Oliebollen are Dutch doughnuts traditionally served as a treat at New Year. Their name translates as oily balls which really doesn’t do them justice. Fried at the right temperature they will not be oily at all. Just golden delicious balls of dough, serve dusted with icing sugar that are quite irresistible!
A New Year’s tradition
- Party food
- Family favourite
For quite a few years now we have have celebrated new year with a good friend of mine Natalie, along with her brother Bob and nephew Timo and various other friends. Originally from Holland, Natalie is now lucky enough to live near the river in central London, so we sometimes meet up at our place but often at hers. We will usually enjoy a meal together and then go out just before midnight to get a glimpse of the fireworks. It’s not always a great view, especially if the wind is in the wrong direction, but we do get to see at least some of the higher ones (we can usually see about 1/2 the London eye from behind), and it’s fun to be outside to welcome in the new year.
Whether we celebrate from her place or ours we always start the evening off with some Oliebollen. So they are becoming a bit of tradition for me too. Bob usually brings a packet of mix with him from Holland then makes and cooks them. However I thought it would be fun to make them from scratch and share the recipe with you, so you too could try this New Year tradition. So I asked Natalie to see if she had a recipe for them and she came up trumps when she looked through an old cookbook, no longer in print that originally belonged to her mother.
Plain or with fruit
A few tweaks and the result were Oliebollen that looked and, I think, tasted just like the ones we eat at New Year, if perhaps slightly denser in texture definitely equally as delicious. After doing a bit of research it would appear that when not eaten plain, Oliebollen often have a raisins, currants and sometimes chopped apple added to the mixture. Natalie, Bob and Timo prefer their Oliebollen plain. I added some raisins to half the dough but I don’t think I added enough (I’ve tweaked the recipe to allow for this), so next time I would add some currants and apple too. Now that Bob knows I have made them, he is thinking that maybe he doesn’t have to bring a packet mix any more and I can make them in future. Looks like I have gained a job to do! The addition of fruit will have to wait for another time.
- 500 g plain flour all purpose
- 20 g easy blend yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 large egg
- 350 ml luke warm milk
- 100 g raisins optional
- 100 g currants optional
- 1 small sharp green apple peeled cored and chopped (optional)
- oil for deep frying
- Place the flour in a mixing bowl and add the yeast and salt, stir until well combined.
- Make a well in the centre of the flour and drop in the egg, then add the milk. Mix to a wet sticky dough with a wooden spoon (or use a dough hook to mix if using a stand mixer).
- Add the dried fruit and/or apple if using.
- Cover and leave in a warm space for about 1 hour or until doubled in size. I use a disposable shower cap kept for that purpose but you could use cling film or a damp tea towel.
- Heat the oil in a deep fat fryer to 190℃/ 375°F. Use two spoons to drop balls of the dough mixture into the oil and cook for about 5-8 minutes until golden. Shake off excess fat and drain on kitchen paper.
- Serve dusted with icing sugar. Best served warm and freshly made.