“I’m still writing 1997 on my checks” – Sarah Silverman. That’s kinda how I feel. But it’s definitely 2014 because I have just eaten plate full of homemade loukoumades. Loukoumades are a New Year tradition in Cyprus. Traditionally, Cypriot loukoumades are made with mashed potato – to get that starchy flavour – and are dipped in a sugary syrup flavoured with orange blossom flavour. These loukoumades are not traditional – I am still trying to master the art of the traditional Cypriot loukoumades- one that tastes like what you buy at the fairs. But as far as homemade loukoumades go, these are excellent. It’s the honey syrup that really makes them stand out if you ask me. Also, I used the recipe below, but stored it in the fridge for one day. I am not sure if this helped the dough rise a bit more than normal, but the texture was just perfect: hard on the outside and soft – but not gooey – on the inside. Another important tip – make sure your oil is hot, but not boiling! Anyway, I hope you enjoy this recipe. I will be publishing another one – more true to the traditional style – once I find one I am happy with! Enjoy! xx
Level of Difficulty: 4/5
Preparation Time: about 2.5 hours
Cooking Time: about 60 minutes
Makes about 100 small loukoumades
5 cups flour (2 & 1/2 all purpose and 2 & 1/2 bread flour)
2 & 1/2 cups warm water
1 tbs fresh yeast
zest of 1 medium orange
1/4 cup of orange juice
1 tsp of salt
1 tsp of sugar
for the syrup:
3 tbs honey
1.5 tbs water
750ml (about 2 & 1/2 cups) vegetable oil for frying
1. Mix together the flour, salt, sugar and orange zest.
2. Dilute the yeast in 1/4 cup of your warm water. Stir until it dissolves.
3. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the diluted yeast
4. Start adding the water until it becomes a sort of sticky, goey texture. Not thick but not think. Whisk the mixture by hand until it becomes a gooey dough. Continue to briskly whisk for about 5 minutes.
5. Cover it and keep it in a warm place and leave it for two hours. The dough should rise and bubble a bit. Then you are ready to start making the loukoumades. If you don’t want to make the loukoumades the same day, place the dough in the fridge for 1 day, ensuring to take it out 1 hour before you intend to make the loukoumades.
6. Bring your vegetable oil to medium heat in a small to medium sized saucepan. When the oil is hot, squeeze the dough between your fingers and thumb and then use a spoon to shape into balls. (I used a plastic spoon because the dough falls off easier than a stainless steel spoon. Also keep a little bowl of oil to the side to dip your plastic spoon in, in between making the loukoumades, because this will help the dough fall off more easily into the oil as well.
7. Fry the balls in small batches until they float to the surface and turn golden brown (about 10-15 minutes). When you lift them out with a spoon they will feel lighter. Make sure you keep stirring the loukoumades as you cook them so they don’t just brown on one side. You may have to adjust your heat accordingly – you do not want burned loukoumada on the outside and raw loukoumada on the inside!
8. Drain on paper towels.
9. At this stage you can either drizzle honey and sprinkle cinnamon directly on top of the loukoumades and eat them, or you can coat them in syrup.
10. For the syrup. This is not your typical Cypriot syrup which includes orange blossom water. Mix together the honey and water on a small frying pan. Add about 15-20 loukoumades into the pan and heat and stir the mixture until the honey syrup bubbles and the loukoumades are coated with honey. Remove and sprinkle cinnamon on top. Enjoy!!!