IMBB #18: Oliebollen

My first entry to the popular and much-loved food blogging event, Is My Blog Burning...hooray! This month's IMBB is hosted by Linda of At Our Table and is entitled "Summer's Flying, Let's Get Frying".

When I heard that frying was the theme for this month's Is My Blog Burning, I thought "Perfect!" because it just so happens that I have been dying to try out a recipe that dealt with just that. This particular snack is something for which I have had an unrequited craving for over a year, but due to said food item being on another continent, I had no way of satifying this craving unless I finally pulled my sleeves up and made it myself. What better way for me to attempt my maiden IMBB entry than with something I love to bits...Oliebollen!

First, a little background on my love for Oliebollen: A year or so ago, I was based in The Netherlands for around 3 months, for a job I was doing. I enjoyed my stay immensely and during that time discovered quite a few foodie items that I fell in love with -- raw herring with onions, Dutch pancakes with stroop, and Oliebollen. When Christmas time drew near, a wonderful stall with GEBAK (pastries) spelled out in lights appeared in the Dam Square (along with a giant Christmas tree and and ice skating rink...wahoo!), very near where I lived. The stall was filled with yummy delights and this is where I met, and was subsequently enamored by, Oliebollen. Oliebollen are Dutch fritters, usually filled with apples and raisins, kind of like a beignet. The stall sold different varieties but my favorite were the plain ones, just dusted with powdered sugar. When that stall set up shop, I must have eaten one (or more!) every single day. This was basically a deep fried ball of dough, but calories or cholesterol be damned, I was in love and no one was going to stop me!

Then one day, after the holidays, the stall and the oliebollen disappeared. I had no idea where they went. I searched high and low but never found them again. I learned later on that oliebollen is traditionally made during the holidays...but as I left The Ntherlands before the next holiday-time rolled around, I never had them again.

Fast forward to the present time. I am back home in my little piece of the tropics and start my fledgling food blog. A post I write which mentions stroop earns a comment from a lovely Dutch girl. When I mention other Dutch treats I sorely miss (oliebollen obviously being one of them) she generously shares her recipe. Have the fates conspired to reunite me with my beloved oliebollen?

You can find the recipe here. As I wanted to recreate my "plain" oliebollen, I made the following changes:

- I didn’t add the cinnamon to the dry ingredients at first.
- After my batter/dough was ready, before letting it rise, I halved it in two. One part I kept plain, and to the other I added: ½ teaspoon cinnamon, 50 grams raisin, and half of the apple chunks.
- I omitted the currants as you can’t really find them here.

This way, half my batch was plain and the other half had the traditional raisins and apple. I cannot even begin to describe my anticipation as I watched the soft balls of batter turn a lovely golden brown in the hot oil.

Finally they were done! I sprinkled powdered sugar generously on them and leaned in for a big bite, barely waiting for them to cool off a bit. BLISS! They were just as I remembered...soft, chewy, and tasty, with just the right amount of crisp on the outside. The apples and raisin are the perfect fruit pairings I think for this kind of fritter...but I still love the plain ones best. So there I was, lost in a good-food-funk and delicious can be sure that I won't be waiting for any kind of holiday before making this again!