Oliebollen Recipe and Tutorial, or How I Learned to Recreate the Plumela

Author: Michele / Labels: , , , , , , , ,

When I was growing up, my family had a recipe for what we called "Plumelas."  They were a special time-consuming treat that we would find on Christmas, Thanksgiving and other snowy/dreary days when my mom felt like spending her time over a hot stove.  The recipe came down to my family from my Great-Grandmother on my mom's dad's side, who was Pennsylvania Dutch.  I had copied the recipe from my mom several times, but have lost it as many as I have gotten it.  Due to life changes, I have not spoken to family in several years, which makes getting a new copy impossible.  I had thought perhaps this yummy treat was lost to me forever, as internet searching have pulled up NOTHING called a "Plumela".  Then I had the idea to search for German and Dutch dough with raisins.  Thanks to some additional help from a Facebook group of fellow cooks, I recently came to realize that what I had been calling a Plumela my entire life, is actually a Oliebollen.  Further research unearthed a sad truth- the oliebollen is closely guarded family recipe in Dutch families and while many people were willing to share their delicious looking pictures- enough to convince me that I was on the right track, no one wanted to share a recipe that matched what I could remember from OUR family recipe.  Turns out, the key was the step that added raisins to the milk prior to scalding.  But, the recipe I was given made 8 oliebollen.  What would one do with ONLY 8 of these delicious little critters?  I decided I had no choice but to beef up the tiny recipe I found, tweaking it to have the proportions of the ingredients I could remember.  And VIOLA!!  Success.  I present to you, in all its glory, the best recipe for Olibollen ever- or if you like you can call them Plumelas.  

Plumelas (Olibollen- makes between 50-60 depending on size)

1 box raisins
2 T. yeast
1 qt (or 4 c.)milk
8 c. flour
4 eggs
1/2 c. sugar
2 T. salt

Oil for deep frying
Powdered sugar for shaking

Over medium heat, scald milk and raisins.  Remove milk from  heat and cool until you can comfortably put a finger in it without burning yourself.  Pour milk and raisins into a large metal mixing bowl.  Add salt and sugar and sprinkle with yeast.  After proofing yeast for about 10 minutes, add eggs, flour and salt.  Stir with a wooden spoon until sticky and well incorporated.  (See top picture).  Dough should be very sticky.  Cover and let rest for 20 minutes. 

Meanwhile, bring oil to 350 degrees in a deep saucepan or deep fryer.  Using a teaspoon or tablespoon, drop dough into the hot oil. 

When plumelas are browned, remove from hot oil with a slotted spoon into a strainer.  Test one for doneness.  It may take several gooey centers before you figure out temp/outside color as an indicator for inside doneness.  Pour a couple of inches of powdered sugar into the bottom of a brown paper lunch bag.   Add 2-4 plumelas at a time, shaking to coat with powdered sugar.  It helps to have someone else sugaring, while you are cooking. 

At this point, it is not uncommon for people to begin snagging plumelas from the bowl you are putting them in, as they are tastiest when hot and fresh.  Do not get discouraged. 

Eventually they will start to pile up.  



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