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How to make poffertjes aka Dutch mini pancakes

by on January 20, 2010
 

I have a new Saturday job. Unpaid. And it may remain that way for a while, :-).

IMG_7259And I’ll say this upfront, without fearing the need to plead the 5th or 8th or 12th – nothing I say, can and will be used against me!!!!!!!!

My duties include:

#1 Making fresh filter coffee, which I’ve never done before. And NO, I’m living serious. First of all, I love coffee but according to the Dutch, I have it verkeerd (WRONG!) – with lots of milk and sugar! When I make filter coffee, I make it in a pot and then strain out the ground beans! I grew up on instant – Nescafe’s Gold blend. My friend (aka ‘new’ boss) is stunned when I don’t know where to put the coffee in the machine. Her large smile slowly becomes disbelief when she sees my confusion/blank face. The truth hits hard.

IMG_7253How amazing life is. On the other hand, we always see it as a point of amusement when our Dutch friends/workmen come over and we offer them instant coffee. The confusion on their faces is a picture worth seeing. They ask ‘So how many teaspoons do we need in a cup?’ They have NO idea because they NEVER drink instant coffee…..two ends of the same world.

Task #2 is stripping paper off the walls (and preserving some for photoshoots) :-)! See, my friend is renovating her house and I’m ‘helping’. This task too, is a completely new thing for me. I have never held a paint brush, to paint a door or wall or anything like that! Again, A is stunned but in Nigeria, I never had a need to paint. When something needed to be done, we called in a painter and he did the job, qualified as he was.And I wasn’t!

IMG_7275I am always amazed at how our lives differ – Europeans/Americans/essentially the west from how I grew up in Nigeria. Living in a non-English speaking country now (you know what I mean) makes the differences so obvious and that for me is the best part about being away from home. I can no longer take things for granted. I get to see another side to life and appreciate where I am now and also where I come from!

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Final task #3 is cleaning out the trash, which I do with ease. Then I tell A that growing up, we ALWAYS had nannies and house helps. She finds this strange but if you have grown up in Asia/Africa, you’ll know what I mean. There are always people in a home, more than just the nuclear. However, even though we had help at home, my siblings and I still cleaned and cooked and did our duties. Our parents were not the type to ‘spoil’ us,…rotten. So why did we need nannies then? Well, both my parents worked, we were ‘many’ – 5 kids in total and it is the norm, the tradition, a way of life.

IMG_7256I was taken aback when my friend said she would find it an invasion of privacy. But I don’t. Then again, I am used to it and she’s not.

IMG_7251All these things make me thankful that I have a chance to experience all I have, including the ‘headstrong nature’ of the Dutch who insist ‘Pancakes‘ and Poffertjes are NOT for breakfast. No different from the Swiss who reserve their Bircher muesli for dinner too! Note that these recipes feature ever so strongly in my brekkie repertoire.

Poffertjes are mini Dutch pancakes, baked with a special yeasty batter in a bottle, in a special pan with little circular depressions,flipped with a special two-pronged fork. Phew. What a mouthful! They resemble the Danish Aebleskiver, which are slightly larger however. I have no information about what time of day Aebleskiver grace the table though! Poffertjes are super popular at summer fairs and other folksy dos in the Netherlands.

PoffertjesOn these occassions, they are made by the hundreds;

Men at workAnd laden with butter and icing sugar….

Sieving sugar…Though other toppings like booze and jam are niet verboden (not forbidden)!

For Poffertjes...

Paraphrased from Dutch Delights by Sylvia Pessireron

They are generally made wth buckwheat flour though….numerous variations are allowed! Their history is linked to a Dutch Abbey where they were used as a type of ‘host’. However, during the French Revolution, a shortage in wheatflour led to pancake batter being made with buckwheat flour – resulting in a thicker and tastier ‘host’!

Once church going market sellers and merchants tasted this at communion, they realised the $$$$ and ‘acquired’  the recipe from the founders. Then they contracted a blacksmith to make a furnce with a couple of hundred furnaces on which they began preparing the ‘little friars’! That name soon changed once the ‘escaping sounds’ from these mini friars were ready, landing them the name ‘Poffertjes’!

And at home, we often do the same – not the booze mind you – the sugar. My kids don’t fancy the (melted) butter on them so we skip that little step. I’ve made them properly from scratch using a yeasty batter only once! Before that, I did made them using pancake batter!

IMG_7263So, it is Friday night and we’re at friends, having dinner. While the parents tuck into some serious cheese fondue, the kids stuff their faces with poffertjes, freshly made – from a box! Box mixes in the Netherlands are common, even popular. People rarely make them from scratch. Who needs the stress, or comments from kids like:

‘Hmmm, these are ok but not as nice as A’s last night!’

IMG_72693 guesses for who said that? Oh yes, it’s Doubting Thomasina. She thinks, and perhaps rightly that I should use the box mix…….. and in future I will but till then, enjoy mine!!!!!!!

This recipe came from a cookbook that’s available in Dutch and English. The English version has the recipe for making poffertjes with cheese and herbed butter and the Dutch one? Has a box mix on the list of ingredient :-)!!!!!!!

The recipe, adapted from Dutch Cooking Today (Kook ook Holland)

Ingredients

400ml milk
15 g fresh yeast or 7 g dried yeast
200 g flour (I used whole-wheat flour)
100 g buckwheat flour (I used white flour)
Pinch of salt
1 egg
Note: if you don’t have a poffertjes pan, increase the milk by 350ml and fry small pancakes with 1-2 tablespoons of batter!

How to

Warm the milk until lukewarm. Crumble/sprinkle the yeast into a small bowl, add a splash of milk and mix until smooth  Then mix the yeast with a bit of warm milk in a small bowl, stirring till it dissolves.

IMG_7111 IMG_7113

In a bowl, beat the flours, salt, yeast mixture, egg and the remaining warm milk with a whisk to a smooth batter. Whisk well to remove any lumps.

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Place a teatowel over the bowl and place in warm place for an hour to rise.

IMG_7140 It should look bubbly and have increased in quantity.

IMG_7163Using a whisk, stir well to combine and prepare to pour into the poffertjes bottle.

IMG_7170 Place a funnel in the mouth of the bottle and pour the poffertjes batter in.

IMG_7172You may need a skewer to help the batter go in, since the dough is wholegrain and may have small lumps.

IMG_7180Heat your poffertjes pan and when hot, lightly grease.

IMG_7186 Then gently squirt some mixture into each hole, filling them about 3/4s of the way full.

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They puff up…quite nicely, but I can’t hear any huffing and puffing!

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After a few minutes, gently loosen them and flip over, when the underside is golden.

Poffertjes

There’ll always be some that look ugly but worry not.

IMG_7767Enjoy them with some icing sugar over the top…or maple syrup…in fact all the usual pancake accompaniments go very well with poffertjes, so no big thinking required.

IMG_7276I’m sending this on to Sarah @ Yeastspotting – a weekly showcase of bready/baked yeasty goods!

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Overall, I enjoyed the poffertjes, though they were a bit yeasty, perhaps I erred and put a bit too much in! In future, I will stick to my regular pancake mix and maybe acquire one of these!

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As for the new job….. I loved the hours I spent with my friend, surrounded by dust, brick, plaster and other building parts! Whether or not it’ll become a regular weekend undertaking is another matter!!!!!!! I am also grateful that this…is my occassional weekend job! I’m quite happy to leave A to the mortar, plaster and dust.

IMG_7267*Mwah*.

comments
 
Leave a reply » 1 2

 
  • November 21, 2013 at 2:52 AM

    I haven’t tasted these delightful little pancakes in 49 years. I bought the pan while living in the Netherlands, but found my American pancake batter didn’t produce the same product. I am anxious to try this recipe, and was surprised to see that buckwheat may be the difference. I use buckwheat, but had never thought of it for these little enticing goodies. We always sprinkled them with powdered sugar; I don’t remember using syrup on them…but after 49 years, one may forget a few things.

    Reply

    • November 22, 2013 at 7:33 PM

      :-). I know what you mean about getting a different result with a ‘substitute’ batter. I now use pancake mix which is loaded with oats though I would love to try this again. Stay well and I’m thrilled to have brought back some memories

      Reply

  • Barbara Roskott
    September 21, 2013 at 7:32 PM

    We just came back from Amsterdam a few days ago and poffertjes was the last meal we had there…wonderful! Now I want to make these at home so looked online for recipes. This looked good, I loved the Dutch pictures on this site too. When using yeast you do have to be careful not to overproof though. It will give your product a yeasty flavor.

    Reply

    • September 29, 2013 at 11:58 PM

      Thanks Barbara – glad you found the recipe useful.

      I will have to give it another try, being careful not to over-prove it.

      These days, I just use regular pancake batter and it turns out ok. The kids eat copious amounts, which is my test :-)

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Reply

  • Poffertjesfan
    August 27, 2012 at 8:43 PM

    Can’t wait to try to make poffertjes on my own. Loved those in the Netherlands. Any suggestion for us without the poffertjes pan?

    Reply

  • jennifer de ascencio
    May 1, 2012 at 7:18 PM

    I loved reading this blog about poffertjes and “koffie” I´m a dutch mum living in El Salvador, Central America, and was looking for an original recipe to make poffertjes for my daughters since i always use a pancake recipe. Absolutely love finding that it is was written by a non dutch person and can relate very well to the difference in culture about the coffee. Thanks, I forgot you have to use yeast but buckwheat flour?, here we can buy regular or rice flour so i´ll just use the regular i guess.

    Reply

  • Caryn Wagner
    April 15, 2012 at 10:15 PM

    I was in Amsterdam about 4 years ago and discovered a bar on the same street as a most delicious restaurant, Balthazaar’s. The bar was owned and operated by two sisters most likely in their late 70’s or early 80’s, still quite scrappy. There was an English couple at one of their outdoor tables enjoying poffertjes and coffee. I ordered some because they looked so delicious, and I wasn’t disappointed! I since ordered the special pan from Holland, and being out of buckwheat flour, I will try the whole wheat that you suggested.
    I’ve explored your blog a bit, and I am very interested in your Nigerian cuisine. I drum in Albuquerque, NM, with fabulous drummers from Senegal, Mali, and Guinea. I’ve played with one Nigerian man who says that he is more of a dancer than drummer. If you’re ever in New Mexico, look me up if you’re interested in some good dancing and drumming right here in the US Southwest!

    Reply

  • December 14, 2011 at 7:02 AM

    Hi! I would really love to try this! But I don’t have the pan. What do you mean by increasing 350ml milk? Does that mean I will have to add 750ml milk in total? Thank you so much! xo wynn

    Reply

  • Lali
    June 5, 2011 at 2:18 PM

    We made the poffertjes this morning following your recipe,they were so good. Thanks a lot.

    Reply

  • ranju
    November 11, 2010 at 2:07 PM

    I and my husband we really love the pofferjels and we did used your recipe please send more of your other recipes thank u

    Reply

  • August 10, 2010 at 8:58 PM

    Hi! I found your blog when looking for a description of poffertjes to add to MY blog! Im linking to you – hope thats OK! s x

    Reply

  • Caity
    July 18, 2010 at 2:12 PM

    I saw this recipe and instantly went and made it. I didn’t have one of the proper cooking things, no wholemeal or buckweat [just used plain white flour] and made this – was in a hurry so only let it stand for half an hour.
    It was perfect!!! My whole family are enjoying them right now as I type this. Thank you!!!

    Reply

  • February 3, 2010 at 5:10 PM

    I would love to try these little pancakes, I’ve seen them a few times now and they look wonderful! Great photos, must look around for a pan like that.

    Reply

  • February 1, 2010 at 9:10 AM

    These look so delicious! I love you blog!

    Reply

  • January 26, 2010 at 6:43 PM

    wow, I loooooove poffertjes but has not idea they were made with buckwheat flour. I’ll have to google them to see if I can do a gluten free version

    Reply

    • JL
      September 26, 2010 at 4:15 PM

      Since the buckwheat flour is already GF, it should be fairly easy to adapt this recipe. Personally, I would substitute the wheat flour with 1/2 Gluten-Free Gourmet standard flour (rice/potato/tapioca) and 1/2 Featherlight flour (both recipes from Bette Hagman). But really, any light GF baking flour would do. Pancakes require 1 tsp of xanthan gum per cup of flour (which is more than for other types of baking).

      Reply

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