Speaking of words I love, oliebollen is quite a good one. Pronounced oh-lee-bollen, which is apparently Dutch for 'oily balls', the delicious little fruit-filled doughnuts are said to be popular around the world.
The first time I tasted them, or something similar, was in the 1970s when my late mother in law, Alma, who was of AustroHungarian/German/Romanian origins, made her traditional apfelkrapfen or apple fritters for the family. Interestingly enough, a reference on Wikipedia notes that oliebollen were first eaten by Germanic tribes in the Netherlands during the festive season.
Alma's were the best of these that I have ever eaten, but I have also enjoyed oliebollen bought from stalls at the Salamanca Markets in Hobart and the Noosa Farmers Market on Queensland's Sunshine Coast, among others. Actually, the photograph below of the apple and the clog was taken in Noosa.
Being deep-fried, these are best eaten as treats. The main thing is to tuck into them while they are hot, fresh from the pan and dusted with plenty of pure icing sugar.
125ml (1/2 cup) milk, lukewarm
7g sachet dried yeast
1 tablespoon vanilla-infused caster sugar
250g plain (all purpose) flour
1 free-range egg, lightly whisked
50g raisins or currants
20g candied citrus peel
1 Granny Smith or cooking apple, peeled, finely diced
sunflower or vegetable oil, for frying
icing sugar, to serve
Combine milk, yeast and caster sugar in a small Pyrex jug. Stir with a teaspoon and set aside in a warm corner of the kitchen bench for about ten minutes or so, until the mixture bubbles.
Place the flour in a bowl and make a well in the centre. Pour in the yeast starter, then add the egg and mix well. Now fold in the fruit - the apple, the raisins or currants and the peel. Beat the mixture well. Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel and leave the dough to rise in a warm place for about an hour, until the dough has doubled in size.
Heat the oil in a deep sided pan or a carbon steel wok, Test the oil temperature with a small blob of dough. It should rise and turn golden reasonably quickly - say in half a minute. If slow to do so, the oil is not hot enough. If the dough burns immediately, the oil is too hot.
Working quickly, take two dessertspoons and form the dough into roughly 6cm balls. Slip them into the oil a few at a time, turning occasionally with a slotted spoon. Remove the oliebollen from the oil when they are deep golden brown (test one to ensure that the dough is cooked through). Drain them on paper towel. Dust with icing sugar and serve immediately. Makes 10.
Tell me dear readers, have you ever tried oliebollen or apfelkrapfen?
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- Liz Posmyk
NB: I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.