To implement the love that I have for baking, I try to stay true to my roots. I am proud of my heritage and one part of that is Dutch. My Opa and Oma immigrated to Canada from the Netherlands, settled and started a grain and hog farm in Northern Alberta. One thing to know about Dutch people is that they hate to see anything go to waste. When judgment day came at my grandparents farm, it was time to butcher a pig. My grandparents use every part of the pig possible, as times were tough and this includes the hock, so why not turn it into something delicious!
Growing up, one of my absolute favourite dishes that my Oma would make is called balkenbrij (pronounced balken brie). The best way to describe this is to call it a Dutch pancake. Traditionally balkenbrij was prepared on farms at the end of the pig-slaughtering process. It is generally made from the stock left over from boiling the hock, and the meat rendered off of the bone. Boil the stock, add the meat, flour and a special spice mix of cinnamon, clove, ginger and some other spices that I cannot spill the beans on! Finally it is poured into a pan or mold and cooled off to achieve the form of a loaf. Once cool, slice the loaf very thin (1cm), dust each slice with flour and fry in lard. Once cooked sprinkle sugar on top to add the finishing touch. If sugar doesn’t hit the spot for a topping, you could add anything that you wish.
One of my favourite traditional Dutch desserts is oliebol (pronounced oliebollen). Oliebol means, “Oil ball”. In English these tasty treats are most commonly known as Dutch doughnuts. The dough is made from flour, eggs, yeast, salt, milk, baking powder and usually sultanas, currants, raisins and occasionally candied fruit or apple. Once the dough is made you then drop an ice cream scoop full of dough into the deep fryer to make a nice sphere shape. Fry until golden brown on both sides, then remove them from the oil and place on a rack to let the oliebol cool. Once cool dust the oliebol in powdered sugar and add some cinnamon if that tickles your fancy. Yummy in my tummy!
These sinfully delicious doughnuts are traditionally served around Christmas time. In my family we made it a tradition to make oliebol on New Years Eve, as there is always so much good food at Christmas and this was a real treat to have.