Friday, 12 June 2009


“Winter must be cold for those with no warm memories.” - From the movie “An Affair to Remember”

We had a very cold day in Melbourne today, and although it was fine, the sun had teeth that bit into the flesh. It was a presage of most of the winter still ahead. A busy day at work with little time to even think of anything else. On the train home this evening, lots of people with glum faces and suspicious eyes flitting to the person who coughed or sneezed. A pandemic of flu has been declared by the WHO and quite a few people at the station today were sporting face masks, and what little protection that may have afforded them…

The wintry weather and the strong smell of honey as I was walking by a café in the morning on my way to work made me think of a traditional Greek sweet that is often eaten at breakfast. Greeks have a sweet tooth and it is even manifest at breakfast! It is “loukoumadhes”, a deadly version of doughnuts.

Ingredients Batter:
1 packet (≈ 1 tablespoon) active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1 pinch of salt
2 cups lukewarm water
3 cups plain flour
1 pinch ground nutmeg
1 pinch ground cardamom

2 cups sugar
1 cup honey
3 cups water

Vegetable oil for frying
Ground walnuts
Ground cinnamon

Dissolve the yeast in 1 cup warm water and let it stand for 10 minutes. Sift the flour into yeast mixture. Mix gently while continuously adding the remaining warm water until a soft, thick batter is formed. Cover bowl with clean, damp dishtowel. Let the mixture double in size (about 1 -1.5 hours), at which stage the dough should be soft and foamy.

In a deep fryer, heat oil to a depth of 10 cm to 190˚C. Make sure there is at least 5 cm between the oil surface and the top of the fryer. While oil is heating, prepare the honey syrup. Add honey, sugar, and water to a small saucepan, mix to combine and bring to a boil over high heat for 6-7 minutes stirring occasionally, until sugar is completely dissolved. Squeeze a few drops of lemon juice into the syrup. Remove from heat and keep warm.

Working in batches, slide dollops of the batter (about the size of a heaping tablespoonful each) into the hot oil, making sure not to crowd the pan. Dollops will puff up and float to the surface. Fry, turning occasionally, until pastry is a crisp, golden brown on all sides, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove carefully with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Repeat as many times as is needed. Place drained puffs on warm platter and keep warm.

To serve, reheat the syrup and place 4 or 5 fried loukoumadhes into the hot honey syrup. Allow puffs to soak for about 10 to 15 seconds, remove to a small plate, dust generously with cinnamon, and sprinkle with walnuts, to taste. Loukoumadhes are best if eaten warm, the same day they are made. Makes about 36 to 40 puffs, or 8 to 10 servings.

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