Queen's Day is going to be special this year for the Dutch. It is the last one for a while, since on January 28th, 2013, Queen Beatrix announced her abdication on April 30th, 2013 in favour of her son, Willem-Alexander. Tomorrow, on April 30th, 2013, she will abdicate the throne after 33 years. On the same day, the new King, her son Willem-Alexander, will be inaugurated, which means next year it will be King´s Day. Also, the date will be changed from April 30th to April 27th, which is the birthday of Willem-Alexander. The ceremonies for the inauguration will take place at the Royal Palace at Dam Square and the Nieuwe Kerk.
Queen's Day, Queensday or Koninginnedag (as the Dutch call it), is a national holiday in the Netherlands. On this day, the Dutch celebrate the birthday of the Queen of the Netherlands. Queen Beatrix's birthday is not on that date, but on January 31st. April 30th was the birthday of her mother, Queen Juliana. Queen Beatrix wanted to continue celebrating Koninginnedag on that date as a mark of respect to her mother.
This special holiday is also a typical occasion for the world-famous "orange craze or madness", in Dutch, "oranjegekte". The color orange is a ubiquitous sight, referring to the name of the royal family, the House of Orange. On this special day, everywhere you go, you will see orange banners, orange colored foods and drinks as well as people dressed in orange.
We spent a lot of time in the Netherlands as we like everything about this wonderful country. I have blogged about some wonderful places to visit in the Netherlands such as the utterly delightful Dille&Kamille kitchen supply store in Middleburg, the heavenly Boekhandel Selexy Dominicanen bookstore and the traditional Blanche Dael coffee roasting company in Maastricht and I have also posted a recipe for utterly delicious traditional Stroopkoeken cookies. So, I thought it would be appropriate to celebrate this special day by baking a wonderful Dutch treat, namely little Dutch pancakes, also called Poffertjes.
Poffertjes are a traditional Dutch treat. These small, fluffy pancakes, are typically made with yeast and buckwheat as well as all purpose flour and baked in a special Poffertjes Pan (poffertjespan). This specialty pan is either made of cast iron (that is the one I use), copper, or in a non-stock pan. Whatever the material of the pan, it usually has sixteen shallow indentations in the bottom. When you prepare Poffertjes, you should always use a Poffertjes Pan, but if you do not own one you could always use a regular pan or even an aebleskiver pan.
Traditionally, Poffertjes are served with powdered sugar and butter, and sometimes syrup. They are often served as a delicious afternoon snack or as dessert. When the weather turns cold, temporary stalls selling Poffertjes are quite popular, and sell portions containing one or two dozens of these little Dutch pancakes. Usually the cook prepares them fresh while you are watching and will serve these delicate treats to you on a small cardboard plate together with a small disposable fork.
Poffertjes (Mini Dutch Pancakes)
serves about four
- 1 level tsp instant yeast
- 1 tbsp milk
- 100 grams (1 cup) buckwheat flour
- 100 grams (1 cup) AP (plain) flour
- 2 eggs (L), organic or free range
- 1 tsp superfine (caster) sugar
- 1/2 tsp fine salt (I use sea salt)
- 1 1/4 cups warm milk (250 ml)
- unsalted butter for frying the pancakes
- some more butter and some powdered sugar for serving (optional) - you can also serve some syrup or fresh fruit alongside
- a specialty Poffertjes Pan (or other frying pan)
- soft brush for buttering the pan
- two small forks for turning the Poffertjes in the pan
- a plastic squeeze bottle
- In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in the milk.
- In a separate bowl, combine the buckwheat flour, the AP (plain) flour, eggs, yeast, sugar, salt and half of the milk.
- Whisk the ingredienst until they become smooth.
- Then add the remaining milk and whisk some more.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, set aside and allow the dough to rest for about an hour (there will be bubbles on the surface).
- Turn on your stove to medium high and heat the Poffertjes pan or simply melt some butter in a frying pan.
- If using a Poffertjes Pan, lightly butter each indentation (unless it is a non-stick pan, then no need for greasing) and pour some batter into each - making sure to fill only to the very rim of each indentation. You can use a plastic squeeze bottle for this step (I do).
- After two minutes or as soon as a few bubbles appear on the surface of the pancakes, use your forks to flip them over and fry some more on the other side (another two minute or so).
- If using a regular pan, once the butter sizzles, add a teaspoonful of the batter in circular movements to create the mini pancakes and turn the Poffertjes around as soon as the bottom has set, using two forks.
- Transfer the Poffertjes onto a cooling rack and brush with melted butter or serve them with some pats of butter and generously dust with powdered sugar.
These little Dutch pancakes might seem like a lot of work, but they are utterly delicious, they are buttery and have a nutty wholesome flavour from the buckwheat.
If you find a special Poffertjes Pan while travelling in the Netherlands or Belgium, do make sure to buy one and take it home with you.and prepare those delicate little treats.
So whether you are Dutch or just like to celebrate Koninginnedag 2013 and would like to join in the Dutch fun...
...wear orange, eat orange, drink orange, put all your carefully collected Dutch souvenirs on display..
...or invite some friends and prepare some Dutch food for them - why not consider baking some of these delightful traditional sweet treats that everyone is certain to enjoy!