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What Are the Different Types of Dutch Desserts?

M.C. Huguelet
Updated May 16, 2024
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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.

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M.C. Huguelet
By M.C. Huguelet
Cate Huguelet, a Chicago-based freelance writer with a passion for storytelling, crafts engaging content for a wide range of publications, including DelightedCooking. With degrees in Writing and English, she brings a unique perspective and a commitment to clean, precise copy that resonates with readers. Her ability to understand and connect with audiences makes her a valuable asset to any content creation team.
Discussion Comments
By donasmrs — On Nov 25, 2014

I love Dutch semolina pudding. I learned the recipe from a friend about five years ago and have been making it regularly since then. It's a bit difficult to find semolina but I purchased a large bulk bag online so it lasts me for a while.

The best part about this dessert is that by reducing the sugar in the recipe, I can have it without worrying about my blood sugar. Since it's made with milk and dry fruit, it's a fairly healthy dessert that diabetics can enjoy. Of course it's necessary to reduce the sugar or use a sugar substitute. The dried fruits already add a lot of sweetness in my opinion so I just add a little bit of sugar in the milk.

By bluedolphin — On Nov 25, 2014

@SteamLouis-- No, they're not difficult to make. The recipe is actually similar to American pancakes. The only difference is that Dutch poffertjes often have some buckwheat flour along with regular wheat flour. And they are served with a salty butter and lots of sweet syrup. I'm sure you've seen pictures of them and know that they are small and round, like mini pancakes.

I suggest finding an authentic recipe and trying them soon. They are quite good. I've never made my own because when I stayed in Netherlands, my landlady made them for me from time to time.

By SteamLouis — On Nov 24, 2014

Are poffertjes basically the same as American pancakes in flavor? What is the recipe? Has anyone here made them before? I love pancakes and I was looking for something slightly unique to make this weekend. I would like to try poffertjes if they're not too difficult to make.

M.C. Huguelet
M.C. Huguelet
Cate Huguelet, a Chicago-based freelance writer with a passion for storytelling, crafts engaging content for a wide...
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