22 January 2024

This traditional Dutch recipe brings soft, fluffy poffertjes to Canberra perfect for sharing ... or not

| Dione David
People milling around the Hartley Hall Markets

The Hartley Hall Markets has at least 10 food vendors each month. Photo: Hartley Hall Markets.

There is at least one good reason behind the popularity of the “Dutch Pancake” stand that’s been a permanent fixture at the Hartley Hall Markets for the past 15 years – a traditional family recipe passed on through generations.

Tammy Klep procured the prized recipe from her Dutch husband’s Oma (grandma) after discovering poffertjes at a family vacation.

“I remember it well. It was 1995 and we were on a trip to see our Dutch cousins in Melbourne. They had their own business selling poffertjes and I could see right away why the business was so successful. Not only were they delicious, but they lent themselves to being shared.

“We thought to ourselves, ‘Canberra hasn’t really seen this; it could be a good thing to start up’. And it just took off from there.”

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Despite the common misconception, poffertjes are not just pancake batter poured into miniature pancake-shaped moulds – there’s a traditional method behind the delightfully light, soft and fluffy texture that have made them a market staple.

Though Tammy’s menu incorporates some homemade sauces alongside the traditional toppings of butter and icing sugar, the poffertjes are as true today as they were when Oma made them.

“Oma had uncompromising standards. It’s important to us that we are very strict in terms of sticking to her recipe. It’s the only recipe we’ve used for 29 years and it’ll always be that way,” Tammy says.

“It’s a recipe the Canberra community loves … We have quite a following now. Some people come to the Hartley Hall Markets just to get some of our pancakes.”

Poffertjes from Tammy Klep's Dutch pancake stand at Hartley Hall Markets

A plate of fluffy, light, soft, bite-sized Dutch pancakes or “poffertjes” is perfect for sharing … or not. Photo: Tammy Klep.

The Dutch pancake stand is a good mascot for the Hartley Hall Markets, where the handmade, the homemade, the traditional and the different all come together and where the vendors have all gained reputations for nailing their respective crafts.

From fruit and vegetable man Frank Veduci, who grows and picks all the fruits and vegetables at home, to the famous Hartley barbecue, which feeds all proceeds from the sales of its sought-after bacon and egg, sausage and steak sandwiches, to disability services organisation Hartley Lifecare.

Over at Neat Street Coffee, Millie and her team are said to make the best brews in Canberra and some seriously delicious gourmet cakes, and at the “Thai Time” stand shoppers find authentic Thai delicacies such as Thai custard pandan with coconut, chicken satay, pork buns and fried rice.

Spotlighting the region’s apiary prowess, visitors can discover honey from different areas of the capital region as well as beeswax candles, beeswax skincare and food wraps at the Boorowa Bees stand.

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The markets host at least 10 food vendors every month, which is a major drawcard, but many people come for the family-friendly vibes and activities, which can include miniature steam train rides for a gold coin donation, sideshow games and live entertainment.

“It took us a little while to get into these markets; they’re just so popular,” Tammy says.

“It’s a fantastic community to be a part of – from the organisers to the volunteers and all the stallholders. We love going each month and catching up with people. Families bring their dogs, their littlies, their prams – it’s just a really great vibe.

“And of course, we love what it all stands for, being run by an organisation that does its part to improve the lives of people living with disability.”

The Hartley Hall Markets take place on the first Sunday of every month from 10 am to 3 pm at the Hall Showgrounds. For more information visit Hartley Lifecare.

Original Article published by Dione David on Riotact.

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