How to make poffertjes aka Dutch mini pancakes

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.

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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*.

[wpurp-searchable-recipe]How to make poffertjes aka Dutch mini pancakes – – – [/wpurp-searchable-recipe]

96 Comments

  1. My dutch cookbook contains only a recipe without yeast so I will try the yeasted version for sure.
    I like to read about diffrent breakfast habbits very much. In Germany we would never eat pancakes for breakfast, too. Its something we would serve for Lunch or Dinner.

  2. … the inevitable is unavoidable and so here I am. Very excellent these poffertjes.
    I bought a pan when I was in Holland … just haven’t gotten around to using it … really need to.
    Thanks for your visit.

  3. Thank you for sharing your dutch pancake recipe – they look so cute! I wish I had one of those pancake makers now! And good luck on your job – you seem very hardworking – hope they start to pay you soon.

    • mademoiselle délicieuse – you are SPOT on…which is why this is good for my kids!!!!

      Kate darling – I wish I had 100 of these to giveaway….and I’ll seriously consider it! Of course if you come sooner…you can enjoy them too! The red napkin my friend A and my daughters made, the night of the Poffertjes dinner (from a box) and the newspaper is actually fabric…..bought to make little circular fabric covers for loads of jam pots (which never happened)! Now, it is part of my prop box! And I don’t agree, Pancakes don’t have the substance you need after hard work……LOL

      Joe….now I’ll have to do some research (WHICH I LOVE), so thanks!

      Sarka – thanks. If you ever come this way, you must
      visit….we’re 1/2 an hour from the airport!

      HH – Like I said, I’m going to have a giveaway soon!!!!! Pancakes in the post too…..look out!

      Krista aka Danish lass…..ha, the world is such an amazing place. And like you, I’m learning to love being me…..more and more

      Yum Yucky – definitely not the batter……….

  4. Oh Oz, these are wonderful! 🙂 My Dad is from Denmark and aebelskiver are one of our favorites. 🙂 We eat them in the afternoons, with jam and powdered sugar, with LOTS of coffee. 🙂 I love your stories, your contrasting of past and present. I’m an immigrant too, and have lived all over the place. Differences frightened me as a girl, but now I cherish them and am happy to be myself. 🙂

  5. Gosh, i have got to get one of those pans, i thought this was going to be a deep frying recipe (which i told you i dont do). I adore sweet hot dough things.
    Anyway daaaaaaahling, dropped by to wish you an amazing weekend.
    *kisses* HH
    p.s. please mail me some mini pancakes. i am hungry.

  6. Oh, these looks absolutely divine. I want to try them so much. I have to visit Netherlands soon. Nice reading about your childhood habits 🙂

  7. OK, when I come to visit you we’re going to have to find some of these. No kidding. I love the photos with the newspaper behind and the red napkin. I wish I had your knack for composition…

    Good luck with the ‘new job’. I once had a Victorian house I renovated. I did most of the work, including stripping wallpaper. Hard work, but rewarding. And after that you NEED some pancakes!

  8. the mini pancakes look delish!

    and i’m crap at making coffee too, probably because i usually and rarely get a latte only out and about and drink only tea at home.

    • Stella – thanks. The yolk does look good….

      Art and Appetite – FANTASTIC. Oh, I know you’ll make a great thing out of them!

      Oysterculture – glad to bring a smile to your face….as for the new job, hmmmm…we’ll see!

      Velva dear….I think of your lovely plate of poffertjes a lot….and the pan too!

      Conor – Thank you! Glad you enjoyed the story and you’re definitely on the OTHER side of coffee epicureans!

      Pia K – glad to hear I have companionship in the bad
      coffee makers!!!!!!!!

  9. Stunning photos as usual, and my stomach is grumbling 🙂 What a great story too. I remember the first time I had to make instant coffee for someone, I think I put about 3 teaspoons in! Oops..

  10. I got such a kick out of this blog post. As you know, I had the opportunity to enjoy these Dutch pancakes. My son ate them all-up and stared lovingly for some more. I smiled when you wrote that the Dutch insist that these pancakes are not for breakfast-that is so true. Our friends also insisted, and served us these treats for lunch.
    I also got a kick out of enjoyng your weekend of painting and tearing down wall paper. Enjoy the experience!!!

  11. Oh what fun and what a great post, I was grinning with the description of the coffee and getting really hungry by the time you got to poffertjes – I love those little beauties. Have a wonderful time in your new job – don’t work too hard!

  12. Ooh, that egg’s yolk looks so colorful and nice in that photo. You all must have good farming there!

    • Meg – thank you!

      My Carolina Kitchen – thanks too….Oz

      So Spiffy, glad you like the prop. It is actually fabric with Newspaper prints!

      Mathea – 🙂 Little gems they are

      Kari – mini it is….

      Annemarie dear – thanks BOSS Woman! And I did speak the truth, the whole truth and nothing but….

  13. Aw! I just made the large version of this, which oddly was called a Dutch “Baby” in Joy of Cooking. Obviously THESE are the real babies… 🙂

  14. Hey there..I followed you from my friend Divina = ) I’m not a totally food blogger but a more a mix of my three favorites.. food, fashion and interior.. hehe I think I’ve had something similar but I love the prop with the newspaper… LOVE it.

  15. What a great post 🙂 Interesting to hear abotu our similar childhoods so far apart on the same continent. We had a nanny/cleaning lady since I was little (my parents also both worked) 5 days a week and people thought we were roughing it because at that time most people had a servant who lived on the property 24/7 – possibly a cleaner AND a gardener. They were often regarded as part of the family, sharing in the joys and woes of both their own and our family lives. I do think that I would have found it an invasion to have somebody there 24/7… but I would give anything these days for the services of my childhood friend & nanny Ellen (long since married to a high school principal and retired!).

    LOVE the poffertjies – what a palaver to make them “properly though!

    Good luck with the Saturday job 🙂

  16. LOved the story….yes I connect about the nannies, maids , helpers thing….very common here too….grew up having them around. n yes we call the painters to paint! thats what theyre for right?!! LOL

    ooh love those little babies(pancakes)…we have similar looking pans here too. They used to be made of brass and were so beautiful but now everyhting has changed to aluminium whish I really dislike…wh means I dont have one. but the pancakes looks so good!

    • Mowie…..you can always borrow mine!

      Diva – thanks dear, glad you like the step-by-steps.

      Zurin – :-). Yep, painters…paint!!!!!!! Sorry, you don’t have a pan….aaaw

  17. gorgeous! i always love your step by step photos 🙂 definitely no panic there when following your recipes. p/s. totally liking your duck egg-coloured brush. it’s lovely. but not as sweet as your mini pancakes. i’m hungry. is it time for lunch now? x

  18. i remeber when we were in Amsterdam I’d literally want to skip lunch so that i could have a double portion of these. love them. do not have the pan so am wondering if i can make them in a normal pan!

    • Meeta, you can make them in a normal pan but you’ll have to thin the mixture a bit and fry a tablespoonful/couple of tablespoon fulls at a time!

  19. I love poffertjes. I just cant find a poffertjespan that goes on my cooking fire.

    And guess what…we only drink instant coffee. The one from douwe egberts. My husband likes it more then fresh coffee.

    • Sarah – glad you’ve enjoyed this. I will have a poffertjes set giveaway soon.

      Noobcook – thanks

      Thanks Christine

      Pam, to be honest, they taste just like pancakes….but look a tad nicer!

      Taste Hongkong – they are light, puffy and fluffy 🙂

      Celia dear – you’re welcome

      Mimi – my kids love them, small, easy to eat and of course shaped!

      Silke – Serious? I’ve seen all sorts of pans. Mine is quite heavy with a flat bottom but I’ve also seen some weird bottomed ones but Yay I am glad you guys like instant too!

  20. A new treat to me, and they look so yummy. My kids would go nuts for those. I’ll keep my eyes open for the right type of pan.
    Mimi

  21. Aren’t the poffertjes so fluffy? They seem to be easily twisted by a touch of the two-pronged fork. Thanks for sharing all the details, I have enjoyed reading.

    • Devaki – you’re welcome!

      Sathya – glad you like them. So do we!

      Caroline, I might take you up on that offer some morning….

      Maria, Daniel – head on over!

  22. Hi – I want to say Thank You for visiting me and for bothering to leave infantile blogger i.e. me, a comment. Needless to say your blog is wonderful so I’m adding it to my ‘food Tribe’. Hope you won’t mind.

    Also, I wouldn’t be half as mad if my pics looked as good as yours, considering all the grease stains & all!

    Cheers!

    Devaki
    http://www.weavethousandflavors.com

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