An oliebol is a traditional Dutch food. Oliebollen (literally oily balls) are traditionally eaten on New Year's Eve and at funfairs. They are also called smoutebollen (literally lard balls) in Belgium.
Oliebollen are a variety of dumpling made by using two spoons to scoop a certain amount of dough and dropping the dough into a deep fryer filled with hot oil. In this way, a sphere-shaped oliebol emerges. The dough is made from flour, eggs, yeast, some salt, milk, baking powder and usually sultanas, currants, raisins and sometimes apple pieces and zest or succade. The dough needs time to rise for at least an hour. Oliebollen are usually served with powdered sugar.
They are said to have been first eaten by Germanic tribes in the Netherlands during the Yule, the period between December 26 and January 6. The Germanic goddess Perchta, together with evil spirits, would fly through the mid-winter sky. To appease these spirits, food was offered, much of which contained deep-fried dough. It was said 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.
A very similar type of doughnut can be found in Belgium and France.
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OLIE BOLLEN -- DUTCH DOUGHNUTS, fabulousfoods.com
A Dutch new year's eve tradition, squidoo.com