You can find the largest Doll's House in the Netherlands in the Ontvangershuis of the Drents Museum. In the Doll's House, you will travel back to the Drenthe of the 18th century and take a look at the life of the distinguished Van Lier family and their staff. One of the staff members is Jantien Boerema, or Kokkie! Without the beloved cook, houses of distinction could not exist. Every day she creates the most delicious dishes. On this page Kokkie shares her favourite recipe with us. It's fun to make together at home. So roll up your sleeves, get to work and make a typical 18th century delicacy! We are curious to see the results and invite you to share your results with us on social media under the hashtag #KokenmetDM!
The favourite recipe to share with you is the one for biscuits. And not just any biscuits, no, the deluxe version! Kaakjes, or biscuits, are a typically Dutch treat. You might think that they are served with a cup of tea. But nothing could be further from the truth! According to the cookbook 'De Volmaakte Hollandsche Keuken-Meid’ (The Perfect Dutch Kitchen Maid), biscuits were served as a dessert by a well-to-do family in the 18th century. The cookery book was written by "A distinguished lady, recently deceased in The Hague" and first published in 1746.
The original recipe contains several ingredients that are no longer available or very expensive. For example, ambergris (a predominantly grey-coloured, hard waxy product from the intestines of sperm whales) now costs on average €80 per gram! That is why we are sharing the recipe below, from Christianne Muusers (www.coquinaria.nl), with ingredients from the 21st century. The result remains the same, of course.
For about 50 biscuits
Preparation: 25 minutes, plus time for dough to rise
Baking: 90 minutes
- 500 gr flour
- 2½ tbsp sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp each of ground cinnamon, cloves, mace and nutmeg
- 85 gr butter at room temperature
- 5 tbsp (75 ml) cream
- ½ egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tbsp rose water
- 125 gr currants
- 50 gr raisins
- Raising agent
4½ tbsp (67.5 ml) fresh brewer's yeast
15 g baker's yeast, dissolved in 4½ tbsp (67.5 ml) lukewarm water
1 tbsp (67.5 ml) active dry yeast, mix directly into the flour and add 4½ tbsp (67.5 ml) lukewarm water to the cream
For the glaze:
- 1 egg white beaten
- ½ tablespoon rose water
- icing sugar
Make the dough by first kneading flour, sugar, spices, salt and butter. If you are using dry yeast, mix it through the flour first. Then mix cream, yeast mixture or lukewarm water, egg, egg yolks and rose water together and gradually add it while kneading the dough. Cover with a damp cloth and leave to rise in a warm place. Depending on the yeast used, this will take one hour (baker's yeast) or several hours (beer yeast). Then mix in the currants and raisins.
- Preheat the oven to 150 °C. Take care! Do not overheat, or the currants and raisins will burn.
- Then roll out the dough thinly on a floured surface (also sprinkle flour on the dough). Cut or cut out biscuits and place them on baking paper on a baking tray. Bake the biscuits in the middle of the oven until they are almost done, about 40 to 50 minutes.
- Remove the biscuits from the oven when they are almost done. Increase the oven temperature to 200 °C with top heat. Stir the two egg whites with rose water. Brush the hot biscuits one by one with the egg white-rose water mixture, sprinkle them immediately with icing sugar and place them on the baking tray. Place the tray back in the oven, now slightly above the centre, and bake until the sugar is caramelised, but not yet burnt.
Will you have a biscuit with your tea/coffee or will you stick to the 18th century tradition and serve the biscuits as dessert with your dinner? Enjoy your meal!