Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Dutch pancakes - poffertjes (Ολλανδέζικες τηγανίτες)

Comfort food - we all need it at this time of the year.  After reading this post about Amsterdam's culinary delights, I was very tempted to make the pancakes shown in one of the photos. Although strawberries aren't the traditional way to eat these pancakes, now that local ones are back in stock, coupled with the pleasant spring weather we've been having, they seemed a nice way to top these little pancakes and make them look like an exquisite dessert offering from a posh restaurant. Funny I should combine strawberries with this Dutch sweet - when strawberries are not in saeson in Hania, they come from Holland and they sell at around 12 euro per kilo. I don't buy them, naturally, but since they are available throughout the winter in the supermarket, somebody else is obviously buying them.

Poffertjes: icing sugar is the norm in Holland with a dab of butter which melts with sugar; this is a little difficult to achieve when you don't use butter in your cooking. Cretan sheep's milk butter is probably unsuitable for use in this way (it also has a meaty smell to it).

Some recipes for poffertjes use egg while others don't. Yeast is used to make them puffy. They are also cooked in a special pan. I didn't have one of these, so I simply dropped a tablespoon of batter into a pan with olive oil and turned the poffertjes with a fork.. I preferred the blander taste of icing sugar sprinkled over them, but my children decided to top their portions with runny Cretan thyme honey. They are used to the Greek way of eating fried dough, with honey-flavoured syrup. I particularly liked the yeasty aroma of these pancakes, which are quite unlike the NZ-style pancakes I usually make, with baking powder.

The basic recipes on the web for poffertjes don't use sugar in them, so I imagine these can also be eaten as savoury snacks with a cheesy topping. I wonder how they serve them in Holland. Maybe I will have a chance to find out soon.


UPDATE: While holidaying in Holland, I bought a poffertjes pan! 

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