Poffertjes, also known as Dutch pancakes are a traditional treat in the Netherlands that resemble baby pancakes. They are sold in market stalls all over the country, especially around holiday times, which is when I was last in Holland.
I wasn’t able to find much on the origins of poffertjes but from what I could find online it appears that they actually originated in a monastery in France around 1795. There was a shortage of flour at the time so they monks started making them with buckwheat flour, which is why the recipe still calls for buckwheat flour today. The recipe was passed down and it was eventually brought to the Netherlands region by marketpeople who marched with Napoleon. Over the years they became so affiliated with Holland that they became known as Dutch pancakes!
Unlike silver dollar pancakes in the U.S. (or pikelets in Australia) that are made using a standard pancaked griddle, poffertjes are made using a special pan with indentations. These indentations allow the batter to continuously rise during the cooking process, which gives the poffertjes a more rounded shape.
Aebleskivers are a similar German version but use pans with even larger indentations, which allows you to fill them with jam, cream or whatever suits your fancy. My dad has been making ebleskivers for quite a while using a pan from Williams-Sonoma in the U.S.
We have an electric poffertjes pan at home and the recipe that we used, which turned out very nicely is just the one that came with the pan!
- 125g flour
- 125g buckwheat flour (can also use plain flour but buckwheat is more traditional)
- 1 egg
- 250ml milk
- 250ml water
- 15g fresh yeast (or 1 sachet of dry yeast)
- 50g salted butter
- pinch of salt
- Dissolve yeast in 3 tbsp of warm milk.
- Mix the flour with the buckwheat flour. Stir the flour, yeast, milk and water together to make a smooth batter. Adjust the quantity of the water to make sure that the batter doesn’t run too easily from the spoon but is also not too thick.
- Stir the salt, melted butter and beaten egg through the batter. The batter should be lukewarm.
- Set the batter, covered with a moist tea towel, in a warm place (next to a heater, in the sun or in an oven at 50C) an allow it to rise for at least 30 minutes.
- Pour the batter into the Dutch Pancake Maker, but do not fill the batter to the brim of each hole.
- Flip using toothpicks or skewers halfway through cooking.
- Serve with your favorite sauce or icing sugar.