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Many different types of desserts can be found in the Netherlands. Some of these are considered everyday desserts, while others are often reserved for consumption only on special occasions. Among the most popular everyday Dutch desserts are the thick, sweet pudding known as vla and the wafer cookies called stroopwafels. Dutch desserts which may be eaten on special occasions such as a birthday or a meal with a friend include small sugared pancakes known as poffertjes and the apple pie-like appeltaart. Finally, some Dutch desserts, such as the almond-filled pastry known as banket and the sweet fried dumplings called oliebollen, are mainly eaten during the Christmas holiday season.
Some Dutch desserts are eaten on a regular basis and are not associated with any special event or season. One of these everyday desserts is vla, a pudding made with milk, eggs, and sugar and thickened with cornstarch. Vla may be flavored with vanilla, chocolate, or fruit, and it is usually served cold. The stroopwafel is another everyday Dutch dessert, consisting of two very thin, crisp waffles which are held together by a caramel-like syrup known as stroop. Both vla and stroopwafels are widely available in Dutch supermarkets.
Other Dutch desserts are usually only indulged in once in a while, such as on one’s birthday or while out for dinner with friends. Within this category, poffertjes are a popular choice. Poffertjes are small, puffy pancakes topped with a dollop of butter, a generous sprinkle of powdered sugar, and in some cases a drizzling of stroop. Appeltaart is another well-known Dutch treat. This dessert bears a strong resemblance to American apple pie, except its crust is usually significantly thicker than the latter’s.
Certain Dutch desserts tend to appear only during the Christmas holiday season. A popular Dutch Christmas dessert is banket, a floury, buttery pastry which is filled with sweetened almond paste and then baked. Sometimes, banket is shaped into letters before it is baked, a tradition which particularly appeals to children. Finally, on New Year’s Eve, many Dutch families prepare the dessert known as oliebollen. This dessert consists of yeasted dough which is dropped by the spoonful into hot cooking oil, fried until golden, and dusted in many cases with a generous heap of powdered sugar before being served.