An Experiment with Oliebollen

I do love playing around with unusual pairings with cheese, and this is a winner!

If you’ve ever been in the Netherlands in autumn and winter you may have seen Oliebollen - balls of deep fried doughy bready bundles of joy that are traditionally enjoyed on New Years Eve - although you can usually get them from October to January. The bakery truck near me, Gebakkraam Ellderhof, is officially the best in the whole country, I ate far too many on New Years Eve but the next day I started thinking about if these would work with cheese?.

The ones with raisins have a natural sweetness and Blue Cheese always seems to pair well with sweet tones (think of fruit bread, Port wine etc) so I gave it a go.

I tried the first one by warming it gently in the oven and putting some cold blue cheese on, it paired well, but wasn't quite right.

So I tried again by warming the Oliebollen in an oven for 5 minutes. I cut a slot in the dough ball and pushed in some cheese, about 15 - 20gr, then returned it to the oven for a further 5 minutes.

It was perfect! Warming increased the flavour of the Oli' as well as the cheese, I feel this could even be a New Years Day hangover cure! I tried this one without, and then with, a little powdered sugar, you don't need much, but I think the extra sweetness did help.

I would avoid using too strong a cheese, I used Shropshire Blue as it's fairly mild and has a nice silky texture (and I had it in stock) Gorgonzola Dolce would work, I also think a mild blue goats cheese would also fit the bill, you can get Gouda style waxed blue goats cheese from most markets and cheese shops in the Netherlands, choose the youngest with the whitest paste.

BTW, if you're not in the Netherlands, here's a pretty good recipe for them from Nigella Lawson.

© Michael William Jones