Belgian waffles are thicker than classic ones, thanks to deep-welled waffle irons that capture all the delicious toppings. Here, we add yeast and sparkling water to the batter to create an especially light and airy texture. Fresh strawberries and sweet whipped cream are perfect additions for spring, but these are also delicious drizzled with maple syrup or melted chocolate.
Raised Belgian Waffles with Strawberries & Whipped Cream
1 lb. (500 g.) strawberries, hulled and sliced
3 Tbs. granulated sugar
1 package (2 1/4 tsp.) active dry yeast
1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml.) warm water (105-115 degrees F/40-46 degrees C)
1 1/4 cups (10 fl. oz./310 ml.) whole milk
1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml.) sparkling water
1/2 cup (4 oz./125 g.) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
4 large eggs, separated
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups (12 1/2 oz./390 g.) all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
Canola oil for cooking, if needed
Confectioners’ sugar for serving
Sweetened whipped cream for serving
In a bowl, toss together the strawberries and 1 tablespoon of the granulated sugar. Let stand at room temperature until the berries give off some juices, at least 1 hour and up to 3 hours.
In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Stir until the yeast dissolves. In a large bowl, whisk the milk, sparkling water, butter, egg yolks, the remaining 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, and the vanilla just until combined. Whisk in the dissolved yeast. Add the flour and salt and whisk until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap. Let stand in a warm place until the mixture has risen and the surface has bubbles on it, about 1 1/2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F (95 degrees C) and have ready a rimmed baking sheet. Preheat a Belgian waffle iron.
Using a clean whisk or handheld mixer on high speed, beat the egg whites in a medium bowl until soft peaks form. Scoop the whites over the batter and, using the whisk, fold them in evenly.
If your waffle iron is not nonstick, lightly oil the grid. Ladle some of the batter over the grid, close the lid, and cook until the waffle is golden brown, about 4 minutes. Transfer to the baking sheet and keep warm in the oven. Repeat with the remaining batter. For each serving, sift confectioners’ sugar over the waffles, then top with the whipped cream and the strawberries with their juices. Serves 4.