The fastest way to describe saucijzenbroodjes is to say they're like worstenbroodjes, sausage rolls, but fancier. Instead of bread dough encasing the ground meat sausage, a saucijzenbroodje wraps the meat in a delicate pillow of crisp, flaky puff pastry. The common worst gets bread dough, the saucijs (a fancier name for sausage, from the French saucisse) gets the buttery pastry.

It's the culinary version of a famous Dutch saying: "Er zijn werkpaarden en er zijn luxe paarden"(There are work horses and there are luxury horses). The saucijzenbroodje is definitely a luxury horse!

Saucijzenbroodjes are readily available, warm, at Dutch train stations, in fast food places and often consumed for lunch with a salad or a cup of soup. The puff pastry makes it a fairly rich treat (and a bit messy if you're eating it on the go!) but is also very versatile. This recipe makes a basic, pretty standard flavored roll, but you are welcome to add your favorite spices to the mix. How about shoarma flavors, or a spicy hint of curry? It's your choice!

This is also a great treat to share with friends at a potluck, as a snack for TV watching, or for lunch with a salad.

8 squares of 5 x 5 inches frozen puff pastry
1 lb ground beef
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Pinch of nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons panko or bread crumbs

Lay the puff pastry squares on the counter to defrost. Mix the meat, parsley and the spices together, add half of the beaten egg and all of the breadcrumbs. Mix and roll into a large sausage. Divide it in eight equal parts and roll each one into a log, about 4.5 inches long, a little shorter than the length of the puff pastry square.

Heat the oven to 425 F. Place the sausage on one half of the pastry square, brush a little egg on the edges and fold over the other half. Press the long edge shut with a fork. After you've folded all eight pastry squares, brush the tops with the rest of the beaten egg. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, put the saucijzenbroodjes on top and bake in the oven for approximately 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Best eaten hot or warm - keep in fridge and consume within 24 hours.

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De snelste manier om een saucijzenbroodje te beschrijven is door te zeggen dat ze op worstenbroodjes lijken, maar dan sjieker. In plaats van brooddeeg om het worstje van gehakt, omarmt het saucijzenbroodje het vlees in een broos kussen van knapperig, luchtig bladerdeeg. De gewone worst krijgt brooddeeg, de saucijs (een sjiekere naam voor worst, van het Frans saucisse) krijgt het smeuïge korstdeeg.

Het is de culinaire versie van het bekende Nederlandse spreekwoord "Er zijn werkpaarden en er zijn luxe paarden". Het saucijzenbroodje is beslist een luxe paardje!

Saucijzenbroodjes zijn kant-en-klaar verkrijgbaar, warm, op Nederlandse treinstations, in cafetarias en worden vaak gegeten tijdens het middagmaal met een salade of een kopje soep. Het bladerdeeg zorgt ervoor dat het best wel een machtige versnapering is (en kruimelt nogal als je hem uit het vuistje eet!) maar is ook vrij veelzijdig. Dit recept is voor een standaard saucijzenbroodje, maar u kunt er natuurlijk uw eigen draai aan geven. Wat dacht u van shoarma kruiden, of een pittige kerriesmaak? Kiest u maar!

Dit is ook een lekkere traktatie om te delen met vrienden tijdens een gezamenlijk etentje, als een snack tijdens het televisie kijken, of voor het middagmaal met een salade.

8 plakjes bladerdeeg van 12 x 12 cm
500 gram rundergehakt
1 eetlepel verse peterselie, fijngehakt
1/2 theelepel uienpoeder
1/2 theelepel zwarte peper, gemalen
Mespuntje nootmuskaat
1 theelepel zout
1 ei, geklopt
2 eetlepels panko of broodkruimels

Leg de plakjes bladerdeeg op het aanrecht om ze te ontdooien. Meng het vlees met de peterselie en de specerijen, voeg de helft van het ei toe en de volledige broodkruimels. Meng het nogmaals, en rol het dan in een grote worst. Verdeel het in acht gelijke stukken en rol ieder stuk uit tot een stammetje, ongeveer 10 cm, iets korter dan de lengte van het bladerdeeg.

Heat the oven to 225C. Plaats ieder worstje op de ene helft van het plakje bladerdeeg, strijk een beetje ei op de randjes en vouw de andere helft er over heen. Druk de lange kant vast met de tanden van een vork. Nadat u alle acht plakjes bladerdeeg gevouwen heeft, strijk de bovenkant dan in met de rest van het ei. Leg een blaadje bakpapier op een bakplaat, leg de saucijzenbroodjes er op en bak ze in de oven voor ongeveer 20 minuten, of totdat ze mooi goudbruin zijn.

Het lekkerste warm uit de oven of lauw gegeten - bewaar ze anders in de koelkast en gebruik ze binnen een dag.


If you're a fan of Carnaval, and if you find yourself in the southern regions of the country in the next week or so, you are in luck! This year, February is the month that the traditionally Catholic parts of the Netherlands celebrate this colorful festival, but the planning for these events already started on November 11 of last year. During these meetings, princes are elected to rule the temporary kingdoms, routes need to be established, floats designed, costumes is an unstoppable beehive of activity that involves many members of a community.

All this hard work culminates, during the five days before and after the weekend of February 11th, in a myriad of activities. The party starts on Thursday and ends the morning of Ash Wednesday. In the province of Limburg especially, carnaval is a colorful revelry of non-stop music, dancing, laughter and drinking, five days long. Five days long!!! (If you want to see what carnaval is all about, check out the excellent documentary "Nao Ut Zuuje",about carnaval in the city of Venlo)

As you can imagine, all that physical energy has to be fed and maintained somehow – and in the southeastern part of the province, it's the deep fried nonnevotten that provide that much needed fuel. The combination of grease, sugar, carbs and warmth provide enough energy to keep going, especially when it’s cold outside. And with carnaval being so early this year, it's bound to be a chilly one!

Nonnevotten are pillowy knots of deep fried dough, rolled in sugar, and are traditionally from the city of Sittard, in Limburg. Their name translates as "nuns' bums" but it is unclear where the name comes from. Some claim it's because the pastries are tied into a knot and look like the bows on the aprons of the Franciscan nuns (another name for the pastry is "strik", bow). Others say "vot" comes from "vod", rags, since the Franciscan sisters presumably exchanged fried goods for donated worn clothing that they would pass on to the poor. So far, I haven't been able to find a reliable and conclusive source for its name, but these two sound plausible.

The nonnevotten are made with flour, milk, yeast, and butter, and are rolled in sugar before being served. In the old days, these knots were great for using up the last of the perishable ingredients before Lent kicked in, but they proved to be so popular that they can be found in bakeries year round. Nonnevotten are best eaten warm and fresh straight from the baker’s store. 

Somehow the whole "let's-party-like-it's-going-to-be-Lent-in-five-days" doesn't really work when you live so far away from it all.  I cherish the memories of walking in the carnaval parades with my grandma Pauline, tossing candy to the kids, long days going from village to village dressed up either individually or in a group - it was a lot of fun!

So, although I don't dress up anymore, am not dancing any polonaises anytime soon, or even engage in loud song singing while dressed in a colorful costume, I will honor this traditional festivity by frying nonnevotten. Just because I'm not a part of the carnaval festivities back home, doesn't mean I have to forego all pleasures. Time to whip up a batch of dough and fry up some sugary, doughy goodies! Alaaaffff!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

1/2 cup (125 ml) milk, lukewarm
3 teaspoons (10 gr.) active dry yeast*
1 3/4 cup (250 gr.) flour
5 tablespoons (60 gr.) butter, melted and room temperature
2 tablespoons (20 gr.) sugar

Fryer oil (sunflower, canola, rapeseed....)
Deep fryer or fryer pan for stove top

Sprinkle the yeast over the surface of the lukewarm milk. The larger the surface, the better so that all the single particles can expand in the liquid, and not clump together. Set it aside so that it can proof. This should not take long, a good five minutes, where the yeast will start forming small bubbles.

While you wait for the yeast to proof, mix the flour and sugar together in a bowl and check the oil in your fryer. Make sure it's clean and that you have enough oil.

Pour the warm milk with the yeast in the bowl with the flour, add the melted butter and knead everything together into a scraggly dough. Continue to knead the dough for five or six minutes on the counter top until it's smooth. Roll it into a ball, put it back into the bowl and cover it. Let rest and rise for about 30 to 40 minutes in a warm spot.

After the dough has risen, take it out of the bowl onto the counter, and roll it into a log, with just a few strokes. Divide the dough into six equal parts. Roll each part into a long rope, about 16 inches (about 40 cm) long, place a loose knot in it and set aside until all ropes are done. Some bakers tie one single knot, others wrap the dough ends twice, so take your pick. After you've knotted the dough, cover them loosely with plastic wrap, and let the nonnevotten rest and rise for at least fifteen to twenty minutes, while you heat the oil.

Heat the fryer or a skillet with oil to 350F/180C. Fry two or three nonnevotten at a time until golden-brown, but don't crowd the pan. Stack them on a plate with paper towels to drain some of the fat, and when cooled down, roll in sugar.

Enjoy warm or cold, and have a wonderful, fun and safe Carnaval!

* Or 30 grams fresh yeast.


It's actually called "breakfast cake", this ontbijtkoek, but Dutch spice bread seems a more appropriate term in English. Favored by young and old, ontbijtkoek is an integral part of the breakfast table in Holland. It also shows up as a quick pick-me-up around four o'clock with a cup of tea, and it performs as the key ingredient for a children's birthday game called "koekhappen", i.e. cake nipping. This is where slices of ontbijtkoek are strung on a piece of wire or string and held above the heads of blindfolded children. Like birds in a nest, they strain their little necks up, mouths open wide, in hope of catching a crumb. The joke for the grownups is of course to lower the cake within reach and then yank it up, so that the kids bite into air instead of a sweet treat. One of the commercials that still has me laughing out loud is this one for a famous ontbijtkoek brand.

Ontbijtkoek, just like that other Dutch favorite, honey cake, is traditionally not baked at home. Not many breads or cakes are any more, unfortunately, and these breakfast beauties are mostly produced commercially. But heck, I wouldn't be Dutch if I didn't at least try, and I am glad to say that the homemade version is close enough, or perhaps even better, than the store-bought version. Go on, have a try! For a gluten-free version, substitute 2 cups (300 grams) of Bob's Red Mill GF flour for the two cups of flour in the recipe.

1 cup rye flour (150g)
1 cup all purpose flour (150g)
3 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon each cardamom, ginger, coriander, and ground cloves
1/2 cup dark brown sugar (100g)
1/4 cup dark molasses* (80g)
1/2 cup honey (150g)
1 cup milk (235ml)
Pinch of salt

Mix everything together into a smooth batter. Heat the oven to 325F/160C, grease a 9 x 5 inch (23 x 13 cm) rectangular cake pan, pour the batter in, and bake on the middle rack. Check after 45 - 50 minutes to see if the cake is done - a toothpick in the middle should come out clean. If not, bake for another 5 to 10 minutes, or until done.

Cool on a rack, then wrap and store in plastic wrap for that extra sticky outside crust. Eat sliced with a lick of good butter.

*For readers in the UK and Australia, apparently molasses can be substituted with black treacle. I will be testing this next week, using Tate & Lyle's black treacle, just to make sure.  

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The tompouce, or tompoes, is a traditional Dutch pastry that is often served with afternoon coffee or at celebratory events like birthdays. It's similar to what's known as a Napoleon here in the United States, Napoleonbakelse in Sweden and Finland, and Napoleon-cake in Norway and Denmark. In Holland and Belgium it is called a tompoes, or tompouce (Tom Thumb). The odd coincidence that both Napoleon (Bonaparte) and Tom Thumb were vertically challenged may not be such a coincidence after all, but I would have to look into that a little further. Other countries, with perhaps less inclination towards fairy tale or historic nomenclature, just call the pastries custard or vanilla slices. What sets the Dutch variety apart is the sickeningly sweet Peptobismol-esque pink icing, often topped with a complimentary white stripe of whipped cream, as if the caloric content from the pastry itself was not enough.

It's a pastry that is much favored by all and, as the national sense of humor dictates, is the traditional choice for being served when one is visiting with one's family inlaws for the first time or when one has to make a good impression of oneself and is now challenged with having to eat a pastry that is going to fall to pieces the moment one bites into one end. Both the tompoes and the Bossche Bol, which I'll bake sometime soon, are the two top pastries that are a devil to eat, either by hand or with cutlery, without making an absolute mess.

But in case you were in a situation where manners do not matter, the easiest way to consume this lovely baked good is to grab the bottom layer firmly between thumb and index and attack it, one bite at a time, short side first.

1 cup of milk
1 vanilla bean (or 1 tablespoon of vanilla flavoring)
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup of sugar
1/4 cup of flour
pinch of salt
1 sheet of puff pastry
1 egg, beaten

Warm the milk, add the vanilla bean and steep for 15 minutes. Mix the egg yolks with the sugar, add the salt and add flour, one tablespoon. Stir until creamy.

Take the vanilla bean out of the milk, open it up and scrape out the seeds (or add the vanilla essence to the milk) and stir. Take one tablespoon of warm milk and stir it into the egg yolk mix, then stir in the rest of the flour. Carefully stir all this back into the warm milk into the pan, put it back on a low heat and stir until it becomes a thick mass. Take off the stove and cover with a piece of plastic, to avoid forming a skin when it cools down.

Heat the oven to 400F. Spray a baking sheet or pan with cooking spray. Cut the puff pastry sheet in 4 equal rectangular sections and place them on the baking sheet. Brush the top with the beaten egg and bake for fifteen minutes, or until the dough has puffed up and is golden brown. Remove from the oven, and taking care not to burn your fingers, quickly and carefully pull the top from the bottom sheet. Set all eight pieces aside on a rack to cool.

For the icing
3 heaping tablespoons of powdered sugar
2 teaspoons of milk
1 drop of red food coloring

Mix the sugar with one teaspoon of milk and the food coloring. Stir until blended, then add the remaining milk to make a quick icing.

Take the bottom part of one of the baked puff pastries and spread the cooled down vanilla cream on it. Top it with its corresponding top half of the pastry. When all four are done, carefully spread the pink icing on top: let it dry and eat!


 "Koffie met appeltaart", coffee with apple pie, what a traditional Dutch way of celebrating eh...anything! City cafés that want to lure customers in will advertise homemade, overly delicious apple pie on their street signs. Spend a couple of hours at an outdoor market and the smell of freshly baked apple pie will draw you in: don't fight it, but just give in. Sit down at one of the many outdoor terrasjes, or patios, that the cafés have, order a koffie verkeerd or a hot cup of tea, and let yourself be treated to a traditional Dutch apple pie. It's probably one of the first pies that young people learn how to bake and it's one of those delicacies that grandma's are usually very, very good at making.

With all due respect, the apple pies sold as Dutch apple pie here in the United States are wonderful......but not very Dutch. I'm actually not entirely sure why they're called Dutch, something to look into. Perhaps it stems from the Pennsylvania Dutch, which aren't actually Dutch at all, but Deutsch which means "German". A classic Dutch apple pie is loaded with fresh apples and raisins and stand at least a good 2.5 to 3 inches high, with a lattice top.

The dough is made with butter and eggs and the apples are flavored with lemon juice and speculaas spices. It's usually baked in a springform and shows the filling through an elaborate lattice cover. It's seems like a lot of work, but trust me: it's so worth it! Try a variety of apples for a more complex flavor, f.ex. three Honeycrisp, three Roma and two Granny Smith.

Grandmother's Dutch Apple Pie
For the dough
2 cups (300 grams) all purpose flour
1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
1.5 stick ( 150 grams) butter, cold
2 tablespoons of ice cold water
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon of salt

Mix the flour with the sugar and cut in the butter until the flour turns into small pea-size pellets. Add 2 tablespoons of ice cold water, the egg and the salt and quickly knead the dough into a cohesive whole. Add more ice water if the dough is too dry. Pat into an oval, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

For the filling
8 small apples, peeled and cored (approx 2 lbs/1 kg)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup (250 grams) golden raisins, soaked*
1 tablespoon speculaas spices
2 tablespoons custard or vanilla pudding powder
2 tablespoons panko or unseasoned breadcrumbs
1/2 cup (100 grams) sugar

1 egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon heavy cream
1 tablespoon coarse sugar (or regular sugar)

Quarter the apples and slice them thin. Toss them with the lemon juice, raisins, speculaas spices, custard powder and sugar. Set aside. Cut the crust off the bread and cut it into small cubes.

Butter a 9 inch spring form. Take the dough out of the refrigerator and remove 1/3th of the dough. Roll the rest into a large circle and line the bottom and sides of the form with the dough. Do not crimp. Sprinkle the panko or unseasoned breadcrumbs on the bottom of the dough, and pour in the apple mix. It's okay to push it down so as to fit more, that way the slices will stick better together and make it easier to cut into neat pie slices. Roll the rest of the dough out and cut into 6 wide strips. Place three strips crossing from left to right, the other three from right to left. Press lightly where the strip connects with the pie dough and remove any hangover dough from the rim. Brush the lattice with the egg and cream, and sprinkle the sugar on top of the dough. Bake in an 375 F degree oven for approximately 1 hour.

Let the pie cool on a rack, then cut into generous pieces and serve with a slightly sweetened dollop of whipped cream. Sit back and enjoy your hard labor: you deserved it!

Tip: you can also make five single serve hand pies out of the same amount. The small ones freeze well and are good to have around in case company shows up, or in case you feel like celebrating something. And if you have nothing to celebrate, you could celebrate the fact that you have nothing to celebrate!

* Soak the raisins in warm apple juice, a little bit of rum, or use boerenjongens. Lovely! And if you don't like raisins, don't put them in. Try cranberries, or walnuts, pecans...just make it your own!