When I first flew from the nest that was my parents house, the first appliance I purchased was a waffle maker. The obvious vacuum cleaner, fridge, iron, washing machine did not enter into my mind. How could I possibly move out of home without having the comfort of knowing I could whip out my little waffle maker and make me some golden brown waffles whenever I felt the need to – and I can assure you, I frequently feel the need for waffles! So when we moved to Strasbourg, the waffle maker made it onto the list of essential items (it beat the hair dryer!) and Mr G and I have not regretted it. Recently, my waffle making has benefited from a bit of molecular gastronomy. I was given a molecular gastronomy kit (Cuisine R-Evolution) for Christmas by my sister, Madame and I have been experimenting with a few of the ingredients, specifically agar agar. Agar agar is used as a gelling agent, much like gelatin to make and set jellies.
Agar agar can be used as a vegetarian substitute for gelatin as it is derived from algae. The other great thing about agar agar is that one can use it in cooking applications which require more heat as it has a greater capacity to withstand high temperatures. The downside of using too much agar agar is that you might have to run to the loo as agar agar is a natural laxative. These patchwork waffles were prepared by piping a strawberry jelly that was prepared with fresh strawberries and agar agar into the grooves of the waffles. Once the jelly has set, the waffles can be re-heated and the jelly will (should!) not melt, so that the jelly-filled waffles can be enjoyed nice and toasty.
* makes 6 waffles
- 2 eggs, separated
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 3/4 cup of milk
- 1/2 cup of water
- pinch of salt
- 2 cups self-raising flour
- 2 tablespoons cornflour
- 80 g margarine or butter, melted and cooled
Beat the egg yolks and sugar together, add milk and water and mix well. Sift all the dry ingredients together, add the egg mixture and melted, cooled butter. Beat the mixture into a smooth batter.
Beat the egg whites until stiff, fold into the batter. Leave the batter to stand for about 10 minutes. Use about 1/2 a cup of the batter for each waffle.
Once the waffles have been cooked to a golden brown colour, remove from the waffle maker and refrigerate.
- 1 cup of strawberries, enough to give approximately 200 mL of strawberry puree
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/4 cup pouring cream
- 2 g agar agar
- 1/2 cup pouring cream
- 1 g agar agar
Wash, chop and puree the strawberries. Place the cream in a saucepan and sprinkle the agar agar over the cream and stir, gently heat the cream and bring to the boil. Pour the cream into the strawberry juice and mix well.
Repeat the process to prepared the cream jelly as described above for the strawberry jelly.
Once the jellies are ready, and still slightly warm, pipe them into the grooves of the cooled waffles. My molecular gastronomy kit was equipped with plastic pipettes which is a bit weird for me as they are used regularly in the lab.
Suck the jelly up using the pipette and drop generous dollops of the jelly into alternating grooves of the waffles to create a patchwork effect.
Cool the waffles in the fridge for about an hour to ensure that the jelly sets. Once the jelly has set, remove the waffles from the fridge and gently re-heat on the waffle iron. Enjoy!