the surface (to prevent a film from forming) and let it sit in the fridge about 8 hours or overnight. Please note that the ice cream mixture will double in size while churning, so you'll need a container large enough to accommodate the whole lot.
- The next day, remove from the fridge and churn the mixture. You can either:
- Use an ice cream machine. Pour mixture into freezer container of a 1½-qt. electric ice-cream maker, and churn according to manufacturer's instructions. (Instructions and times may vary).
- Or by hand. Place the airtight container into the freezer and whip it out every 30 minutes for 2-3 hours as it freezes using with a spatula or a whisk (either by hand or using an electric hand-held mixer). You really need to beat it up and break up any frozen sections.
- Cover tightly and allow ice cream to rest in the freezer for at least 8 hours or overnight before serving.
Keep ice cream in the freezer at -0.5/-4 degrees F (-18/-20ºC). Before scooping, allow to soften a bit on the counter for about 10 minutes. Serve drizzled with more golden syrup.
- Cooked waffles can be frozen (store in the freezer individually in ziplock bags) and heated up in the toaster once thawed.
- Instead of Golden Syrup, you can try and make this very same ice cream using honey.
- Obviously, you can have your waffles with many different toppings, such as fresh berries, jam, whipped cream, chopped nuts, pure maple syrup, chocolate syrup, etc. Or a combination of any of the aforesaid.
- International waffle day: March 25th.
Sources: Lyle’s Golden Syrup, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Gaufres Belges, et al.