Oliebollen aka Dutch Doughnuts are eaten at New Year's Eve. A real dutch tradition. They’re crispy on the outside and soft and juicy on the inside. Fill them with currants and apple or just let them be au naturel. And don't forget to sprinkle some icing sugar on them (it's a sweet tooth treat).
In the Netherlands, we eat Dutch Donuts (also called oil balls or dutch oliebollen) and Apple Fritters on new year’s eve. You'll find them at every new year’s party. A tradition that goes back for many, many years.
In the last week of the year, you see food trucks everywhere where you can buy these delicious treats. And these oliebollen stands to sell a lot of oliebollen. We even got a best oliebollen competition. The Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad publicizes the top 10 every year in their paper.
These treats are about 5 cm balls (2 inches) and they're baked in hot oil until golden brown and some confectioner's sugar is sprinkled on top. You eat them when they're still hot.
The balls are airy, moist, and got an American doughnut flavor. The filling with currants and apple pieces (or without if you like that) gives a sweet and sour flavor. And if you don't have a dutch doughnut food truck nearby?
I'll share with you this easy recipe for a traditional oliebollen recipe (the Best I've ever had and I've read many dutch cookbooks).
History of the Dutch oliebol
The history of these treats goes way back to the beginning of the Christian Era. The Friesen and Bataven (germanic tribes) offered food to the gods to keep them satisfied. One Germanic goddess Perchta got food that was fried in oil and sprinkled with white flour. The belief was that the grease in the food would cause the sword of the goddess to slide off their bodies and remove the evil spirits.
In the middle ages, around the 17th century, it was poor man's food, which was given on November 11th (Sint Maarten) to the poor to wish them luck.
From the 19th century, it became a habit to eat these oliebollen (or oliekoeken (oil cookies)) on New Year's Eve. Probably because this fried dough is very nutritious, which is helpful in the cold winter period.
Do we eat these sweet treats for the rest of the year? Not very often, they contain much fat, but when there is a fair in town, you'll probably see some stands selling warm oliebollen. And a lot of Dutch families are buying them too!
Ingredients to prepare these traditional dougnuts
The full list of basic ingredients can be found at the bottom.
- Yeast, instant - This recipe uses 1 oz. (30 grams / 6 teaspoons) of instant yeast. If you prefer to use fresh yeast, you need 2 oz. (60 grams). If you use dry yeast, you need 1 oz. (30 grams). Note: with both fresh yeast and dry yeast, you must first dissolve the yeast in lukewarm milk before adding it.
- Beer - use pilsner or ipa. The beer gives the dough the airiness which makes the balls so good.
- Raisins and apples - both optional, give the oliebollen a sweet and sour flavor. When using raisins soak them in hot water before use, otherwise they will burn. Choose a sour apple, like a Goudreinette or Granny Smith.
- Oil - Use vegetable oil or peanut oil for deep frying.
How to prepare a basket of oliebollen
You can find a recipe that you can easily print at the bottom of the blog.
- Start by preparing the batter. Soak the raisins for the best result for at least one hour and pat them dry. Melt the butter on low heat in a saucepan. Take some warm milk and add the yeast. Let it stand for about 5 minutes. In a large bowl add the wheat flour, salt, and sugar and mix the eggs through the batter. Add the beer a dash at a time while mixing until all lumps are gone. Add the yeast-milk mixture, melted butter, and cinnamon. Mix. When preparing Dutch oliebollen with raisins and apples, now is the time to add them and mix them through the batter with a spatula.
- Put a damp tea towel and a plastic wrap on top and let it stand at a warm place for about 1 hour. Then whisk the batter with a wooden spoon or spatula.
- Preheat the deep fryer to 350 °F or 180 °C. Take your batter and mix it through with a wooden spoon. Take an ice cream scoop and put small balls of the dough in the hot oil.
- Let the oil cake bake for 3 minutes and then turn them around. Bake them for another three minutes. Take them out of the frying pan with a slotted spoon. Drain them on a paper towel and dust doughnuts with powdered sugar.
Other delicious recipes
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The Best Traditional Oliebollen (Dutch Donuts) (So Delicious)
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- 2 cups raisins (optional)
- ½ stick butter unsalted
- ¼ cups milk
- 1 oz yeast instant,
- 2 eggs size L
- 1½ tablespoons sugar
- ½ oz. salt
- 1 apple (optional) peeled, cored and cut into small cubes, sour apples are the best (Granny Smith or Goudreinette)
- 1 gallons sunflower oil
- 4 tablespoons confectioners sugar
- Wash the raisins and leave them in a small bowl, just below water level for about 1 hour.2 cups raisins
- Melt the butter on low heat. Warm the milk to 100 °F / 37 °C.½ stick butter, ¼ cups milk
- Stir the yeast in the milk.1 oz yeast
- Mix the flour, salt, and sugar in a bowl and stir the eggs, one by one, through the batter.8 cups flour, 1½ tablespoons sugar, ½ oz. salt, 2 eggs
- With a whisk mix the beer through the dough, bit by bit.3 cups beer
- Stir until all lumps are gone.
- Add the milk-yeast mixture, butter, and cinnamon and mix well.⅛ teaspoon cinnamon
- At last, add the raisins and the apple and stir slowly with a wooden spoon for a few minutes.2 cups raisins, 1 apple
- Wet a towel with lukewarm water and lay this over the bowl. Top with plastic foil.
- Let the dough rise for about one hour in a warm area.
- Heat the sunflower oil to 350 °F / 180 °C.
- After this hour whisk gently with a wooden spoon through the batter.
- With two spoons make small balls and place them in the heated oil.
- Fry the donuts for 3 minutes at each site. Lay kitchen paper in a colander and get the donuts on top after baking, to get rid of excess oil.1 gallons sunflower oil
- Dust the donuts with powdering sugar before eating them. They're delicious eaten warm and cold.4 tablespoons confectioners sugar