By Emma Chow
Our little household is obsessed with doughnuts of all kinds; jam filled, cinnamon dusted, even those ring shaped glazed things which are obviously so very bad for you but so very delicious.
At a local farmer’s market we recently came across ‘Oliebollen’; Dutch doughnuts flavoured with citrus zest, apples and raisins or currants.
The fruit brightened and cut through the sweet fattiness of the treat and made them very addictive.
This is a great weekend treat to make, especially when the family is craving an outing that will yield treats, but the weather is bad, you’re low on cash and you can’t be bothered putting on a bra to leave the house.
2 teaspoons dry yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
175 mls lukewarm water
450 grams plain flour
Pinch of salt
200 mls milk
½ cup raisins
1 apple, finely chopped
Zest of one lemon or orange
Vegetable or rice brain oil for frying
In a small bowl or jug, add your warm water, sugar and yeast. If it’s cold or draughty in your house, I find that putting the small jug or bowl within a larger bowl full of just boiled water maintains a warm temperature for the yeast to multiply. Leave it for at least 10 minutes, until the mixture begins to expand in size and develops a big head of yeasty foam on top.
In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of stand mixture, add the flour and salt. Whisk together the milk and eggs in a separate bowl. If using a stand mixer, start mixing on slow speed with the dough hook and add your milk and egg mixture as well as the yeast mixture. If doing it by hand, make a well in the centre of your flour and add the two liquids; stir to combine. Once flour and liquids are reasonably well mixed and there are no dry pockets, add the raisins, chopped apple and zest. Knead this in by hand until the sticky dough is quite silky. If using a stand mixer, this should take about 8 minutes. Cover the dough with cling film and place in a warm, draught free spot and allow to double in size. This takes about an hour but can take longer if the weather is cold.
Get a medium sized heavy bottomed saucepan and fill it between third to half full of oil. If you have a thermometer suitable for deep frying, the oil needs to get to 160 degrees celcius. If you don’t have one, just test the temperature with the old cube of bread trick: it should take about 40 seconds for a cube of bread to become golden brown.
The dough will be really sticky, so it’s best to use something like a bowl scraper or a large serving spoon to scrape out a small handful of dough and then use a palette knife or just a sharp knife to scrape the dough from your utensil into the hot oil. You want the dough ball to be roughly 5-8cm in diameter. It’s not going to be perfect, and it’s all the more delicious for it. Try not to make them bigger, because currants or sultanas can burn if they spend too long in the oil. Try to fry only 2 or 3 oliebollen at a time, because overcrowding will mean the oil temperature drops and the oliebollen will become soggy with oil rather than crisp.
Remove with tongs or a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Toss oliebollen in icing sugar and a grating of more lemon or orange zest and serve.
Leftovers should be allowed to cool fully and can keep for up to 2 days in an airtight container.