Dessert: Poffertjes

Poffertjes are a Dutch traditional sweet treat. On open air markets, fairgrounds and in cities, you will find street vendors with their wheeled booths preparing these small, fat, fluffy pancakes for you as you wait, or even the traditional, 19th century  ‘poffertjeskraam’, beautifully adorned with statuettes, cut and stained glass windows, mirrors, and colourful woodwork.

Poffertjes in the center of Amsterdam

It’s a treat in itself to visit such a place, and watch the chef at work, in his whites, filling the shallow hollows in the huge, gas-heated hotplate in front of him with a liquid batter. After a few minutes, he flips the now puffed-up ‘poffertjes’ over, and when they are nicely browned and done, he’ll serve them, freshly-made and piping hot, in portions of 6 on a cardboard plate, with a dollop of butter and a generous sprinkling of icing sugar, and a small, disposable wooden fork. 

The real thing, not to be missed, when you’re in Holland!

Poffertjes are not difficult to prepare, but a special cast-iron pan (in the Netherlands also available in aluminium with non-stick coating) with shallow indentations in the bottom is required. Which doesn’t mean that you can’t try and make some at home. A very small skillet (gourmet-size) will work!

(Both Misha and Kinneret are very fond of poffertjes. They received the cast iron ‘poffertjespan’ as seen in the picture as a wedding gift from Monique.)

You will need:

  • 3.5 oz. flour, sieved
  • pinch of salt 
  • 1 oz. sugar
  • 1 tsp dried yeast
  • 1 egg (free range)
  • 4 fl. oz. milk (full fat), lukewarm
  • melted butter for baking
  • cold butter and icing sugar for serving

  1. Mix the dry ingredients, mix the egg and milk
  2. Gradually add the wet mixture to the dry mixture, stir until all lumps have gone
  3. Pour the batter in a measuring jar, cover and leave to prove for 1,5 hour
  4. Heat up your skillet, brush the hot pan with a few drops of melted butter
  5. Pour a thing layer into the pan, watch the batter puff up
  6. Turn when the surface is dry and pitted
  7. Serve hot, with butter and icing sugar

The poffertjes we had at Misha and Kinneret’s wedding, were store-bought - a fast and convenient way to serve a traditional Dutch dessert, in the absence of the necessary utensils. This readymade variety can be heated in the microwave of oven.

On (in Dutch…) there is a great page full of information on ‘poffertjes’.