Krentenbollen for Queen's Day!

Hip hip hurray, it's Queen's Day! In Holland, every April 30th we celebrate old queen Juliana's birthday, with lots of flea markets, orange pastries and, for those so inclined, lots of beer. I haven't celebrated this yearly holiday for over 10 years and only remember it because it's also my brother Lucas's birthday.

But I did want to do something festive and Dutch and even if it wasn't an orange pastry, I did want it to have at least an orange tint to it. Lien from Notitie van Lien baked wonderful krentenbollen, or raisin buns, for BBD#28 last month and I was dying to try them.

I remember eating krentenbollen as a child. I was not particularly fond of them at the time, but would eat them anyway: my love for all things bread would always win. The raisins made the bread feel moist and gooey and every now and then you'd hit a bitter, burnt raisin. My mom would pack one with butter for school or we'd get them on Sundays as a special treat for breakfast.

After I moved away from Holland, it was never a food that I craved but it's so typically Dutch that I feel the need to bake them for this Queen's Day. And now that I bake them myself, I am happy to say that I have come to love these sweet, savory rolls. They are delicious with just a smear of butter, or with a nice sharp cheese.

So put on your tiaras, wear something orange and let's bake!

3.5 cups flour (or 500 gram)
1 tsp salt
3 tsp dry instant yeast
1 cup milk, luke warm
1 egg
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons soft butter
1/2 tsp orange zest
1/2 tsp lemon zest
2 cups of dark raisins
1 cup of currants*
1/4 cup of chopped dried apple

1 medium egg, whisked (to glaze)

Mix the flour with the salt, and sprinkle the yeast on the warm milk. While you wait for the yeast to proof, zest the orange and the lemone. Now add the milk to the flour and stir it to get a straggly dough. Keep stirring and add in the egg, the sugar, butter and zests until it has come together. Cover and let stand for 30 minutes.

Punch down the dough, and knead the mixture to a supple dough (in machine or by hand). If you knead by hand you can knead in the filling immediately. If you knead with the machine, first make a supple dough, then work in the filling by hand, so the raisins/currants won't break up.

Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover and let stand in a warm spot for 45 minutes.

Divide the dough in 12-18 equal pieces, shape into rolls and flatten them a bit. Place on a baking sheet covered with baking parchment, cover with greased plastic and let rise again for 1 - 1,5 hours.

In the meantime preheat the oven to 400°F.

Brush the rolls with the beaten egg and bake them for about 15 minutes (depending on the amount/size you made them) until light golden and done. Let them cool on a wire rack. .

(adapted from "Kleine broodjes van ver & dichtbij"- I. Berentschot)

* if you can't find currants, just alternate golden raisins with red raisins. I soaked my raisins in warm water before adding them to the dough. You may want to adjust your water/flour ratio if you do or don't.


Easter is coming! And with that, we get ready to plan the biggest meal of the weekend: Easter breakfast/brunch with the family! Pretty bread rolls and pastries, cold cuts, sweet bread toppings, egg dishes, juices, and loads and loads of coffee and tea, of course. After which the kids go for the egg hunt, and the adults remain at the table, picking at things, talking about (what else) the weather, and having another cup of coffee. Gezellig!

And we don't celebrate Easter once, we celebrate it twice! That's right - when the rest of the world is going back to work on Monday, the Dutch take another day off and celebrate what is known as Tweede Paasdag, Second Easter Day! Many government offices and most stores will continue to be closed that day, but it's a great day for taking a stroll along the beach or in the forest, visiting one of the theme parks that the country is rich, and for finishing up the leftovers of the previous day's lavish breakfast or brunch.

One highlight of the Easter brunch is the variety of breads: croissants, crunchy rolls, sliced loaves that tend to be a bit more luxurious than what usually comes to the table. You'll find a similar bread to the Kerststol, an almond paste filled fruit bread called Paasstol, or a Paasbrood in the stores, and the bakers will have a great selection of Easter-inspired pastries, cookies, bonbons, cakes and more.

Here at the Dutch Table, we've been making our own Paashaasjes, Easter bunnies, for every Easter brunch. These bread bunnies are a great way of combining bread and eggs into one, and they're a great favorite with the kids as well as adults. The dough is savory, not sweet, so combines well with the hard-boiled egg. They come in various shapes: these ones are our own design.

4 cups flour (500 gr.)
1 cup warm milk or water (236 ml)
1/2 cup buttermilk (118 ml)
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
6 small eggs, rinsed and dry
18 dark raisins or currants
1 egg, beaten well

Mix the warm milk or water and buttermilk, sprinkle the yeast on top and let it proof for several minutes. The yeast should start to form bubbles and create foam on the liquid. Add the flour to a bowl or mixer, pour in the yeasty milk and knead for several minutes. Add the salt and continue to knead until the dough comes together into a ball and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. (If you're a heavy scooper, you may need to add a little bit of liquid for it to come together). Knead the dough on the counter for a couple of minutes, then cover and rest it in a greased bowl, at room temperature, and let it rise until double.

Punch down the dough and divide it into six equal parts, rolling each into a ball. Relax the dough for five minutes, covered, then roll into ovals of approximately 6 to 7 inches long with the help of a rolling pin. With a sharp knife or with scissors, make a cut of about two inches length-wise in the top of the dough: those will be the ears. Make a similar cut one inch on each side of the ear at an angle, and then cut back at an angle (see picture above, that's easier than trying to explain it!).

Put three raisins (two for the eyes, one for the nose) where the face is going to be. Stretch both of those arms a bit, put a raw egg in the shell (the egg will be hard-boiled when it comes out of the oven) on its tummy and fold the arms over. Place the bunnies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Cover and let rise in a warm place until puffy. Push the raisins in just a bit so that they'll cook in the dough and not on top, as they may come off. Right before going in the oven, brush the bunnies with the egg wash, and press a toothpick in sideways to mark the whiskers, the ears and the paws.

Bake at 375F (190C) for about 20 minutes or until golden.

This will make six bunnies.


So here I am, boasting how easy it was to make the Bossche bollen, how yummie they were and did I say how easy it was to make them, when somebody said: you should make those with banana pudding inside!
I'll be darned! We have something called bananensoes in Holland which is similar to a Bossche bol but with, yeah you guessed it, bananas. Check this out!

In this case I didn't add real bananas to the whipped cream because I had no intention to cutting the bol open, quite honestly for fear that the whole thing would collapse. But usually the bananensoes is an elongated éclair-esque pastry, with whipped cream and slices of fresh banana in the middle, topped with a white chocolate glaze colored yellow with food coloring and finished with brown chocolate drizzle (I'm sure there is a technical term for this but it eludes me this second).

Instead of splitting up the dough into two or four, I just made one whopping big soes. Just because.

1/3 cup of flour
1/3 cup of water
2 tablespoons of butter
1 egg, beaten
pinch of salt

1/2 cup of white chocolate chips
1 tablespoon of water
1 drop of yellow food coloring

1/2 cup of whipping cream
2 tablespoons of sugar
1 tablespoon of banana cream pudding mix

1/4 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon of water

Heat the water and the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, then take off the stove. Add the flour and stir until it all comes together in a ball. Throw in the pinch of salt, stir in the egg and continue to stir until the dough has absorbed all the egg and is a homogenous whole.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, divide the dough in four (for smaller bollen) or in two (for decent sized ones) and place it on top of the parchment. Bake in an 375F degree oven for about 20-25 minutes or until puffy and golden. Cool on a rack.

In the meantime, beat the whipping cream, the sugar and the banana pudding mix until it's stiff. Fill a pastry bag with small tip and poke through the bottom of the soes. Fill with whipped cream. Heat the chocolate chips and the tablespoon of water in the microwave (30 seconds on medium), stir until the chocolate has melted and the sauce has come together. Let it cool for about 10 minutes, add the food coloring, then carefully take the cream-filled bananensoes and dip, head first, into the chocolate. If you don't want to get your hands dirty, just set the soes on a rack and slowly pour the chocolate over the top, one spoonful at a time. Prepare the dark chocolate sauce the same way and drizzle over the bananensoes.

Cool in the fridge for about 20 minutes or until the chocolate is solid and everything has had a chance to firm up a bit.

Bossche Bollen

Anytime we travel by train in the Netherlands, I always check to see if, by chance, Den Bosch station is on the route. Ever since I found out that the pastry store of Jan de Groot is right outside the station, I try to stop in and have their signature pastry: the Bossche bol. I take my research very seriously! ;-) Their iconic pastries are like chocolate eclairs but bigger, fluffier, rounder, with better chocolate and much more cream. These Bossche beauties have made the city of 's Hertogenbosch famous (or is it the other way around?) and are the number one pastry that is served with a fork and knife* and a handful of napkins. Because there is no way, just like with the tompouce, that you will not end up with whipped cream on your lap, on your tie or blouse, and on your fingers. And that is just the charm of these bollen.

Now, these come together fairly quickly and are not all that hard to make, so give it a try! And if they don't come out looking exactly the same as Jan de Groot's - not to worry. Practice makes perfect - and it's better to have a funny shaped Bossche bol than no Bossche bol. Right? Right!

Bossche Bollen
For the dough:
1/2 cup (125 ml) water
3 tablespoons (50 grams) butter
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup (75 grams) all-purpose flour
2 eggs, beaten

For the filling:
1 cup (250 ml) whipping cream
2 large tablespoons powdered sugar

For the glaze:
1/3 cup (75 ml) whipping cream
1 cup (125 grams) semi-sweet chocolate chips

Heat the water and the butter and a pinch of salt in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, then take off the stove. Add the flour and stir until it all comes together in a ball. Let it cool a little bit (just a few minutes), then stir in the eggs a few spoonfuls at a time, and continue to stir until the dough has absorbed all the egg and is a homogenous whole.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, divide the dough in four and place it on top of the parchment. Bake in a 375F/190C degree oven for about 20-25 minutes or until puffy and golden. Cool on a rack. As they cool, they will deflate some, but not to worry. 

In the meantime, beat the whipping cream and the sugar until stiff. Fill a pastry bag with a small tip and poke through the bottom of the bol. Cup the pastry, bottom up, in your hand, and fill with whipped cream. It will puff up nicely and give a round shape to the pastry.

Heat the cream on the stove to boiling, then pull it off the heat and stir in the chocolate chips. Let them melt, and stir the whole thing into a sauce. Let it cool for about 10 minutes or until lukewarm, then carefully take the cream-filled Bossche bol and dip, head first, into the chocolate. If you don't want to get your hands dirty, just set the bollen on a rack and slowly pour the chocolate over the top, one spoonful at a time. I have had the best luck with pouring over, for an even coating. 

Cool in the fridge for about 20 minutes or until the chocolate is solid and everything has had a chance to firm up a bit. Enjoy with a nice cup of coffee and some good company. And keep those napkins handy!

And this is what happens when you turn your back for a moment and somebody else is with you in the kitchen.......Needless to say, the Bossche bol is messy enough to easily identify the culprit, although I wasn't sure if the whipped cream on their chin or the cheesy grin on their face gave them away. Both, I guess!

* purists will shudder at the thought of being given a knife and fork! They turn the pastry upside down and just bite into it. 


Tiger rolls, tiger bread, or Dutch crunch are a typical and traditional Dutch bread. When I grew up, it would mostly appear as a luxury bread on weekends, or during special holiday breakfasts or brunches, such as Easter or Christmas. I am not sure why it's called tiger bread, although I assume because it has a rather exotic looking crust, but it could just as well have been called giraffe bread or leopard bread. But tiger bread it is, so that's what we'll call it!  The unique crust is achieved by spreading a rice flour and yeast paste on the bread dough. As the bread rises, the crust splits into separate crunchy little morsels. Eat these rolls warm out of the oven or re-heated: the crust will have a pleasant crunch and the taste will be optimal. For a richer dough, you can use milk instead of water. 

© Maas en Scheldebode 14 June 1901 pg.8

The earliest advertisement that I was able to find stems from 1901, where master baker Wessels from 
Sommelsdijk (Zuid-Holland) announces the availability of "tijgerbrood" daily, but no information whatsoever as to where it came from, who invented it, or how it came about. One source online suggests that it must have come from Asia, seeing as how rice flour was not used in the Netherlands. But Aaltje's cookbook from 1845 includes several recipes with rice, and rice flour, so it wasn't all that uncommon. It was however considered a bread in its own category, as many baking competitions and baker certifications had a separate category for tiger bread. 

Oh well. I will keep digging to see if I can figure it out, but in the meantime, let's bake! 

For the dough
4 cups all-purpose flour (550 gr.)
1 1/2 cup warm water (355 ml)
2 teaspoons active dry yeast (8 gr.)
1 teaspoon kosher salt (8 gr.)
1 teaspoon sugar (6 gr.)
1 tablespoon butter, melted (15 gr.)

For the crust paste
3/4 cup rice flour (100 gr.)
1/2 cup warm water (118 ml)
1 tablespoon active dry yeast (9 gr.)
1 tablespoon sugar (15 gr.)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil (15 gr.)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (1 gr.)

For the dough, mix the flour, salt, yeast and sugar. Add the warm water and knead until a soft dough. Add in the tablespoon of melted butter, knead together. Let rise for an hour, or until doubled, punch down and divide into equally sized rolls ( I measure mine out at approx. 3.5 oz/100 grams each)

For the crust, mix flour with water, yeast and the sugar. Stir, then add the salt and the oil. Let sit for about fifteen minutes (get a cup big enough because it will rise extensively!). Brush the rolls with the mixture, applying a layer of paste on the top and sides of the rolls. (You will not use up all the paste, somewhere up to 3/4 of the mixture - just don't spread it on too thick)

Proof the rolls for another ten minutes, then bake in a 375F oven for about 20-22 minutes or until golden brown. Best eaten the same day.

Makes nine rolls.