Poffertjes (Dutch mini pancakes)

Poffertjes (Dutch mini pancakes)

Living abroad comes with unexpected cravings. For me, since moving to the US in 2019, it's been poffertjes. These Dutch mini-pancakes hold a special place in my heart – a memory of strolling through bustling markets, the aroma of warm butter and powdered sugar (poedersuiker in Dutch) drawing me to a vendor with a special cast iron pan.

Deciding to recreate that experience, I drew inspiration from the traditional recipe we used back home. When I served them to my friends, they were a huge hit. Every plate was devoured in minutes, replaced by the inevitable question: "Can I get the recipe?"

So, here it is! This recipe is more than just a list of ingredients; it's a way to bring a taste of the Netherlands to your own kitchen. It's a chance to recreate those warm memories or discover a new favorite for yourself. 

Dutch poffertjes with powdered sugar

What are Poffertjes

Poffertjes (pronounced poof-er-tjes) are a delightful Dutch mini pancake, often enjoyed as a sweet snack or dessert. These miniature pancakes are renowned for their fluffy texture and rich, buttery flavor, making them a beloved treat in the Netherlands and increasingly popular worldwide.

The origin of poffertjes dates back to the 18th century when they were first made in Dutch monasteries. Traditionally, poffertjes are made from a batter consisting of buckwheat flour, regular wheat flour, yeast, milk, and eggs. This combination of ingredients gives them a unique texture that is both light and slightly chewy, differentiating them from the more common American-style pancakes.

Poffertjes are typically served warm and generously topped with a pat of butter and a dusting of powdered sugar. The butter melts over the hot pancakes, mingling with the sugar to create a delicious, sweet glaze. While this classic preparation is beloved, poffertjes can also be enjoyed with a variety of toppings such as syrup, whipped cream, or fresh fruits, allowing for endless customization to suit personal tastes.

Just like Dutch stroopwafels, poffertjes are often found at street markets, fairs, and festive occasions, where they are cooked fresh and served hot to eager crowds. The experience of watching a skilled vendor expertly flip poffertjes in their specialized pan (poffertjes pan) adds to their charm and appeal.

Browned poffertjes ready to be taken out of the pan

Poffertjes pan

A poffertjes pan is a specialized cooking tool essential for making these Dutch mini pancakes called poffertjes. It features several shallow, round indentations where batter is poured to create small, fluffy pancakes. These pans are typically made from cast iron or aluminum for even heat distribution.
Poffertjes pans are available online and in specialty kitchenware stores, perfect for recreating this beloved Dutch treat at home or for festive gatherings.

If you don't have a poffertjes pan, you can still enjoy similar pancakes at home. While traditional poffertjes require a specialized pan for their characteristic shape, you can use a mini pancake pan or even a regular non-stick frying pan with small circular molds. I've even seen people use Aebleskiver pans to make them, although it's important not to confuse the two treats.

A poffertjes pan used to make the Dutch mini pancakes

Aebleskiver vs. Poffertjes

Aebleskiver (or Ebelskivers) are Danish pancake balls filled with fruit or jam, cooked in spherical pans. They may seem similar to Dutch poffertjes but they have distinct characteristic.

The key difference lies in the batter and cooking methods. Poffertjes are lighter and airier due to the yeast, while aebleskiver have a denser chew. Additionally, poffertjes from a poffertjes pan are cooked in smaller indentations (around 1 ⅝ inches) compared to the aebleskiver pan (around 2 ⅜ inches), which allows for the fillings in the Danish treat.

Poffertjes recipe

Portions: This recipe is good for approximately 3 to 4 portions of poffertjes.
Time: The preparation process for these miniature pancakes is straightforward and can be completed in about 30 minutes

Ingredient list 

  • 150g buckwheat flour
  • 100g all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 250ml lukewarm milk
  • 2 eggs
  • Butter, for cooking
  • Powdered sugar, for dusting

Instructions

Follow these simple steps to master traditional Dutch poffertjes and impress your friends and family with this authentic dessert.

1. Prepare the Batter

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the buckwheat flour, all-purpose flour, instant yeast, and sugar. Mix well to ensure the dry ingredients are evenly distributed.
  • Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the lukewarm milk. Whisk gently to incorporate the milk into the flour mixture, ensuring there are no lumps.
  • Crack the eggs into the batter and whisk until smooth and well combined. The batter should have a consistency similar to pancake batter but slightly thicker. If necessary, add a little more milk to achieve the desired consistency.
  • Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap and let the batter rest in a warm place for about 30 minutes. This resting period allows the yeast to activate and helps develop the flavor of the batter.

2. Preheat the Poffertjes Pan

  • While the batter is resting, preheat your poffertjes pan over medium heat. It's essential to ensure the pan is evenly heated before cooking to prevent uneven cooking of the poffertjes.

3. Cooking the Poffertjes

  • Once the pan is hot, add a small piece of butter to each indentation of the pan. Allow the butter to melt and coat the bottom of each indentation.
  • Using a spoon or a small ladle, carefully fill each indentation about two-thirds full with batter. The batter will spread slightly as it cooks, so avoid overfilling.
  • Cook the poffertjes for about 2-3 minutes or until small bubbles start to form on the surface and the bottoms are golden brown. Use a fork or a wooden skewer to gently lift one edge of a poffertje to check for doneness.
  • Once the bottoms are golden brown, carefully flip each poffertje using a fork or a wooden skewer. Cook for an additional 1-2 minutes or until the other side is also golden brown and cooked through.
  • Repeat the filling, cooking, and flipping process until all indentations are filled and cooked.
Poffertjes being prepared in a poffertjes pan

4. Serve

  • Transfer the cooked poffertjes to a serving plate. Dust generously with powdered sugar while they are still warm, allowing the sugar to melt slightly over the poffertjes.
  • Serve immediately as poffertjes are best enjoyed warm. They can be served plain with powdered sugar or with additional toppings such as syrup, whipped cream, or fresh fruit.

5. Enjoy

Enjoy your homemade poffertjes as a delicious and comforting Dutch treat! Make sure to share these Dutch mini pancakes with friends and family while they are still warm for a delightful experience. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this recipe. Try it out and let me know in the comments how they turn out! I can't wait to see your delicious poffertjes.

Poffertjes plated with powdered sugar

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How long can I store poffertjes if I don't serve them immediately?
A: Poffertjes are best enjoyed fresh from the pan. However, if you can't serve them right away or if you make an extra batch, you can store them in the refrigerator for up to 2 days or in the freezer for 2-3 months.

Q: Can I use only all-purpose flour instead of a mix with buckwheat flour?
A: Yes, you can use only all-purpose flour, but the traditional poffertjes recipe uses buckwheat flour for its unique flavor and texture.

Q: Can I prepare the batter in advance? A: Yes, you can prepare the poffertjes batter in advance and refrigerate it for up to 24 hours. Allow the batter to come to room temperature before cooking.

Q: Can I make poffertjes without eggs?
A: Yes, you can make a vegan version of poffertjes by using egg substitutes like flax eggs (1 tablespoon ground flaxseed mixed with 3 tablespoons water per egg) or commercial egg replacers.

Q: Can I make gluten-free poffertjes?
 A: Yes, you can make gluten-free poffertjes by using a gluten-free flour blend in place of the all-purpose flour and ensuring the buckwheat flour is certified gluten-free.

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About the author: Bianca Letens

Bianca Letens, co-founder and owner of the Dutch Waffle Company, transformed her childhood love for Dutch stroopwafels into a thriving business. Growing up in the Netherlands, Bianca was surrounded by rich culinary traditions that sparked her passion for authentic Dutch sweets.

In 2019, Bianca and her co-founder launched the Dutch Waffle Company in Nappanee, Indiana, with a clear vision: to offer the freshest and most traditional stroopwafels in the United States. Their dedication to quality and authenticity quickly gained popularity, with the brand’s products expanding across the country.

Among Bianca’s proudest achievements is the success of the No-Bake Stroopwafel Pie Crust, a new product that has become a customer favorite. Bianca’s commitment to inclusivity is evident in her efforts to provide gluten-free and vegan options, ensuring that everyone can enjoy the delights of stroopwafels.

A key part of Bianca’s approach to business is her love for working directly with customers. She and her team are always excited to collaborate on custom orders and special requests, offering personalized stroopwafel creations to meet individual needs. Bianca Letens continues to drive the Dutch Waffle Company forward, blending passion with innovation to share her cherished heritage and connect with customers in meaningful ways.

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