Poffertjes, Dutch-style buckwheat mini-pancakes
From a news standpoint, this last week has been horrible and it’s not even over yet. Every time I turn on the TV, or pull up a web page, it’s tragedy after tragedy (murders at home, to the aftershock of Orlando), or grown-ups yelling at each other like petulant, spoiled children, and the horrible incident at Disney World Tuesday night was the straw that broke me.
Growing up in Florida, the threat of alligators is all too real, and my biggest fear as a kid after yearly trips to the Everglades and living on a gator-infested lake was to be attacked by one. I’d have nightmares about it, and for that to happen at one of my favorite places in the world- last night, after being engrossed in it all day, I had to turn it off, to retreat to my happy place of Beauty and the Beast and Mary Poppins, armed with some mint chocolate chip ice cream and snuggles with Crawley. Escapism, I can be a pro.
Memories of happy times past also came to mind, and here we are back in Amsterdam.
2005, in case you forgot.
Geneva was early-in, early-out which meant Amsterdam was early-in, and our moods that first day were NOT good. Our quartet split up as we waited for our hostel to be ready and after some aimless wandering for a few hours, the four of us took a much needed nap and then celebrated our newly refreshed moods with dinner- at the Hard Rock Café.
I know- this is like, the big traveler no-no, but after being away from home for over a month that this point, we all just needed burger, fries and refillable Coke with ice. And I’m not going to lie, it was glorious.
Our time in Amsterdam did end up being a nice one, we saw the sights, some museum, some brewery and even made our way out of the city to eat some cheese at a little farm, and thus began my love affair with smoked gouda.
As for food, besides our HRC field trip, we stuck to the streets, eating cones of French fries with mayo and pastry after pastry, leaving the city fatter and happier for sure.
For some advice on what we perhaps should have eaten, I’ve consulted my go-to Dutch consultant, Marshmallow, and she suggested poffertjes, little silver dollar yeast pancakes, served simply with powdered sugar. She said, I quote, “I ate poffertjes with fresh strawberries while sitting next to a canal in Amsterdam and it was magical.”
No canal here, and unfortunately I don’t have the special pan needed to make these (because that would be an extraneous kitchen gadget) but I took a page out of her book with the strawberries and my trusty cast iron did the trick for the rest. They may not have come out nice and round, but they did come out as the puffiest pancakes that I’ve ever made, and that was a good enough result for me.
I think you can use an ebelskiver pan if you have one, and that would work. Otherwise, don’t sweat.
These aren’t super sweet- there is almost no sugar in the batter- that goes on top.
Typically make with buckwheat flour (and since I had some leftover from the crepes), I used that. It’s an acquired taste, so if you prefer all-purpose flour, go with your flow.
- 250 grams (1 2/3 cup) buckwheat flour
- 2 TB sugar
- 350 ml (1 1/2 cups) milk
- pinch of salt
- 1 packet active dry yeast (about 7 grams)
- 1 egg
- 2 TB unsalted butter, for the pan
- powdered sugar, for serving
- strawberries, for serving
- Heat the milk until it’s a warm to the touch, but not too hot to kill the yeast. Mix in the sugar and yeast. Wait until the mixture becomes foamy, this will take about 5 to 10 minutes.
- In a separate bowl, combine the salt and flour.
- Slowly add the yeast mixture and egg and whisk until the batter is smooth. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and let it rest in a warm place for about an hour, until the batter volume has doubled in size.
- Pour the batter in a disposable piping-bag without a nozzle.
- Heat a cast iron skilled on medium heat and place a little butter in the pan, about 2 tsp. When the butter is hot, pipe the batter into silver dollar rounds.
- Flip the pancakes after about two minutes, or until golden brown. Serve them hot with some butter, strawberries and powdered sugar.
Written during Beauty and the Beast.