Swiss breads and pastry confections are among the most diverse in Europe, and more than equal the quality and quantity of the Turkish (and Ottoman) tradition. This expertise comes together every year with the Bénichon meal in the canton of Fribourg, where the breads and confections include beignets, cuquettes, croquets and pains d‘anis, and in the delicious crispy brown biscuits known as bricelets.
Cream plays a huge role in the bricelet so it is no surprise that country women are among the best exponents in the art of waffle making.
Denise Bongard of the Fribourg Association of Countrywomen is one of eight women on the Au Bricelet d’Or (Golden Waffle) group. ‘As we are all countrywomen, we use our own cream, which we skim and leave to rest for two or three days,’ she says.
Bongard is also a wizard with a bricelet wand, the tool that is needed to produce the distinctive hollow cigar shape. And this is the problem for anyone who wants to make these delicate delicacies. A waffle iron is required.
The modern waffel iron, in two pieces, which open like a book, appear to be an invention of the 1700s. In western Switzerland they were forged with a decoration, which imprinted a particular pattern on the biscuit.
Nowadays the bricelet iron fer à bricelets is an electronic affair.
The traditional bricelet is generally made with butter or cream, flour, salt or sugar and water. Cheese, eggs and seeds (caraway, poppy or sesame), lemon juice and wine add colour and flavour. Butter is used sparingly because it can run out of the hot irons, while thickened stale cream is preferred by bricelete artisans.
The rolled cigar shape is often found coated with chocolate or filled with thick cream.
Wafers and waffles have a long tradition, going back over a thousand years.
This is a small amount to start practising, the lemon giving these biscuits a subtle sweet hit.
- 100 g white spelt flour / white wheat flour
- 85 ml stale double cream
- 65 g sugar
- 50 ml white wine
- 30 ml lemon juice
- 1 lemon, zest
- Black pepper, pinch
- Salt, pinch
Beat the cream in a large bowl.
In a separate bowl whisk the sugar into the lemon juice and wine until the sugar dissolves, add to the first bowl.
Beat the mixture, add the flour, zest and seasonings. Whip into a paste, refrigerate overnight.
Using a dessert spoon place a large dollop on the hot iron.
Close and cook for one minute.
Leave as a wafer shape or twist around the handle of a wooden spoon to form a cigar shape.
Cool on a wire rack, keep in a sealed box, consume at your leisure.