Saturday, October 3, 2015

"Poffert" - A Dutch Coffee Cake


The Dutch poffert is a bread-like coffee cake often in the shape of a turban. It should not to be confused with poffertjes, the mini Dutch pancakes (take a look at my poffertjes post here). The original recipe hails from the Dutch province of Groningen. Groningen boasts an extremely rich culinary tradition that features a large range of typical regional products and recipes, often with catchy names, such as this "poffert".

A traditional poffert is prepared from self-raising flour, currants, raisins, candied peel, whole milk, eggs, butter and little sugar and cooked in a special poffert trommel (poffert drum) in a water bath or bain marie. It is usually eaten in fall and winter with good-quality butter and either applestroop (Dutch apple syrup - spreadable like a thick molasses, made from reducing apple juice with other sugars) or so-called keukenstroop (a sweet sugar syrup that the Dutch eat instead of maple syrup). A delicious tradition with definite retro charm.




A hot-water bath, classically called a bain-marie, is a simple and effective way to protect delicate foods–puddings, custards, some cakes–from the hot, dry heat of the stovetop or oven. This ensures they will emerge moist, tender and, in the case of custards, uncracked. The poffert trommelpudding mold or other container holding the food is simply placed in a larger container, and boiling water is poured into the larger container to come halfway up the sides of the mold, creating an insulating layer of water to moderate the heat.




Dutch Coffee Cake - "Poffert"

Ingredients for the Poffert
  • 60 grams raisins 
  • 60 grams currants
  • 100 ml warm apple juice OR strong, freshly-brewed tea (preferably loose leaf)
  • 250 grams unbleached all-purpose flour, self-rising, plus some for flouring the mold
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp Ceylon cinnamon
  • 50 grams unsalted butter, plus some for greasing the mold, at room temperature
  • 100 grams superfine baking (caster) sugar
  • 1 1/1 tsps. pure vanilla sugar 
  • 3 eggs (M), organic or free range
  • 1 red skinned apple (M), preferably a regional baking apple
  • boiling water, as needed



Directions
  1. Generously butter the inside of your poffert or steamed pudding mold (1000 ml), including the lid. Make sure that the bottom of the mold is especially well buttered. Dust the mold and lid with either flour or fine bread crumbs, shaking out the excess.
  2. In a medium glass bowl, combine the raisins and currants, add warmed apple cider OR freshly brewed black tea and let stand while preparing the batter or, better, let soak for about 30 minutes prior to getting started.
  3. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, salt, and cinnamon.
  4. In another bowl, whisk together the butter, sugar, and vanilla sugar.
  5. To the butter mixture, add the eggs, one at a time.
  6. Stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture.
  7. Drain the soaked dried fruits and keep the soaking liquid.
  8. Add the apple juice OR tea soaking liquid (start with about 50 ml and add more as needed) to the batter and stir. NOTE: You should have a batter with a good dropping consistency. If not, stir in a little more liquid to loosen it.
  9. Fold in the raisins and currants. Then grate the apple (with skin on) and fold into the batter as well.
  10. Spoon the mixture into the prepared mold and cover with the lid.
  11. Place the mold on a wire rack inside a large, heavy pot and add boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the mold, creating a hot-water bath. Place the pot over medium-low heat, cover the pot and cook, adding more boiling water as needed to maintain the original level, until the poffert pulls away from the sides of the mold and a knife inserted at the center comes out clean, about 1 1/2 hours.
  12. Transfer the mold to a wire rack. Uncover and let the pudding rest in the mold for 15 minutes. Invert onto a pretty plate. 
  13. Cut into wedges and serve warm, accompanied with the best butter you can get your hands on (how about that fresh butter from the farm) and homemade jam, local honey or go Dutch with apple stroop and keukenstroop (available in the Netherlands AND online, of course) or even some cinnamon sugar!



In the Netherlands, the poffert is also referred to as trommelkoek (tin cake) or ketelkoek (kettle cake) and is often enjoyed as a meal in itself rather than dessert or a cake.




Apparently, the first mention of a poffert is a Frisian cookbook, called "De Welkokende Vriesche Keukenmeid", which dates back all the way to 1772. The poffert is said to be "very suitable for travelling", meaning that the original recipe certainly travelled well and kept well for a number of days.




There is quite the range of recipes out there for poffert, some calling for the addition of rosewater, some call for yeast, some call for lining the pudding mold with strips of bacon (that would be rib-sticking goodness) - other recipes call for dried apricots or dried figs - but no matter which recipe you decide to follow, they all have an idea in common - namely that the poffert is meant to be served as a meal, especially since the recipe does not involve a lot of sugar.Therefore, you can liberally add syrup, butter or cinnamon sugar to dip your heavenly slice of poffert into.




And if you do not own a poffert baking mold or poffert trommel, you can always use a steamed pudding mold with lid, a bundt or angel food pan and cover the top with parchment paper-lined aluminium foil.




For a spicier, richer poffert, soak the currants and raisins in four tablespoons of rum or cider brandy for several hours or overnight, and stir these into the mixture before you transfer it to the baking mold. Or, do as I did and "go local" with this Dutch treat: I brewed a very strong tea with my favorite autumn tea from my local tea merchant and soaked the dried fruits for 30 minutes in the warm tea. Then instead of adding juice to the batter, I added some of the tea soaking liquid to the batter.





If the autumn weather is getting you down or you are feeling grey or sad, I am certain this poffert or steamed raisin cake will put you right in no time at all.  It takes moments to prepare, will steam away happily all by itself without needing attention, and is the ultimate in comfort foods.




Soaking the dried fruits (raisins and currants) in a good, loose-leaf tea and adding some of that soaking liquid to the cake batter, will not only impart a wonderful slightly spicy flavor to your poffert, but also add a nice bit of color to the steamed cake - very fall like, albeit not traditional.

The tea I used goes by the very catchy name of "Karl-Heinz, der Herbsttee®" ( Karl-Heinz, the Autumn Tea™). It is a mix of black teas from Ceylon, China and India as well as cinnamon, orange peel, lemon peel, star anise, anis, fennel and cloves. For more information, in German go here  and in English please go here - my favorite tea merchant "Tee Gschwendner" will ship worldwide.

And while you enjoy another Dutch treat, please remember to let me know how much you liked it!



29 comments:

  1. Looks amazing Andrea. I would so love to sit down with a cup of coffee, a slice of this beautiful cake and you sitting across from me!

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    1. Dear Scott, that sounds like a wonderful idea to me - we are enjoying amazing late summer-style weather, just perfect for sitting outside with some lovely poffert, keukenstroop, really good butter and a steaming cup of tea or coffee!
      Thank you for your kind comment!
      Andrea

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  2. I have never heard of the Poffert before, but it looks amazing. Definitely would like to try this!

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    1. Dear Gaye, I am not surprised the least bit that you have not heard about the Dutch "poffert" as it is a regional specialty from the Ducth Province of Groningen (right at the German/Frisian border) - it is utterly delicious, has a catchy name and a fabulous history - what more could I possibly want from a coffee cake?!

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  3. What a lovely cake! I really enjoy reading your posts, always so informative! I would love to try this with a bit of rosewater added in :)

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    1. Dear June, so nice to hear from you - hope your studies are going well - the addition of rosewater is just one version of this lovely Dutch treat and most certainly worth a try - although I must say the tea version is also quite nice.
      Thanks for stopping by!
      Andrea

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  4. Ganz schön, liebe Andrea! Mark likes the look of this and asked me to make it for him! Now, what fun I will have finding the perfect baking mold! (You should be very flattered... Mark never asks me to make baked goods!) Liebe Grüße und ein schönen Sontag p, für dich, Thomas, und die Kinder!

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    1. Dear David, you are welcome to tell Mark that I am flattered indeed! As far as the baking mold is concerned, no problem at all - as I mentioned in my post "if you do not own a poffert baking mold or poffert trommel, you can always use a steamed pudding mold with lid, a bundt or angel food pan and cover the top with parchment paper-lined aluminium foil" - simple as that - for example Sur la Table carries one in the US: http://www.surlatable.com/product/PRO-1176635/Steamed+Pudding+Mold
      Hope that helps - any more questions, please let me know!
      Liebe Gruesse nach Tucson,
      Andrea

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  5. Hi Andrea always I love yours pictures but this look stunning and love yours plates too and delicious !!

    I would happy to make this beautiful coffe cake !!
    I bookmarked :)
    hugs

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    1. Gloria, so glad that you like this one - I have been planning on making it for the longest time now and it is so much fun making a cake in a water-bath mold for a change!

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  6. Andrea, du bringst mich tatsächlich dazu, die Puddingform (sicherlich 100 Jahre alt, Emaille, aussen rotbraun, innen grau meliert) meiner Oma rauszuholen und diesen Kuchen auszuprobieren, den man noch warm geniessen kann. Und wieder sooooo schoene Fotos!!! Ich erinnere mich, dass sie etwas ähnliches darin gezaubert hat, sehr gelb, mit Rosingen, Mandeln, Zitronat und Orangeat..... aber ich meine, es war hefig... ihr Rezept habe ich nicht, aber ueber deins freue ich mich sehr :-) Ganz liebe Grüße aus dem Garten :-)

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    1. Liebe Wally, dass freut mich außerordentlich - das Rezept ist Holländisch und ohne Hefe, aber ich weiß, dass es auch mit Hefe geht. Allerdings ist es so einfach nur schön, diesen Poffert zu machen. Die Trockenfrüchte kannst du entweder in Saft, oder Wasser oder etwas Rum einweichen, aber etwas von der Einweichflüssigkeit muss in den Teig, er sollte nicht zu fest sein - auf deine Erfahrung vertrauen - aber mit einem würzigen Tee (geht auch Assam) schmeckt er nochmal so gut!
      Ich freue mich immer so sehr über deine lieben Kommentare und auch die Komplimente zu den Fotos sind ganz wunderbar!
      Danke dafür! Und liebe Grüße zurück - es regnet hier!
      Andrea - am Donnerstag gehts für drei Tage zum Kochwettbewerb nach Hamburg...

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    2. Oh, ganz viel Glück und sehr gutes Gelingen. I'll cross my fingers und die Kochloeffel :-) Du wirst ja hoffentlich berichten....

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    3. Lieben Dank, Wally! Ich werde mir Mühe geben in Hamburg und, natürlich berichten!
      Andrea

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    4. Liebe Wally, habe gewonnen! Und bin wieder daheim mit dem Preis!
      Liebe Grüße und herzlichen Dank fürs Daumen drücken!
      Andrea

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  7. What a lovely cake! I don't often use a bain-marie, but when I do it's worth it.

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    1. Beth, a bain-marie is always special and we should definitely use it more often!

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  8. This cake looks delicious. It reminds me of a holiday cake with the fruits and spices. Your photos are so lovely, too.

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    1. Amy, very kind of you - baking in a bather bath is always a bit reminiscent of festive baking, that´s why it seems extra special and I love it that way!
      Andrea

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  9. Andrea,
    gorgeously and elegantly presented, darling.
    you are such an artist w/ fabulous detail!!! xx

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    1. Dear Kim, such an amazing comment - thank you!
      Andrea

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  10. What an interesting cake, Andrea! I love the idea of using freshly brewed tea. We Armenians usually have some loose-tea Earl Grey on the stove, ready to go! I'm going to make this tonight. Hope you and your sweet family are having a great w/end. Sending love from far away. xoxo

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    1. Dear Colette, Earl Grey is one of my favorite teas but I also love trying different kinds of tea on a green tea basis or a black tea basis and sometimes even some herbal ones - the tea melange I used for this cake is one of my personal favorites ones with tons of autumnal flavors that infuse the cake when baking!
      Hope you had a wonderful weekend - I will be over for comments during the week!
      Andrea

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  11. I've never had a steamed caked but I know that I would enjoy this one. Your photos are always great but your first one is stunning. Karen

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    1. Karen, steaming a cake is a rather fun experience and the outcome is delicious to boot - thank you for your kind comment!
      Hope your move to you new home in Florida went well and that you are all settled in by now!
      Andrea

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  12. Hallo liebe Andrea!
    Was für eine super Rezept! Der Kuchen kannte ich nicht und er klingt einfach köstlich! Ich liebe die Kuchen mit solche herbstlichen Geschmack, die schon fast wie Weihnachts duften ;) Und Tee in einem Kuchen zu bringen... ich stehe dafür! Jetzt habe ich Lust, um nochmal Holland zu besuchen...
    Ich hoffe, dass bei euch alles gut geht! Liebe Grüße,
    Ines

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    1. Liebe Inês, ich kannte diesen holländischen Kuchen vor einiger Zeit auch noch nicht. Aber, wie du weißt, bin ich immer auf der Suche nach "neuen" traditionellen Rezepten und da ist mir dieser Kuchen aufgefallen. Er schmeckt einfach wundervoll. Geh´ doch mal zu Tee Gschwendner in München und kaufe dir 100 Gramm vom "Karl Heinz - der Herbst Tee" , koch dir eine Tasse und dann mach mal diesen wunderbaren holländischen Kuchen mit einem deutschen "Touch", dem Tee - einfach ein Gedicht.
      Schön, von dir zu hören - ich werde in den nächsten Tagen deinen Blog besuchen und kommentieren...
      Bis dann und liebe Grüße nach München,
      Andrea

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  13. These look incredible. I’m a big fan of coffee. Please invite me over.

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    1. Candy, if you lived any closer, I would most certainly invite you over for coffee/tea and cake!
      Andrea

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