Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Dancing the Oliebollen

Continuing on my quest to make all the Dutch treats that I remember from my childhood, I thought it might not yet be too late in the year to make another NY Netherlands specialty- oliebollen. 
It's a bit like a doughnut- only without the hole and filled with dried fruit- I can still remember the excitement that raced through my little veins when dad started dropping the doughy nuggets into the sizzling pan of oil and the yeasty bready smell that filled the kitchen as they drained and cooled on paper towel. I can even remember repeatedly burning my little pink tongue as I impatiently bit into hot oliebollen that had not quite rested long enough... and still I would go back for more. Even before we coated them in a dusting of sugar I would try and sneak them away, determined that I should pilfer the one that looked best from the stack!
I have been through several different recipes, but after finding something inherently wrong with all of them, I called my mum for the recipe we used when I was a child. I asked why I could not see mixed peel on any of the ingredients lists, and my mum laughed and happily advised me that the mixed peel was in fact our own family addition to this recipe. Our special little touch- mum even occasionally added red and green cherries which would stain the surrounding dough with their glace glory!
So this afternoon, my other half and I embarked on the the oliebollen dance, reflecting as best we could memories of my mum rolling the balls of dough and dad next to her at the stove, dunking and turning the frying balls of happiness with a waiting plate in hand.  

Oliebollen: Dutch doughnuts
* I sachet dried yeast 
(about 7 grams or 1 teaspoon- granulated yeast is best as you do not need to activate it and just mix it in with the dry ingredients as per below)
* 1 cup of room temperature milk
* 2 1/4 cups of plain flour
* 2 teaspoons salt
* 1 egg (lightly beaten)
* 1 1/2 cups of mixed currents & raisins 
(this is where we add the mixed peel)
* 1 cooking apple (peeled, cored and finely chopped)
* oil for deep frying 
* caster sugar to coat

In a large bowl combine the flour, salt and yeast and mix thoroughly. 
Add the egg and milk and mix through. Then add the remaining ingredients of dried fruits and apple and thoroughly combine.
Leave in a warm place for around an hour or until doubled in size.  
Heat enough oil in a saucepan to deep-fry small balls of the dough. Break off portions of dough about the size of a golf ball. Then drop the portions of dough into the pan of boiling oil and fry until golden brown- remove using a slotted spoon and leave to drain on paper towel. 
Once they are dry and crispy, pile them all into a dish and rain sugar down onto them. Cover them liberally with sugar and serve. 
Just a warning- Dutch or not, I am up to my fifth one tonight! Happy New Year- even in February.

(Note: if you are not using instant granulated yeast you will need to activate it. To do this, simply sprinkle the yeast over 1/4 cup of the lukewarm milk and leave to activate, then just add it in when you would add the milk as above)

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