Smothered in butter and icing sugar or topped with whipped cream and strawberries; the fluffy Dutch mini pancake is versatile enough to accommodate a smorgasbord of toppings, sweet or savoury.
Here we’ll explore how you can get the most out of this tasty bite-sized treat.
But firstly, what are Poffertjes?
Dutch mini pancakes are commonly thought to have their origins in the Netherlands. However, just like the lamington, (don’t’ worry we won’t go there!) doubt exists between the French and Dutch over who first invented them. One theory is that when French monks were faced with a wheat flour shortage, they started adding buckwheat flour to their little pancakes, which were used as communion bread (buckwheat remains a signature ingredient in Poffertjes today). Whatever their origins, there’s no disputing Poffertjes have become an enduring street snack in the Netherlands.
Dutch mini pancakes are made in a special Poffertjes pan, featuring numerous depressions which give the little puffs their distinctive shape. Unlike Aussie pancakes Poffertjes contain yeast and are left to rise before cooking, this creates the classic, light and spongy texture they are famous for. In fact, the Dutch name stems from poffen which means ‘puff up’ and refers to the pancakes’ airy texture.
How should I eat them?
Poffertjes batters traditionally contain no sugar (or only a miniscule amount). We therefore think you are practically duty bound to load them up with your favourite sugary treats!
Traditionally the Dutch eat their mini pancakes slathered in butter and buried in icing sugar. Some street vendors add cinnamon and vanilla extract to the butter for extra flavour. Poffertjes are also traditionally served with stroop (a syrup made by boiling down fruit like apple or pear).
In Australia, stroop being hard to come by, maple syrup is a popular alternative. We also reckon Poffertjes are amazing topped with chocolate or caramel syrup or strawberries and cream. The options are literally endless. Our advice: you cannot go wrong! Follow your heart and create your own toppings.
Give your Poffertjes a savoury twist
While we believe it’s almost impossible to go past sweet Poffertjes, if you’re in the mood for something savoury these versatile little cakes are up to the task.
The Dutch often serve Poffertjes with Gouda cheese. Gouda, a hugely popular Dutch cheese has a somewhat sweet and nutty flavour. If you can’t find Gouda, replace it with Edam or Swiss Gruyere. Don’t limit yourself to cheese though; Dutch mini pancakes can be served with an array of savoury accompaniments, from smoked salmon and avocado to pumpkin and cream cheese. As we mentioned above, the batter is made without sugar so it’s perfect to create savoury meals.
Try Indonesia’s take on the fluffy pancakes
Many Dutch food traditions have been taken up and modified by Indonesians as a result of Dutch colonisation of the South East Asian nation.
Kue Cubit a small pancake, has many similarities to Poffertjes and is believed to be an Indonesian version of the Dutch treat. Indonesians traditionally serve Kue Cubit with chocolate sprinkles, shredded coconut, ground peanuts or even cheddar cheese. They are also known to make pancakes topped with creamed coconut milk and brown sugar syrup.
However you decide to eat your Poffertjes, there’s always another perfect topping idea around the corner. Happy eating!