Poffertjes, nicknamed “mini Dutch pancakes”, and also known as “baby pancakes”, “tiny pancakes” or “puffers”, are one of the most important specialties of the Netherlands.
How to make poffertjes
Poffertjes dough is typically made from half wheat flour and half buckwheat flour, milk, egg, baking powder, and salt. Unlike conventional pancakes, a leavening agent, usually baker’s yeast, is used.
The poffertjes are turned during baking when the dough is not yet fully set. As a result, they are even softer and fluffier on the inside and they become nicely rounded.
In the Netherlands, poffertjes are often served hot on a plate with butter in the middle and are generously dusted with powdered sugar or icing sugar. Variants are available with fruit, ice cream or liqueur like eggnog.
The absolutely essential utensil for making this recipe is a poffertjes pan, or even an electric poffertjes appliance. It is a cast iron electric griddle or pan that makes it easy to cook many mini pancakes at once.
Thanks to the material properties of cast iron, heat is optimally distributed to achieve a uniform result. The poffertjes pan is suitable for cooking on embers or on the fire.
With this plate, it is also possible to cook Danish aebelskiver, Japanese takoyaki, mokari, Malagasy, Indian paniyaram, Norwegian munkers, Russian oladyi, or American mini-pancakes.
What is the origin of poffertjes?
Although the old Dutch poffertjes are emblematic of Holland, their origin is French. During the 1800s, the classic, French-origin pancake made with wheat flour became more difficult to make because 99% of wheat flour had been requisitioned by the French army during the Napoleonic Wars.
At the end of the 18th century, the poffertjes were then made in a monastery where the sacred breads of the church were also made. Due to this shortage of wheat flour, the monks began to experiment and the foundations of the old Dutch poffertjes were laid. The poffertjes were in fact created by experimenting with a mixture of regular wheat flour and buckwheat flour to compensate for this lack of wheat flour.
This modification of the original pancake formula led to the creation of the first recipe for poffertjes.
The recipe then arrived on Dutch soil when Dutch merchants decided to produce and develop this recipe in the Netherlands.
It was therefore around 1815 that the designation poffertjes was created in the Netherlands, making this novelty a delicious, typically Dutch sweet. At the time, poffertjes were also called broedertjes, meaning “brothers”.
Also known as buckwheat, buckwheat (Fagopyrum Esculentum) is naturally gluten-free and is not a cereal, as is often believed, but a polygonacea. The confusion arises from the fact that the properties and food use of buckwheat are similar to those of grains.
In addition to being suitable for a gluten-free diet, buckwheat has remarkable nutritional properties and provides important health benefits.
A source of essential amino acids, buckwheat seeds provide good amounts of lysine, threonine and tryptophan: essential amino acids that the body is unable to produce in sufficient quantities. This is why buckwheat intake is important for the body’s cell renewal.
Among the valuable minerals and vitamins contained in buckwheat, we find: iron, magnesium, potassium, selenium, zinc, copper and some B vitamins. This powerful nutritional mixture makes it an ideal food for all these situations. which we need extra energy. Magnesium and potassium are involved in the mechanisms of lowering blood pressure and for the proper functioning of nerves and muscles.
Selenium, zinc and copper are trace elements which, respectively, help the thyroid gland to function properly, regulate insulin, and are useful in cases of anemia and viral and bacterial inflammation. The vitamins of groups A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, and J contained in buckwheat protect the eyes, maintain healthy skin, are ideal for fighting stress, mood swings, inflammation and above all help overcome chronic fatigue.
With a low glyceric index of 40, buckwheat is available in the form of bread, pasta, gnocchi or flour. The consumption of phytosterols, combined with a correct lifestyle, helps to keep the levels of bad cholesterol in the blood low.
Suitable for diabetics, buckwheat’s content of D-chiro-inositol, linked to insulin production, has been studied for the treatment of diabetes.
Buckwheat flour tends to go rancid easily, so it is advisable not to stock it in large quantities and store it in the refrigerator. Also, it would be even better to grind the beans at home, after lightly roasting them, in order to have a fresher, non-oxidized flour. However, be careful when choosing recipes, remembering that freshly ground flour is better suited to preparations rich in liquids, such as pancake batter, than to dense pasta.
Lorraine Bowen, born in 1961 in Cheltenham (Gloucestershire) a famous English singer, songwriter, actress and musician has composed a famous song about the no less famous Dutch poffertjes.
- 6 tablespoons butter melted, divided (2 tablespoons for the batter and 4 tablespoons for cooking)
- 1 cup buckwheat flour
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon caster sugar
- 1 pinch salt
- 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1 egg
- 1½ cup milk
- Caster sugar or icing sugar
- Mix the all-purpose wheat and buckwheat flours and sift them over the bowl of a stand mixer.
- Dig a well in the center of the flour and pour in the melted butter.
- Sprinkle the yeast evenly over the dough.
- Add the egg.
- Pour in most of the milk and mix the batter until obtaining a fairly thick batter.
- Add milk if necessary.
- Add sugar and salt and mix again.
- Place a warm damp towel on the pan and let stand at room temperature, away from drafts, for 1 hour.
- Pour the batter into a squeeze bottle.
- Place the poffertjes pan on low heat, add a knob of butter in the center of the pan and spread, using a kitchen brush or paper towel. Spread the melted butter in all the holes of the pan.
- Fill each dimple with the batter, three-quarters full.
- Using 2 skewers (or a skewer and a fork), turn the poffertjes over while the batter is still a little wet on top.
- Cook them on both sides until golden brown.
- Serve with a little butter and sprinkle the poffertjes with powdered sugar or sugar.