Poffertjes (little Dutch pancakes)

We are keeping the Continental theme going here at LondonEats, but taking it up a level to something that does need a bit of specialist equipment.

One of the oddest looking items in my kitchen has the shape of a frying pan but with about 20 dimples in it. While I am sure this would offer a very nifty way to batch-fry quail’s eggs, this is in fact a pan for making poffertjes, aka mini Dutch pancakes. These are about 3cm across, and are served with butter and icing sugar. When I bought it, I actually had no idea what poffertjes were, but the thing looked so intriguing (and only cost 5 euro), so I went for it. When I told my Dutch friends what I had found and that I intended to make poffertjes, I was greeted with blank stares. This is the sort of thing you would get at fairs in the Netherlands (and somewhat bizarrely, increasingly in London), but they said that normally they would just buy them, pre-made (shudder), from the local store. As with many things, home-made is so much better, and I was resolved to press on regardless.

But how to make them? You could buy the mixture and add water, but that is (1) cheating, (2) less satisfying, and (3) you don’t really know what is in there. So I looked for a recipe. Some just involved a bit of flour, milk, egg and baking powder. This sounds like the usual pancake recipe and would be plausible, but then I learned about the secret – you need to use part buckwheat flour and include yeast in the recipe. This is a bit more work, but the taste is un-be-lieve-able. With the recipe I use, the poffertjes are in effect savoury, if not slightly salty, with a nutty wholesome flavour from the buckwheat. Once they are done, you could be sophisticated and dust over a little icing sugar and add a pat of butter, or do what the Dutch seem to do – drench them in icing sugar and then drown them in melted salty butter. Not perhaps the healthiest, but one of the most utterly delicious, buttery treats I have ever had.

If you can get hold of the right pan (the Dutch homeware store HEMA is a good bet, with branches in Belgium and Germany too), then these really are worth having a go at. Kids and Dutch people will love you all the more for making them.

To make poffertjes:

• 125g plain flour
• 125g buckwheat flour
• 1 egg, beaten
• 250ml milk
• 250ml water
• 15g fresh yeast or 1 packet dried yeast
• 50g melted butter, cooled
• pinch of salt

Dissolve the yeast in three tablespoons of lukewarm milk and put to one side.

In a large bowl, mix the plain and buckwheat flours. Add the yeast mixture, the milk and the water to make a thick batter. You want something that looks like pancake batter – basically, the mixture should flow from the back of a wooden spoon, but should not flow too quickly. You may find that you don’t need all the water, so don’t add it all at once.

Now add the salt, melted butter and the egg, and mix well.

Cover the bowl with a damp teacloth, and leave somewhere warm for at least half an hour until the mixture is covered in small bubbles.

To cook the poffertjes, lightly grease the pan with a little butter (if the pan is no-stick, you won’t need to do this). Heat the pan on a medium heat. Fill a sauce bottle (one with a small nozzle), and then squirt the mix into the pan (saves fiddling with spoons or a piping bag). The mixture will swell slightly as the yeast gets jiggy, so don’t over-fill. When the top of the poffertje is almost dry, flip over and cook briefly on the other side.

Once all the poffertjes are cooked, serve with melted butter and icing sugar.

Worth making? Absolutely yes! This might all seem like a bit of a faff, but they are fun to serve and are utterly delicious. It actually takes about 5 minutes to make the batter, and about 15 minutes to cook them. If you see a poffertjes pan on your travels, buy it immediately!

37 Comments

Filed under Recipe, Sweet Things

37 responses to “Poffertjes (little Dutch pancakes)

  1. Oh I love these … where on earth shall I find a pan on this side of the globe?

    • Thanks – they are always popular. A lot of stores seem to ship these pans, so in my view really worth trying to get hold of one.

      I love your blog too – fantastic pictures, really bright and sunny!

  2. Sunshine

    I love poffertjes, as long as there is not too much butter on them. I’ve only had them in the Netherlands–I am now making a list of things I want to try from the Russell bakery when I’m back in London!

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  4. ranju

    Hi i really love making the pofferjels its so yummy please send me more of your recipes thank you Ranju

  5. Delores VanCartier

    I love, love, love poffertjes. Butter, whipped cream and icing sugar is what it needs.
    I have yet been unable to find a poffertjespan to buy online or in a shop. Maybe it is just too dutch. Also, where is the best place to buy buckwheat?

    Your recipe has 50/50 buckwheat and plain flour, but I have traditionally always made these with 100% buckwheat.

  6. Delores VanCartier

    Whipped cream is a tradional topping for poffertjes.

    I looked in HEMA and BLOKKER last time i was in Brussels but they didn’t have one, neither did they know what I was talking about. I think perhaps Brussels is a bit too French for poffertjes. The Flemish will be more familiar with it.

    • How odd, I bought my pan in Brussels. In HEMA when it was back on the Chausee d’Ixelles. I need to buy one this weekend, so I can let you know if I am successful.

    • Cool, then I will present the whipped cream to my Dutch friends next time. Thanks for the tip!

      The pan – how odd you didn’t find one in HEMA, as I bought mine there – and in Brussels (the former store on the Chausee d’Ixelles). I need to look for a new one there this weekend, so I can let you know if I am successful. I’m sure they are easier in Flanders though.

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  9. As a Dutch girl I love this post. Poffertjes are the best:)

  10. These are great! I bought a cast iron pan from ebay a few years back and have been cooking these every few weeks. Must must try the yeast and buckwheat version!

    • Thanks! I really recommend this recipe – the buckwheat is apparently traditional, and does give it that earthy, nutty flavour. Delicious covered in icing sugar and melted salted butter.

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  12. I love these. Am looking for the pan myself 🙂

  13. Awesome! In America we cook them in a skillet just like a pancake and call them Silver Dollars! http://www.tablespoon.com/recipes/silver-dollar-pancakes-recipe/2/

  14. Thanks ever so much for making these hip and happening again in my (Dutch) kitchen. My late grandfather used to be the king of poffertjes. We, his grandchildren, sat on the kitchenfloor, while he provided us with a neverending amount of hot poffertjes, indeed drenched in butter (unsalted by the way) and with oodles of powdered sugar. The butter melted due to the heat of the poffertjes and made an instant sauce with the sugar … sigh … sweet memories …
    I thought making them myself was too much of a bother and I absolutely loathe the pre-fab ones; but when a British bloke writes one of his most popular posts about my own Dutch heritage? I considered it a challenge and a good moment to let my children now have a taste of family and using the cast iron poffertjes-pan that had been hiding for two decades in my kitchencabinet (just the fond memories of my granddad kept me from giving it to the charityshop); I really don’t know if he made them from scratch, he might as well used the supermarketmixes. But my children really loved this recipe (made it glutenfree by the way, one of them has to eat Celiac safe) and it was hardly anymore work than the scones I bake for them on a monthly basis.

  15. Grainne

    Any news on where to get a pan in the UK? Would love to try my hand at these. Thanks x

    • Hi Grainne – afraid that I have not seen one in the UK in a store. They are sold in Belgium and the Netherlands in the HEMA homeware store (and it’s quite affordable too), so if you are travelling or have a friend there, that’s one way. Otherwise online is your best bet via something like Amazon.

      Best of luck – highly recommended!

  16. Hey Russell!

    I’ve just discovered your blog and I love all the Dutch recipes on it! I’m a Dutchie myself, so I know just how good things like poffertjes and oranjekoek are😉
    I’ve actually just started a little food blog of my own, and while most of the recipes are not typically Dutch, my first post was about my favorite Dutch cookie: ‘kletskoppen’, which roughly translates into “chattyheads”. You may have even tried them on one of your trips to our beautiful (rainy) country!

    Anyway, love the blog!

  17. Janice Wiskamp

    Bought my pan in Scottsdale, AZ at the Mekong Market! Try Asian stores in your area!

  18. Catherine Jenkins

    There is a pan available on Achica this week, have ordered myself one!
    http://www.achica.com/product/1157631/patisse-pancake-pan

  19. Cynthia

    Wow, quite a few Dutchies reading your blog (me too!). My mother used to make these when we were young; nowadays we tend to go out and get some in a nice local “Poffertjeshuis” with view over the harbour. However, they are appearing in various London markets now as “Dutch Dippers” with all kinds of weird sauces and toppings. It’s just wrong…(then again, I like pineapple on pizza, so who am I to play food cop).

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