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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 2 hr (includes rising and blooming times)
  • Active: 40 min
  • Yield: 4 dozen
This Dutch doughnut, dating back to the 1600s, is a fried pillow of holiday cheer served to celebrate the New Year in the Netherlands. Simple yeasty dough balls are studded with dried currants or raisins traditionally--and in more modern days, chopped apples--then fried to perfection. Ours have currants and candied orange peel and when they hit the fryer, your home will smell like cozy holiday magic.



  1. Microwave 1 cup of the milk in a small microwave-safe bowl until warm (between 110 to 115 degrees F), about 1 minute, then stir to even out the temperature. Add the yeast and 1 teaspoon of the granulated sugar, stirring just enough to hydrate the yeast. Let bloom for 8 to 10 minutes.
  2. Sift the flour, salt and remaining granulated sugar into a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the yeast mixture, eggs and remaining 1 cup milk. Stir the batter to combine and continue to mix until the consistency of a sticky pancake batter, about 3 minutes. Add the currants and orange peel and stir until fully combined, about 1 minute more. Cover the bowl with a slightly damp kitchen towel and put a plate on top to seal in the humidity. Leave it in a warm spot to rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  3. When the batter has risen, stir it a couple of times to deflate it a little before frying.
  4. Meanwhile, heat about 2 inches of oil in a deep Dutch oven to 360 degrees F; line a baking sheet with a rack.
  5. Gently drop 8 to 9 heaping tablespoons of batter (see Cook's Note) into the oil and cook, flipping halfway through, until a deep golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes; the oliebollen will be rounded with some wild edges. Place them on the cooling rack for a few minutes, then transfer them to a large bowl with about 2 tablespoons of the confectioners' sugar and toss to coat in the sugar. Return them back to the cooling rack to finish cooling; the steam from the oliebollen will help create a nice glaze with the sugar. Repeat with the remaining batter and confectioners' sugar, making sure to bring the oil back to 360 degrees F before frying each batch. Serve warm or let cool completely before storing in a paper bag to serve later.

Cook’s Note

When measuring flour, we spoon it into a dry measuring cup and level off excess. (Scooping directly from the bag compacts the flour, resulting in dry baked goods.) Slightly dampen your fingertips in a little bowl of water to gently scoop the batter out of the tablespoon to drop in the oil (be careful not to splash any water into the hot oil). This will ease the batter into the oil without it sticking to your fingers too much.

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