I've been eating these for years, but I never knew what they were called until a month ago. Every year we used to drive the 8 hours (then 5 hours when they fixed the highway) to Albury to visit my grandparents, and the hours of boredom and fighting with my brother on the way were compensated by a batch of freshly fried Dutch doughnuts at the Sunday Trash & Treasure Markets.
The taste, smell and texture of those doughnuts are implanted in my memory forever - they have a beautifully crisp outer, and fluffy, soft innards. Studded with raisins and dusted with a liberal amount of icing sugar and cinammon, they were probably the ultimate comfort food of my childhood.
Recently I found the recipe here, and thought I'd give it a go - it was only when I fried a batch of these that I realised these Oliebollen were the doughnuts of my youth.
1 tsp sugar
2 small packets of dry yeast
4 cups flour
1/4 cup white sugar
2 cups milk
1 tsp salt
1 peeled and grated Granny Smith apple
1/2 cup of raisins or sultanas
8 cups vegetable/sunflower oil
1. In a medium-sized bowl, mix the teaspoon of sugar into 1/2 cup (120 ml) of warm water. Sprinkle the yeast on top, stir, cover with then allow to stand for 10 minutes.
2. Mix together the flour and sugar in a large bowl and make a well in the middle. Add the eggs as well as the yeast mixture. Warm up milk in the microwave for approximately 30 seconds until lukewarm. Add half of the milk to the well in the flour and mix until all ingredients are combined. Add the rest of the milk and whisk until smooth.
3. Cover the bowl with a damp dish towel and allow to rise in a warm area for about an hour. Once the dough has doubled, stir in the salt, apple and raisins.
4. Heat the oil in a large, deep pan or in a deep fryer. To check whether the oil is at the right temperature, stand the handle of a wooden spoon in the oil. If little bubbles form around it, the oil is ready.
5. Use two tablespoons to form and handle the dough, as well as a slotted spoon to remove the Oliebollen from the hot oil. Quickly dip the two tablespoons into the oil and form small balls of the dough with the oiled tablespoons, then carefully scrapeand drop the dough into the hot oil. Fry at least 6 Oliebollen at a time, but don't crowd the pan. Fry until golden brown on both sides, carefully flipping when required. Drain on a tray lined with paper towels.
6. Sieve powdered sugar over the Oliebollen as well as a dusting of ground cinnamon, and serve warm.