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Tuesday December 31, 2013 MYT 2:50:00 PM
Tuesday December 31, 2013 MYT 3:04:33 PM
by jane f. ragavan
Dutch donutmaker Richard Visser puts out a batch of freshly made oliebollen for sale. His deep-fried 'oil balls' were judged the best in an annual oliebollen contest in the Netherlands. - Photos EPA
Seasonal Dutch pastry rings in the New year.
DUTCH baker Richard Visser has won the annual oliebollen contest organised by newspaper Algemeen Dagblad nine times in the event’s 20-year history.
The lines of customers waiting for his Dutch doughnuts, which literally mean “oil balls”, around his food kiosk attest to his masterful touch.
All Visser will say about his secret to successful oliebollen is that precise measurements and ingredients on room temperature are key.
This traditional Dutch food – they’re also popular in Belgium where they are called smoutenbollen (literally, “lard balls”) – are said to have been first eaten by Germanic tribes in the Netherlands during the Yule, the period between Dec 26 and Jan 6.
Legend has it that the Germanic goddess Perchta, together with evil spirits, would fly through the mid-winter sky and food – usually containing deep-fried dough – would be offered to appease these spirits. Perchta would try to cut open the bellies of all she came across, but because of the fat in the oliebollen, her sword would slide off the body of whoever ate them.
Oliebollen are made from a batter consisting of flour, eggs, yeast and milk. Sometimes beer is used instead of yeast as the leavening agent. Raisins, candied peel and apple are also sometimes added. The balls get their round shape from portioning the dough with a hemispherical implement similar to a spring release ice-cream scoop.
This sweet fried treat is an integral part of celebrating the Dutch new year, usually accompanied by a glass of Champagne at midnight.
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Lifestyle, Olieballen, Dutch doughnuts, pastry, contest, Ducth cuisine, chef Richard Viser
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