New Year's Eve in Holland is a great example. What better way to ring in the new year than by eating deep-fried doughballs and coated apple slices? Oliebollen (literally "balls of oil") and appelbeignets are a standard fare during the holiday season. The raisins and apples in the dough can hardly be considered a nutritional advantage but it's one of those once-a-year treats that one looks forward to!
I love oliebollen but can only stomach about two. The usual amounts given in recipes are for 30 or more. Here's one that makes about eight oliebollen. Use soybean or sunflower oil in your fryer to fry these, not shortening. Oliebollen are good cold too, with a hot cup of coffee and some extra powdered sugar.
1/3 cup mixed dried fruits (raisins, currants)
2 teaspoons of active dry yeast
1/2 cup of milk,warm
1 cup of all purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoon of sugar
pinch of lemon zest
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon of butter, softened
1 heaping tablespoon of powdered sugar
Soak the dried fruits in some rum, orange juice or warm water several hours before, preferably the night prior to the frying. It's traditional to use currants and raisins, but fresh or dried apples, apricots, cherries are all very nice as well. Drain the fruits before you add them to the batter.
Dissolve the yeast in the warm milk. Mix the flour, sugar and the lemon zest, and stir in the milk and yeast mix. Add the salt, the egg and the butter and stir the batter for several minutes until everything is nicely blended. Stir in the drained raisins. Cover and let rise until it doubled its volume.
In the meantime, heat the oil in the fryer up to 350F. Place a plate with several paper towels to soak up the excess fat of the fried goods. Use a large spoon or an ice cream scoop to scoop out a portion, drop it into the hot oil and fry for about four minutes on each side or until brown. Dipping the scoop or spoon in the hot oil before each scoop will make it easier to drop the batter into the oil. It's important to gauge the temperature of your oil: too hot an oil will scorch the outside but leave the inside of the balls uncooked. A low temperature will not fry the balls fast enough and they will become "sinkers": oil-saturated and inedible.
Drain the balls on paper towels, then transfer onto a new plate and sprinkle with powdered sugar.
|Oliebollen on the left, appelbeignets on the right....|
Happy New Year!