SIMPLE YET SURPRISING AMSTERDAM PANCAKE

SIMPLE YET SURPRISING AMSTERDAM PANCAKE

 

I KNOW IT DOESN’T LOOK MUCH.  I PROBABLY WOULD’VE BYPASSED IT IF I WASN’T STUCK IN AMSTERDAM.  BUT I’M GLAD I WAS.  AND I KNOW YOU WILL, TOO

I’ve been to Amsterdam.  For a total of 18 hours.  I don’t know what people do during an overnight layover in a city they know nothing about, and I knew nearly nothing about Amsterdam.

However, pancake, seems to be a thing.

What did I know about “Amsterdam pancake”, or as I later found out, pannenkoeken?  Not much, really, aside from that it’s starkly different from the verticality of common stacked pancakes, in fact, it’s one of the flattest stand-alone foods I’ve came across.  And in my long years of hunting for culinary clues, when something spreads so unseemly, so 2D, so unornamented to a point of bleakness, yet is still adored as “a thing”, further investigation is warranted.  And rest assured, I was not disappointed.  To clarify upfront, during the only few hours of daytime we had, we only tried Amsterdam pancake once, from an unresearched, random cafe close to our Airbnb apartment, and had only a single pancake with cheese which we shared.  All in all, what I’m trying to say is, I am no expert.  But from the moment since the waitress placed something that looked exactly like this in front of us, as unflatteringly as it came, and I tore a small corner from the edge and put it faithfully in my mouth,  I couldn’t stop thinking about it.

Chewy.  Chewy was the first word that came to mind.  But soft though, really soft.  A combination of textures that, from the start, was already far more interesting than any of the spiritless associations of common pancakes, say, pfff, fluffy.  Flavor-wise, it wasn’t exceedingly eggy like Dutch baby or french crepe, nesting comfortably in the natural and mild sweetness of wheat flours and milk.  I also couldn’t stop thinking about how daringly minimal it presented itself on the table, a bare blanket of confidence with nothing else but a few slices of melted Dutch gouda on top, almost making a statement, declaring its independence from BS, secure with assurance.  It felt playful to eat, interacting, but comfortable, like having a conversation with a soft-spoken but funny stranger who underdressed with ease, while the whole time I wondered if it was too weird to ask if we could be friends for life.

And that’s exactly what I did.  All eight times of trials and errors.  It felt funny going after something, with this much effort, when I wasn’t even sure if it’s a classic representation in its category.  Is this the pannenkoeken?  I have no idea.  But I don’t really care.  I just want to find my way to back to that particular one that I really liked.  It was expectedly tricky to replicate that softly chewy texture which I hold as a key to its charm, leading to a combined conclusion of both wheat flour and potato starch in the batter.

I know it doesn’t look like much.  And I probably would’ve bypassed it if I wasn’t stuck in a city full of it.  But I’m glad I was.  And I know you will, too.

 

 
 
CHEWY AND SAVORY AMSTERDAM PANCAKE

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cup (202 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp (30 grams) potato starch (see note)
  • 1 cup (232 grams) whole milk
  • 1/2 cup (120 grams) water
  • 3 tbsp (39 grams) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tsp light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • Vegetable oil for the pan
  • 10~12 thinly sliced gouda cheese

Instructions

  1. We want the batter to be super smooth and even forming some gluten for the extra chewiness, so please use a blender or immersion blender instead of a whisk. Blend all purpose flour, potato starch, whole milk, water, melted unsalted butter, egg, light brown sugar and sea salt (leave the baking powder) until extremely smooth. Let the batter rest for at least 45 minutes, or you can prepare this the night before and keep it covered inside the fridge until needed.
  2. Before using, whisk in the baking powder until even and let rest for 10 min. Heat up a large, non-stick crepe pan over medium-high heat (the recipe make three 12" or 30 cm pancake, or 4~5 smaller ones). Brush to coat the pan lightly with vegetable oil. Pour enough batter into the pan to form a thin pancake (remember that this "pancake" is supposed to be much thinner than normal pancakes), swirling the pan to spread the batter out evenly. Cook until the first side is lightly browned, then flip, and scatter 3~4 slices of grouda cheese on top. The pancake is ready when the cheese is melted, and the second side is lightly browned.

Notes

Potato starch and cornstarch are not entirely the same. It can be interchangeable in some cases, but in this recipe, potato starch just yields a chewier texture.

http://ladyandpups.com/2017/09/29/simple-yet-surprising-amsterdam-pancake/
POMELO AND THAI HERBS SALAD
WORLD PEACE CURRY, AND HAPPENS TO BE GLORIOUSLY DELICIOUS

Every comment is read and appreciated. Questions will be answered as soon as possible.

24 Comments
  • Aimee

    September 29, 2017 at 7:51 PM Reply

    I’ve never heard of an Amsterdam pancake either! Looks interesting – love your description :)

  • Candi

    September 29, 2017 at 8:20 PM Reply

    Your Amsterdam pancake experience reminds me of the Moroccan breakfast pancakes my husband and I discovered in Marrakesh served with amalou and honey. I still dream about it. Now I want to go to Amsterdam!

    • Emilye

      September 30, 2017 at 8:09 PM Reply

      Is the moroccan breakfast pancake you mention called beghrir, made with semolina and riddled with holes?

  • Candi

    September 29, 2017 at 8:23 PM Reply

    And I just happen to have potato starch in my cupboard (from a lazy attempt to make chichi dango mochi!) so I’m going to try this recipe!

  • Token

    September 30, 2017 at 12:52 AM Reply

    “Amsterdam pancakes” aren’t a thing, Dutch pancakes are but these are not them. Flour, eggs, milk and a pinch of salt is all you need. Thin pancakes, served with cheese or bacon and syrup or with apples fried in them, or just syrup or confectioners sugar.

    • TaleLady

      September 30, 2017 at 6:14 PM Reply

      Please read the text thoroughly bevore leaving comments that prooves you didn’t.
      Maybe the pancake she had in Amsterdam was exactly like this and not the classic simple one. She never claimed this to be THE recipe but her interpretation of what she had on that special day in that special cafe in Amsterdam, so why not let her call it “Amsterdam-Pancake”?

  • Tracey

    September 30, 2017 at 1:58 AM Reply

    Love you so much. Love your style of writing, photography, your content. Honestly, I don’t make any of your recipes but enjoy reading about the process and history of each concoction that you conjure up. How you manage to make this boring pancake look exciting is pure genius. Enjoying all your posts. Aloha.

  • Emilye

    September 30, 2017 at 8:17 PM Reply

    I love how unadorned and simple this looks. Like Tracey above, i don’t make any of your recipes but it’s such a pleasure reading how you come up with them. Love learning about the process, as i have often wondered how to make many of the dishes you share. Thank you!

  • June

    October 1, 2017 at 7:53 AM Reply

    You had me at chewy n’ savory –I can’t wait to try this one out, Mandy!

  • june2

    October 1, 2017 at 9:12 AM Reply

    @Tracey and Emilye: Pick a recipe from the archives and make it! They all work and are amazing. I am vegan but was still able to find recipes I can use (even omitting fish sauce or whatever else, they are crazy good!).

  • Elisavet

    October 5, 2017 at 2:21 AM Reply

    Oh girl, this was AMAZING. I made it for dinner and it was savored by all the family. Thank you!!

  • Diana Lopes

    October 6, 2017 at 1:37 AM Reply

    You sure make a good case for these pancakes, I’m really curious to try them!

  • S.Lim

    October 30, 2017 at 12:52 AM Reply

    Was absolutely lovely! I served them with your fish wontons and pomelo thai herbs salad :) 10/10 would make again

  • Vertical garden planters

    November 24, 2017 at 11:08 AM Reply

    Potato starch and cornstarch are not entirely the same. It can be interchangeable in some cases, but in this recipe, potato starch just yields a chewier texture.

  • Reem Biebwre

    December 10, 2017 at 6:38 PM Reply

    just made this for sunday breakfast (after having had the vampire slayer ramen for dinner last night) . At the beginning everyone (husband and two teenage kids and myself) were like “man this is soooo weird” “not sure i will be making this again” “so strange, her recipes are usually so great” “what was she thinking” etc.. Five minutes later, and two pancakes each later, we were all like, “when are we making this again ?” “i can imagine this with ham and the cheese” “this is quite good actually” and “i loooove the chewiness of it” ! So there ! interesting recipe ! will definitely make again ! xxx

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      December 10, 2017 at 10:06 PM Reply

      Reem, that was how I felt when I had it in amsterdam lol!

  • Martin Huang

    December 12, 2017 at 10:31 AM Reply

    I really missed this. Now, I can finally taste the pancake again.

  • Shannon

    December 21, 2017 at 4:29 AM Reply

    Oh pannekoeken.. sundays are reserved for them :) There’s no exact recipe when my husband makes them, just mix flour, eggs, milk, pinch of salt until consistency is thicker than crepe and still spreadable when you twirl the pan. How the Dutchies love them – sprinkle with powdered sugar, rolled them up and eat with the hand! Well anything with Dutch cheese will also gets his approval :D

  • Chloe (Musings on Dinner)

    December 31, 2017 at 3:05 AM Reply

    The pancake you’ve described is definitely the standard European pancake that I know (I’m Belgian but this style is eaten in numerous countries, including in the UK where I now live!). I’ve eaten them rolled up with sugar and butter or jam all my life, and Belgian children often have them rolled up with Nutella after school, although I was never allowed this ;). Our ‘family recipe’ is just a pile of flour, an egg and milk and a pinch of sugar, whisked up and adding a bit of this and that until it reaches the correct consistency. I’ve sometimes seen them served with ham and cheese at fairs but only ever sweet when served in the home. Once I have a bit of space in my pantry for potato starch I’ll try your version!

  • Jan Morrison

    March 27, 2018 at 5:33 AM Reply

    I used to be married to a Dutch fella and his mother (Mu) would make us pannekoeken with strips of already fried bacon in them. Jeez, my mouth is watering just thinking about them. No to the bacon these days but sounds like a good weekday night easy peasy dinner. Thanks for the reminder!

  • Aditi

    March 29, 2018 at 7:03 PM Reply

    Amsterdam Pancakes looks like an updated version of cheese omelette. Looks delicious anyway

  • Lil Wyn

    April 9, 2018 at 7:17 PM Reply

    Also, I simply happen to have potato starch in my cabinet (from a languid endeavor to make chichi dango mochi!) so I will attempt this formula!

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