The hometown of wafers known today is Vienna where the first official recipe was created by Joseph Manner in 1898. He laid the foundations for the worldwide success of this sweet by inventing the Neapoliter Wafer, a 5 layer biscuit filled with hazelnut cream.
Neapoliter became popular quickly in the Monarchy, and the first bakehouses offering wafers with different fillings appeared in Hungary after the turn of the century. Hungary’s oldest and biggest, still existing wafer manufactory is Ziegler Trade Ltd, a family business, which has been making wafers since 1953.
In Hungary you can buy unfilled wafer sheets almost in every store, so we usually don’t bother with making the dough if we would like to eat homemade wafers. The following recipe comes from my maternal grandmother who often made these wafers for special occasions. The filling is made of walnut brittle, which is creamed with eggs and butter.
Since these wafers contain perishable ingredients, they have to be stored in the fridge, and for this reason they are soft and melt in your mouth. Don’t expect them to be as crisp and dry as store-bought wafers.
- 5 store-bought wafer sheets (size: 35×17 cm / 13,5×6,5″)
- 300 g (~1 1/2 cups) granulated sugar
- 300 g (~2 1/2 cups) chopped walnuts
- 5 eggs
- 150 g (~2/3 cups) butter
- 1 tsp salt
Lightly grease a baking sheet or a tray with vegetable oil.
Place sugar in a heavy-bottomed pan and over medium heat melt it (I do stir the sugar, but if you prefer making caramel without stirring, feel free to do so). Then reduce the heat to low and cook until it turns golden brown. Remove caramel from the heat, stir in chopped walnuts and immediately pour the mixture in a thin layer onto the prepared baking sheet. Set aside and let it cool.
Break the brittle into pieces and finely chop in a food processor. Put the ground brittle in a heatproof bowl and place it over a pot of simmering water. Add salt and the eggs – one at a time – to the walnut-caramel mixture and mix to combine. Cook until all eggs are fully incorporated and the mass is thick, smooth and shiny. Set aside and let it cool.
Once the caramel filling has reached room temperature, add diced butter and whisk with a hand mixer until well combined. Place a wafer sheet on a tray, spread some walnut brittle cream filling on the top evenly, then cover with another wafer sheet. Repeat until all of the five sheets are spread and placed onto each other. Put a heavier object on top to let the layers stick together more easily. Chill for 4-5 hours before serving.