Thursday, February 8, 2018

Loukoumades: Greek-Style Honey Doughnuts

Little balls of dough deep fried until golden brown and drizzled with honey and cinnamon, loukoumades are a traditional Greek sweet street food that date back to the first Olympic games of the 8th century, where honey dipped fried dough known as "honey tokens", were awarded to the victorious along with a wreath, as a reward for their sporting prowess. It is believed that loukoumades were added as one of the prizes to the Olympic Games because Coroebus of Elis, who was a humble baker and athlete, won the stadion race in the first recorded Ancient Games in 776 BC, which made him the first Olympic champion in history, and so a pastry was incorporated as an Olympic prize. Translated literally as 'mouthful', Loukoumades are considered the Greek version of doughnuts, and are enormously addictive and absolutely delicious. 

Makes 30-40
Recipe courtesy of Kalofagas

1 1/2 cups tepid water
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tbsp active dry yeast
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup corn starch
pinch of salt

1 cup of honey
2 cups of sugar
1 cup of water

Optional topping:
Ground walnuts
Ground cinnamon
Sesame seeds
Icing sugar

In a pot, bring the water and sugar to a boil, then reduce to medium and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the honey, and take off the heat. Allow to cool to room temperature.

In another bowl, add the tepid water, sugar and yeast and allow to rise for about 5 minutes. In another bowl, add the flour, corn starch and salt and mix with a fork and set aside. When the yeast has activated, add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and mix with your hands until incorporated into a wet dough. Set aside and allow to rise for about two hours. The dough should be spongy with bubbles.

Preheat a large pot with vegetable oil until it reaches 325-350°F. Take a handful of dough in the palm of your hand and squeeze it out onto a waiting spoon that’s been dunked in water, then drop in the hot oil and fry until golden brown. Fry in batches until all the loukoumades are done.

To finish, dunk the Loukoumades into the hot syrup and allow them to steep in the syrup for 3-4 minutes before removing. Place them on a wire rack with a pan underneath to catch any dripping syrup, adding it back to the pot to finish the remaining the Loukoumades. To serve, arrange the Loukoumades on a pretty plate and sprinkle with ground walnuts, cinnamon and icing sugar, as desired. 

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