Friday, January 2, 2015

Glutenvrije Oliebollen!

I did it! Eindelijk heerlijke oliebollen gemaakt zonder gluten, boekwijt, soja, of eieren!

New Year's Eve has come and gone, and with it our requisite big batch of the traditional Dutch "oliebollen", which literally translates to "oil balls". Yum! Maybe they'd be better described as small, round, apple-citrus-currant fritters, made with a yeast dough and dusted with icing. If you've been gluten free for a while, and especially if you're also allergic to soy, eggs, and buckwheat, as my son is, you know that to mimic the light, elastic texture of yeast-risen wheat bread is difficult. Hence my elation at finally making this work. Since we only eat these once a year, I haven't had much opportunity for experimentation - it's been about 10 years of mediocre experimental oliebollen, so... you can understand our excitement about this. Enjoy!

This recipe makes about 30 or 40 oliebollen (enough for a big party!).

Prepare and set aside:
  • 1 cup dried currants
  • zest of one lemon
  • zest of one orange
  • 1 large or 2 small apples, cut into small cubes

Heat in a small pan, until it's very warm but not too hot to dip a finger in:
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 2 cups milk

Add, and allow to proof while mixing dry ingredients:
  • cut/zested fruit, from above
  • 1½ tbsp yeast

Mix in separate bowl:
  • 2 tbsp xanthan gum
  • 1.25 cup brown rice flour
  • 1 cup sweet or 'glutinous' rice flour
  • ½ cup potato starch
  • ½ cup corn starch
  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 1 tbsp egg replacer (I use Ener-G brand)
  • ¼ cup homemade vanilla sugar (see instructions, below) OR plain sugar; seeds of 1 vanilla bean
  • 2 tbsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp fresh nutmeg
  • ½ tsp salt

Mix proofed yeast mixture into dry mixture and allow to rise for about 10 minutes, as you heat the deep fryer to about 175 or 180 degrees C:
  • vegetable/sunflower oil (2 liters or whatever your deep-fryer or pot requires)

Using two soup spoons, scoop and form balls of batter; drop these into the hot oil. They will float up. Flip the oliebollen to be sure that they brown evenly on both sides, and when they're uniformly brown, lift them onto a large paper- or cloth-lined plate or bowl to cool. When they're all finished, dust with:
  • Powdered sugar

Home-made Vanilla Sugar
Make this ahead, and keep on hand for other recipes - it takes a few weeks to develop good flavour.

Get a glass jar with a lid that holds at least 4 cups. Clean and dry thoroughly.
Slice 1 or 2 vanilla beans lengthwise, place in jar, and fill with unbleached white sugar. Close tightly.
As you use sugar, replenish the jar, stir or shake, and you will always have some vanilla sugar available.
If you use 2 vanilla beans, the sugar will be flavoured sooner, but if you've got a few weeks to wait, one vanilla bean will be enough. After a few months or so you may notice the sugar is slow to take on flavour, and the beans are very dry - you can then slice and add another bean. I often take the dessicated beans out and grind them in my spice-mill to add to baking or to tea blends. They have less flavour than they once did, but it's still enough to benefit when adding the whole bean!

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