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We recently got a very popular question, What is the function of this shallow, 19-divoted, eared cast iron piece?. It centers on recognizing exactly what type of dimpled pan is on the picture, and it is obvious that several users don't make a distinction between them. I personally have never used one, and wasn't aware that there are flat-dimpled ones and half-spherical dimpled ones.

If we leave away matters of presentation (assuming that poffertjes are traditionally flatter than aebleskiver), what is the differnce? What can flat dimples do which deep dimples can't, and vice versa? If a cook has only one and tries the recipe for the opposite baked good, what would we expect to happen?

  • Is it a matter of presentation if muffins or small pies (eg mince pies) stand unstable? "but you said they rock"... Or if a symmetrical shape (idly-like) is desired? – rackandboneman Jan 25 '16 at 22:23
  • @rackandboneman I was mostly hoping to avoid answers like "if you make spherical poffertjes, they shouldn't be called poffertjes because poffertjes are flat by definition, ergo you can't ever use a round dimpled pan for poffertjes". If there is another difference to pouring poffertjes into round dimples than "they will be round" and "a true Dutchman will never call a round poffertje a poffertje", then I want to hear it. – rumtscho Jan 25 '16 at 22:26
  • To make things even more difficult in researching the question (I'm the one that asked) I also came across cast iron Plett pans where as the dimples are shallow and flat, but more approximately the diameter of an aebleskiver dimple – rheone Jan 26 '16 at 20:58
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There were five dishes mentioned in that post:

  1. Poffertjes
    Dutch pancake puffs.
    Small, shallow impressions.
  2. Æbleskiver
    Danish pancake balls.
    Large, deep (half-spherical) impressions.
  3. Takoyaki
    Japanese octopus pancake balls.
    Small, deep (half-spherical) impressions with a lip around the edge.
  4. Kanom Krok
    Thai coconut pancake snack.
    Small, (various depths) impressions
  5. Paddu
    Indian lentil & rice ?balls?.
    Deep impressions (various sizes), w/ matching lid.

I have tried my hand at making Kanom Krok in a poffertjes pan, and it came out well. I found that they were a bit too oniony for my taste if I added a pinch of green onion to each side, but it worked out well if I only did it to one of the halves. (don't leave it out, or it's too overwhelmingly sweet). If the indentations had been deeper, there would have been more batter, and thus it might've needed two pinches of onion.

You simply cannot make æbleskiver or takoyaki on anything that isn't half spherical — you're not simply flipping it over (like poffertjes & paddu) or joining two halves together — you need to roll it as you're making it. Æbleskiver can end up with a hollow inside them (that you can fill with apples or such), while takoyaki are often made by flooding the whole pan, and then rolling that extra bit from the top into the sphere so it doesn't have as significant of a void.

You could probably make æbleskiver on a takoyaki pan, but the size difference will mean that you make need a different viscosity and heat to properly set the outside while leaving the inside liquid enough to flow back down to seal the sphere. Takoyaki in an æbleskiver pan might be more difficult — the larger holes might prevent you from cooking the center through properly.

You can use an æbleskiver pan to make poffertjes, but it's a pain. Basically, you just put a little bit in the bottom of each one, and then flip it. You'll still get the right sized puff, because the æbleskiver indentations are much larger (typically 7 per pan vs. 19 for roughly the same diameter). Not only would it be slower from having less indentations, but it's much harder to get in there to flip. It'd be like using a Dutch oven to make an omelette — it might technically work, but it's really not the right tool for the job.

If you really had to, it'd almost be easier to make poffertjes on a griddle — just use a squeeze bottle so that you can more easily control the size of the puffs. It'll be a bit different, but it's better than only making 7 per batch.

I wouldn't make poffertjes on a takoyaki pan — you'd have to make really, really tiny ones, or you'd have to fill it so far that I'd have concerns about the middle cooking properly.

As for the paddu — I've never made it, but it seems to me that it could likely be done it any of the deeper indentation pans, provided you had a good way to cover it to let it steam. It's quite likely that a poffertjes pan would make for too thin of paddu, as you wouldn't get the expected contrast between interior & crust.


So, to summarize (partially assumptions):

  • Poffertjes pan: kanom krok
  • Æbleskiver pan: poffertjes (but it'd be a bit of a pain), paddu (if you can lid it)
  • Takoyaki pan: aebleskiver (but really small, might be a pain), paddu (if you can lid it)
  • Kanom Krok pan: poffertjes, paddu (if deep enough & can lid it)
  • Paddu pan: poffertjes (might be a slight pain), Kanom krok
  • (Griddle): poffertjes (if using a squeeze bottle & thick-ish batter, but they'll be sub-par)
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I could imagine problems with too little filling capacity when making small pies in the spherical ones, and problems with uneven cooking with massive batters - to think of the extremes, spherical will have about the same thickness of batter from heated surface to the center from every angle, flat and wide bottomed will be far from that... and heat transfer will be different if somebody puts the pan directly on top of a baking sheet.

  • I can't understand your last sentence. What do you mean by "if somebody stands it on a baking sheet". Stands what? – rumtscho Jan 25 '16 at 22:28
  • OK, I'm still missing a lot of the picture. Why would anybody ever put the pan on top of a baking sheet? Also, why would the heat transfer be different between an aebl. pan on a baking sheet vs a poffertje pan on a baking sheet? – rumtscho Jan 25 '16 at 22:31
  • Corrected the unclear usage of language. "stand" can be used with the meaning of "to cause to stand; set upright; set", however you are right, that usage can be misleading on an internationally used site. – rackandboneman Jan 25 '16 at 22:32
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    A flat muffin pan would have more metal directly contacting the sheet. And people tend to put pans that are too small for their oven on baking sheets if the grill is already in use, or if they are too lazy to rearrange things in the oven ... incorrect but not uncommon usage. Or someone might do it because the heat from the bottom of the oven is too strong, and a bright baking sheet will take up less of the radiant heat than a black pan.... – rackandboneman Jan 25 '16 at 22:38
  • OK, now I know where the misunderstanding comes from. I wasn't asking about muffin pans at all. – rumtscho Jan 26 '16 at 22:20

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