How to make Dutch Oliebollen

My husband wanted to share his Oliebollen recipe here with us and I do hope you like it as much as we do! Even with a fever and a flu he made the recipe for us today and we are eating them right now! Let me know if you try it. Don’t be intimidated!

The van Hylckama Vlieg Secret Recipe

Since I don’t read I figured I’d do a guest blog on something else that matters: food! Here’s for a truly gourmet Dutch tradition brought to the USA by yours truly: Oliebollen! Every year at New Years Eve I make oliebollen for our family. So besides a Dutch tradition they’re also a van Hylckama Vlieg family tradition.

Oliebollen are a must-have treat for New Years Eve in the Netherlands. There’s hardly anyone in the Netherlands who doesn’t eat at least one or two of these during the holidays. And why? Because these treats rule! You’ll find out soon enough. If you succeed that is… Read on!

Here’s what you’re going to need:

  • 28 oz milk
  • 2.2 pounds white flour
  • 7 oz Samuel Adams Lager
  • 1 bag of SunSweet AntiOxidant Blend or any other dried fruit mix you may like (about 5-7oz)
  • 5 oz raisins
  • half a lemon
  • 3 eggs
  • 5 tsp dry yeast
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 10 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2/3 gallon of sunflower oil or vegetable oil
  • Powdered sugar

1: Preparing the batter

  1. Chop the dried fruit blend into smaller pieces on a cutting block with a large chopping knife.
  2. Put the raisins and dried fruit blend in hot water and let this stand for at least an hour.
  3. Add the beer to the milk and warm this mix to a luke warm. Now thoroughly stir the dry yeast through the mix.
  4. Squeeze the lemon and add the juice to the milk.
  5. Put the flour in a large bowl. Important: the bowl needs to be a LOT larger than you think because the batter will almost double in volume after rising. A bucket is your best bet here!
  6. Add the milk mix, the butter, the eggs, salt and sugar and stir/mix well. Make sure you eliminate any lumps unless you like chomping on dry flour once the Oliebollen are done.
  7. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and leave it standing in a warm place for an hour. Do NOT cheat and peak under the cloth during this time. Don’t disturb the raising process!

2: Frying

I’ll be honest here, the frying requires some skill and finesse. Follow these instructions closely and you’ll hopefully do fine.

The most important factor that determines the difference between great Oliebollen and miserable FAIL is the temperature of the oil. There are two ways of making sure the temperature is right:

  1. Use an electric frying pan. Set the temperature to 175C / 350F. Easy eh? Would be if frying pan thermostats were actually accurate. At any rate this will give you a decent ballpark temperature. Read on to find out whether the temperature is really right and adjust accordingly.
  2. Use a large pan on a gas stove. What? Yep! A gas stove. Forget about electric stoves because there’s no way on earth you’re gonna be able to regulate the temperature with that. Real cooks use gas stoves.

Do NOT think: “Screw this guy. What the hell does he know eh? I’m gonna do this on my electric stove anyway!” You will FAIL. If you don’t have a gas stove, buy a deep fryer. They’re cheap and you’ll be able to fry unhealthy greasy goodness for a long time. WIN!

To determine the temperature of the oil we can use an old granny trick: a piece of white bread. When you think the oil is starting to get pretty hot, put a piece of white bread (the bread only, not the crust) in the oil and watch what happens. If the piece turns dark almost immediately your oil is too hot. Turn down the gas and wait for it to cool off a bit. If the piece stays white and eventually sinks your oil is too cold. Wait for it to heat up more. You know you’ve reached the sweet spot when the bread slowly turns to a golden brown. You can usually maintain the temperature pretty well by having the gas stove at about half-strength during the entire frying session. Feel free to retest the temperature with some more bread if you’re in doubt. People who still ignored what I said about lame electric stoves will now find out they cannot keep the temperature right. Sucks to be them.

Frying the Oliebollen in vegetable oil on a gas stove

The reason this temperature is so important is how the Oliebollen get done in the oil. Too hot means the outside will look done while the inside is still liquid batter. That’s one way to make sure your family or friends will spend New Years Eve on the toilet. Too cold means the Oliebollen will take forever to get done and suck up a whole lot of oil in the process. You guessed it, another one-way ticket to a New Years Eve on the toilet. Besides that, both types of failed Oliebollen taste like crap so you’ll want to make sure the temperature is right.

Now comes the hardest bit: frying the Oliebollen. You’re gonna need two large tablespoons. Grab some batter between two spoons and try to gracefully put it in the hot oil. It helps to dip the spoons in the oil before you grab some batter. It requires some subtle skill to get the batter to go into the oil and fry into a ball shape rather than some poor exploded donut. My technique: juggle batter onto one spoon with the other one to the point where it’s more batter than the spoon can really hold. For a second or so it will which is when you swiftly move it into the oil. Then quickly use the other spoon to release the batter from the spoon that was originally holding it. Do not fumble around, remove the spoons from the oil.

After a while you’ll see the bottom part of the floating oliebollen starting to turn brown. Flip them over with a fork or a spoon. Do this a few times until they are golden brown. Take them out of the oil and lay them out on some paper towels. With the first few you’ll want to cut them in half to make sure you have the frying time right. If the inside is still liquid try leaving the next batch in the oil for a little while longer. A ballpark frying time figure: 3-4 minutes. Obviously the actual time depends on how much batter per Oliebol you’re using. Tiny ones require less time, large ones more time. Don’t fry more than 4-5 at a time. If you’re not great at quickly getting the batter in the oil yet, fry only 2 or so at a time. You want the whole batch to be done at the same time which is not possible if it takes you several minutes to get five bits of batter in the oil.

A bowl full of delicious oliebollen

A bowl full of delicious oliebollen

When done frying through your entire large bowl of batter you should have a hefty amount of oliebollen. Enough for a large family + guests for sure.

3: Serving

Serve your Oliebollen with powdered sugar. You can eat them warm and cold. If you like them warm you can reheat them in an oven before eating. Don’t use a microwave unless you like spongeballs.

Serve with powdered sugar. Enjoy!

Enjoy your Oliebollen and… happy new year!

8 Responses so far

  1. Gravatar

    Hi,

    It was fun to read this post by Marco while still being full after a night of eating and drinking and celebrating the new year.

    Tip for next year: ‘How to make Dutch Appelflappen’ ;-)

    Best wishes from Amsterdam, the Netherlands!

  2. Gravatar

    He said next year he was also going to make Appelflappen! I can’t wait to try that.

  3. Gravatar

    Oooh, appelflappen are much better than oliebollen, in my opinion :)

    And it is funny how you have to get all those complicated ingredients, we just buy “oliebollen mix” if we bake them ourselves. Since we don’t have a frying pan, we just buy oliebollen in the shops.

    I know this is an old post, but I wanted to wish you a good 2011 anyway!

  4. Gravatar

    how much does the recipe make?

  5. Gravatar

    James,

    30-40 medium sized balls.

  6. Gravatar

    Hi, my father was wanting to make oliebollen, but i just want to make it a bit simpler for him, do you need to use a specific type of beer or will any beer do? Thankyou.

  7. Gravatar

    Any beer will do. Something thin though, like Budweiser.

  8. Gravatar

    My mother makes this each year!! No gas stove in our house, but invest in an enamel coated 6 qt. Dutch Oven. Much easier to regulate the temperature, even on electric burners.

    Temperature is the key. She makes her’s a bit smaller and not as dark, but looks great.

    Happy New Year!!

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