A few weeks ago I shared with you some of our Dutch Sinterklaas traditions and as we are nearing the end of the year I thought it would be nice to tell you about a typical Dutch New Year’s tradition too. When my husband came to The Netherlands for the very first time in December 2005 he was introduced to a special Dutch treat called ‘oliebollen’ (Oil balls) which people traditionally eat around New Year’s Eve as well as at fancy fairs etc. I myself am not a big fan but in my husband’s memory they are delicious so this year we made our first attempt at making them here in Australia.
To make oliebollen you need a deep fryer and as we didn’t have one yet we popped into our local Target store and picked up this Target Essentials Deep Fryer for $30. Obviously we don’t use a deep fryer that often and this one is simple, affordable and does the job really well, a wise choice I think. I am sure you can guess that being a deep fried food oliebollen are not overly healthy, it is good you only eat them once a year!
Now I’ll be honest here, to make it easy for ourselves (you could call it lazy) we just used a prepacked mix from the Dutch shop called Koopmans Oliebollen Mix. You only need to add water and you can also add sultanas/raisins if you like but they are not a must. One packet is enough to make 20-25 oliebollen depending on what size you make them. I’ll share a proper recipe later too for those who are keen to give it a go and prefer to make them from start to finish.
The preparation process is easy: Add water to the powder, whisk or use a kitchen machine to mix, cover and let it all rise for 45 minutes. In the meanwhile you preheat the deep fryer to 190 degrees celsius and then it is time to make your oliebollen. Use two tablespoons to make your mixture into balls, drop them in the hot oil and deep fry until cooked and golden brown (3-4 minutes). Take them out, let them rest on kitchen towel to remove the excess oil and they’re ready to be served!
Oliebollen are generally served with a good sprinkle of powder sugar (preferably the real Dutch stuff as it does taste different). I wish you could all have a try, I think they look really yummy! We served our oliebollen on these gorgeous light blue Target Vintage Dinner Plates ($5 each) and the striped paper napkins ($3.99 per 25) are from Target as well. If you love those cute plates too you should pop into the Target Homewares section, they even have matching bowls!
Fancy oliebollen from scratch:
1 big apple (soft and slightly sour) cut into very small pieces
225 gram sultanas/raisins
500 gram plain flour
1 sachet yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg (beaten)
300ml beer at room temperature
200ml milk at room temperature
1. Mix the apple, sultanas, salt and a few tablespoons of the flour in a bowl.
2. In a separate bowl mix the remainder of the flour, sugar and yeast.
3. Add to this the egg, beer and milk and use the hand mixer to combine until smooth. Gently fold in the sultana mixture.
4. Cover with a damp cloth in leave it to raise for about 2 hours in a warm spot until the mixture has doubled in size.
5. Heat the deep fryer to 185 degreese celsius.
6. Use an ice cream scoop or two table spoons to make the mixture into balls, drop them in the oil and cook for ca. 5 minutes until golden brown (turn them at halfway point). You can cook 5 oliebollen at the same time.
7. Once cooked remove them from the oil, place on paper towel to rest and serve with a good serving of powder sugar.