A Blunt Assessment of the Dutch Poffertje

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Just because you find a bow and arrow in your basement doesn’t mean you should become a bow hunter.  Just because you inherit two chainsaws from your long forgotten uncle doesn’t mean you should take up chainsaw juggling.  Having the tools to do something doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good idea.

If you find yourself in the possession of a poffertje pan, don’t assume it’s a good idea to make poffertjes.  I have my reasons:

Reason Number One

The poffertje pan is cast iron.  I can’t use it on my glass stove top, so instead I tried it on my barbecue.  It didn’t work so well.  Then, I balanced it precariously upon my backpacking stove.  This worked even less well.  In fact, the experience brought a degree of frustration which I had not experienced since my last attempt at country line-dancing.

Reason Number Two

They’re just basically miniature pancakes.  I like pancakes.  In fact, Shrove Tuesday is the 27th most important day on my calendar each and every year, just behind Robbie Burns Day and just before International Doghouse Repair Day.  How can you not love great wads of batter fried in oil and covered in syrup, whipped cream, fruit, or whatever?  So, if you love pancakes, instead of making three dozen poffertjes to satisfy your pancake pleasures, why not just make adult-sized pancakes?  The cuteness factor of the poffertje doesn’t make up for all of that extra dipping and flipping.  Using a regular frying pan for regular-sized pancakes just makes so much more sense.

Of course, some people have to try things themselves to reach their own conclusions.  So, if you don’t believe me, go ahead and make poffertjes using the recipe below.  Just remember, you’ve been warned.

Traditional Dutch Poffertjes

1.  Dissolve 1 teaspoon of dried yeast in 1 Tablespoon of warm milk.

2.  In another bowl, combine 1 cup of white flour, 1 cup of buckwheat flour, 2 eggs, 1 teaspoon of sugar, 5/8ths of a cup of warm milk.  Whisk in the yeast mixture until it is smooth.

3.  Add 5/8ths more of warm milk and beat the mixture.

4.  Cover this bowl and let it rest for 1 hour.

5.  Use your poffertje pan to cook the little devils until they are crisp.

6.  To make them tasty, smother them in whatever you like.

7.  Sell your poffertje pan on Kijiji.

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Frankenstein’s Breakfast Scone

Reverse Engineering

You see something you like and decide you want to make one yourself.  Such was the case with Dr. Frankenstein.  Although the earth had no shortage of humans, he decided to reverse engineer a human, making a few key errors along the way.  The result was not pretty, nor considered a complete success.  Considering the odds Dr. Frankenstein faced, he did come pretty close to achieving his goal.  Unfortunately, close wasn’t quite enough, and things didn’t exactly pan out for him.

The quest to reverse engineer a breakfast scone from a cafe in Tofino, British Columbia may seem much less ambition than the reverse engineering of a human, but the chances of unleashing a murderous monster upon an unsuspecting world seem a lot lower.  With this in mind, I forged ahead and attempted to replicate this:

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I used a basic cheddar scone recipe, then formed the dough into nests.  The trick was to cook the egg in the nest of the scone such that both egg and scone would be done at the same time.  The first and only attempt so far was with baking the scones and eggs together for the full duration of 14 minutes. 

Don’t do this.  As the scones baked, their cupped shapes slackened, and there were a couple of dam breaks, with egg running out onto the cookie sheet.  The ones that did retain their form and hold their egg resulted in an overcooked egg, of a consistency slightly less chewable than a Goodyear winter tire (studless).

So, if one was to attempt this recipe again, I think the key would be to let the scones bake for five or so minutes to let them firm up a bit, then crack the eggs into their forms and continue baking from there.

The other issue is of “egg doneness.”  Some people like eggs soft, others hard.  So, if you want to keep everyone happy, it’s like cooking steaks in reverse.  Some eggs would have to be added earlier than others to attain the right variety of solidity.

So, in terms of reverse engineering, I’d say these Breakfast Scones are pretty comparable in their stage of development to Frankenstein’s monster– almost there, but with a few critical flaws that leave one slightly less than fully satisfied. 

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