Saturday, February 20, 2016

A childhood favourite! My parents made this a regular treat each time we visit the hill station aka neighbouring mountain. Puncak Pass is a pretty place with an amazing view. Quite like a Swiss chalet, it has bungalows perched on the mountain slopes, winding trails, and a cozy restaurant that serves, what I have been conditioned to believe is, the best poffertjes in the world.

Airy, bready, yet filling and satisfying, we enjoyed their poffertjes with a drizzle of 'gula jawa' or palm sugar syrup, and the ubiquitous dusting of icing sugar. This place also served an amazing banana pancake ... but it was the poffertjes that reeled us all in.

It somehow seemed perfect against a backdrop of fog-covered slopes and dewy grass, where we would often brave the chills to sit outside in the patio, if only for a while, to down these amazing bites. My parents would retreat indoors to a warmer seating option, while my brother and I would walk around the grounds all the way to where the swings and slides were. Then after, we would join them to enjoy another round of poffertjes.

Interestingly enough, we didn't find these same kind of poffertjes in the Netherlands, oh ... we had them everywhere we saw them. They were delicious, though, but not as puffy, chewy and satisfying. You could say that the ones we grew up with had more bang for the buck, or in this case, more bread for the ball.

This is my kind of poffertjes recipe...

2 tsp active dry yeast
2-1/2 cups warm milk
180 g (1-1/2 cups) buckwheat flour (you could do with whole wheat)
250 g (2 cups) all-purpose flour
4 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
4 eggs

Butter, for the poffertjes pan
Powdered sugar to serve

1. In a medium bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm milk. Set aside to proof until bubbly.
2. In a large bowl, whisk the flours, sugar and salt.

3. Make a well in the center of the flour, place the eggs, then mix it into the flour.
4. Drizzle in the milk, gently whisking it into the batter.
5. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rest for an hour in a warm place.

6. When the dough has risen, give it a gentle fold.
7. With a brush, butter the poffertjes wells, and when it sizzles, ladle the batter just shy of the rim. Cover the pan.
8. As soon as you can see the sides start pulling away, flip the poffertjes upside down using two skewers.

9. Continue cooking until the batter is used up.
10. Dust with icing sugar and serve with honey, maple syrup, or my favourite ... gula jawa.

Tips for cooking the poffertjes:
1. Preheat the pan on medium heat.
2. Butter the wells.
3. When butter sizzles, remove pan from the heat and ladle in the batter.
4. Return the pan to the flame and cover.
5. When you see the bottoms start to set, quickly flip the poffertjes over to let the uncooked batter fill up the well, making a 'kinda' perfect sphere.
6. Remove the poffertjes and repeat.
7. It's not necessary to keep buttering the pan, once at the onset is plenty.
8. After the first batch, you may want to reduce the heat to medium-low.
9. We want to sufficiently brown the bottom while making sure the batter doesn't cook thoroughly so when you flip it, it flows to fill the other half, making a pretty spherical shape.

Practice makes perfect ;) Enjoy!

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