Sunday, October 7, 2012

Poffertjes

Poffertjes... the name alone invokes visions of carnivals, festivities and palatal pleasure. Even saying it brings joy to the vocal cords. You can't say poffertjes (POH-fur-tjes) without a smile on your face, try it!

Poffertjes are an integral part of national holidays, summer festivals and fun celebrations. During the Christmas and New Year season, you will find poffertjes vendors on every Christmas market, usually right next to that other holiday treat, oliebollen. 

A recipe for poffertjes (also known as bollebuisjes or broedertjes) first appears in a cookbook from the mid 1700s. Made exclusively with buckwheat flour, water and yeast, it was considered a poor man's meal. Buckwheat only grows on arid, poor ground and provided poor farmers with the necessary substance. And you can see why: a plate full of hot pancakes, covered with powdered sugar and a rapidly melting piece of butter will give anybody enough energy to get back out there and take on the weather elements. Later recipes call for wheat flour, milk and eggs, but always keep yeast as a leavener which gives it its puffiness.

When the Dutch settlers came to America, they brought the poffertjes and the pan they're made in with them. In James Eugene Farmer's book "Brinton Eliot, from Yale to Yorktown" we read: "On the evening of the 4th of May, Jans and Hybert Weamans were seated near the trap-door of the cellar, smoking, drinking beer, and eating puffards from the puffet-pan." Puffards, puffets, bollebouches.......they're all the same name for our beloved poffertjes.

Made on a dimpled cast iron pan for the home cook, or commercially on large copper dimpled plates as seen in the pictures below, poffertjes can also be made at home on a griddle if you don't have a poffertjespan. Just place tablespoons of batter on the slightly greased surface and turn them with the tine of a fork when the outside rim has dried up a bit and bubbles come to the surface. Their name comes from the way these small pancakes act once you turn them over: they puff up.




Traditionally served with powdered sugar and a healthy chunk of butter, poffertjes are a welcome treat!

The buckwheat flour we have access to here in the United States is much darker than the light, white version that is used in northern Europe. If you can find it, substitute half of the flour for buckwheat flour.

Poffertjes
1 cup warm milk
3/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 eggs
Pinch salt
Powdered sugar
Butter

Sprinkle the yeast on top of the warm milk and set aside to proof. When ready, mix the flour with the eggs and slowly add the milk, beating well and making sure there are no lumps. Add in the pinch of salt. Cover and set aside to rise, about 45 minutes to an hour.

Heat the pan and lightly butter each dimple. Pour a small amount of batter into each dimple. I prefer to pour the batter in a squeeze bottle of which I have removed part of the tip: it allows me to control the amount of batter for each dimple.

When the sides dry up a bit and bubbles appear on the surface, use the tin of a fork to flip the poffertjes over. Take a peek here if you're not sure how to do this! This takes a bit of practice, but not to worry, even the spoils will taste good!

Serve hot, sprinkle with powdered sugar and a piece of butter.


16 comments:

  1. they are amazing! everyone should try them. also they are great with bananas and cream!

    rockstar123

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  2. Hi Nicole,

    Great recipe, it looks delicious! I've mentioned you and 2 other Dutch cooks in a blog with my favorite recipes from each of you. You can view it here, http://dutchmailorder.com/dutch-cooking-blogs/

    Keep up the good work!

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  3. I'm so happy to find an actual recipe for these! I have been using my own recipe that I made up with trial and error. The only thing I was missing was the eggs so I guess I wasn't too far off. My dad bought me a poffertjes pan for Christmas a while back and we make them at least once a month. Can't wait to try your recipe- Thanks!

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  4. Hi, greetings from Indonesia. I find your blog is great and in particular like the recipes and of course the food itself. I was born during the Dutch time in Indonesia, and now still fond of Dutch food, cake and cookies like bitterballen, spekkoek, ontbijtkoek, speculas, poffertjes, bruineboonsoep etc. which are still available in the market here.
    I just copied your recipe of ontbijtkoek poffertjes and bitterballen just to let my daughter try to cook it. You know how the Indonesian say for spekkoek, they just name it "Lapis Legit" (sweet layered cake). I am so happy stumbling on your blog. I will certainly be back for further search for Dutch recipes. Thanks.

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  5. Hey, I really want to make poffertjes and I tried your recipe, but the batter seems very thick. Is that normal or did I do something wrong?

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    Replies
    1. Sylvia, if the batter is too thick to scoop or pour, just add a little bit of milk to thin it, nothing to worry about. Enjoy your poffertjes!

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    3. Thanks! I will try again :-)

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    4. Many traditional recipes have almost twice as much liquid as this one.

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  6. I like you work very much! Want to link you to my website.
    Did you also write in another language (like Dutch)?

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  7. Hi, I am making this recipe now. Three questions about the proofing. How warm should the milk be (temperature?), how long before you see evidence of the proofing, and lastly do you need to add sugar, or does the milk have sugar content for the yeast to feed on? BTW in the instructions you say, add a pinch of flour, I think you mean salt. Looking forward to making your other recipes.

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    Replies
    1. Helena, if you're using active dry yeast, your milk should be around 110F, so warm but not hot. You should see an evidence of proofing within the next couple of minutes, where the yeast hydrates and starts to foam a bit. Adding a little pinch of sugar will help but is not necessary if your yeast is alive. And thanks for the correction, I do mean a pinch of salt!

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  8. Loved finding your page! Will definitely try your recipe. My holland born dad and grandma used to make poffertjes and oliebollen for us as kids. excited to try with my son :-)

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  9. Hi Nicole! Thank you for this recipe! Unfortunately, when I tried it they turned out really dense and flat. Could it be a problem with the yeast I used? I used instant yeast. Also, I cooked it in a non stick pan and only covered it with cling wrap when I left it to rest. Thank you for your help!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Stacey, it does sound like your yeast may be dead. A non-stick pan and cling wrap is fine. Did your batter rise at all? Properly stored yeast lasts for a long time, but is best stored in the refrigerator in a closed container. To test instant yeast you can make a quick dough with 1/2 cup of flour, 1/2 teaspoon of yeast and a third cup of warm water. This should become bubbly and double in size in about an hour. Have you had trouble with yeast in other products? Let's see if we can find out what happened!

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  10. Hi there, how about if im not using any of yeast? Is it gonna be alright or its a must'?

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