The one word you need to have in your Dutch vocabulary is lekker; it means tasty or yummy…or hot, if you’re referring to a girl. It was one word I heard a lot in Maastricht (referring to food, not girls), along with leuk (nice), mooi (pretty), and gezellig (cozy). This weekend I was in need of something with all these qualities, given the miserable cold (winter is coming…). Also, it was Gilmore Girls weekend and what better companion to watch the revival with than some tasty Dutch mini-pancakes?
The first time I had poffertjes was actually in Germany, at a Christmas market in Hamburg when I visited my sister for the first time. I was living in Maastricht back then but I still hadn’t had poffertjes. Liege/leukse waffles, yes (which are actually Belgian, but Maastricht is right next to the Belgian border, and these waffles are part of the Maastricht experience). Bitterballen, yes. Frikandel, yes. But not poffertjes. The stand in Hamburg had the proper equipment to make them though, and I’m pretty sure the girl making them was Dutch, so they were as authentic as they could’ve possibly been. They were so light and spongy, quite different from regular pancakes. Definitely a sweet treat for a cold day.
So I settled down in my kitchen to make poffertjes on a gray Saturday afternoon. There always seems to be a mishap or another whenever I put my green apron on (except for last time, with the brioche). I’ve made loads of pancakes in my time, from plain to banana to Oreo-flavored; from American to Dutch (which are like crepes), and so on. I was confident these mini versions would turn out fine. And they did, but not without some casualties.
The recipe was easy and simple enough. Poffertjes are essentially pancakes but with yeast and, as such, a rising period. I followed the Oh My Dish recipe, since the ingredient amounts seemed more reasonable to my specific needs (I’m just feeding two mouths here).
I made the batter, let it rest for an hour, then got to work making my version of poffertjes. I don’t own a poffertjespan, that special pan with small, shallow indentations on the bottom. I used my large frying pan, butter, and a squeeze bottle to pipe the batter.
Getting the batter into the bottle was mess number one. I don’t have a funnel (yet another thing I don’t have…I need to go shopping); the best I could do was spoon it or pour it in. That was messy enough, though at least I didn’t waste a lot of batter.
Next came piping nice little circles all around the pan. The poffertjes weren’t as puffed up as if they had been made in a proper poffertjespan, but they looked good enough to me.
One thing about the piping process, though. It started out smoothly enough. Then, bits of dough started to clog the bottle’s tip. They’d come out eventually if I squeezed a bit harder, so I kept going. At one point, after the tip had gotten clogged again, I squeezed the bottle so hard, the tip popped right off, batter oozing all over the poffertjes I had just piped. I let that cook into a massive, deformed pancake, since there was nothing else for me to do. No use crying over spilled batter.
Determined, I refilled the bottle and tried to unclog the tip, this time over the bowl with the leftover batter. That was one stubborn piece of dough; it refused to budge. The cap came off once again and that was it. I switched the caps and started over. And although there were still tiny doughy bits that got stuck in the tip, at least now I was more cautious with the squeezing. The last poffertjes cooked without further accidents and I got to eat most of them with a nice cup of tea watching Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life.
Now, I enjoyed the poffertjes, but I am still deciding how I feel about this new Gilmore Girls…not enough Jess, in my opinion. I won’t spoil it for anyone, but I’ll just say the original series dug itself into a nice, gezellig spot in people’s hearts that would be hard to share even with its revival. It’s great to see how the story developed and where those familiar people ended up, even if you might not agree with some of their decisions. There’s only one thing left to do to help me process: watch it again.