Loukoumades

Deep-Fried Honey & Cinnamon Syrup Puffs

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I remember eating these in the summer cool of the Cyprus mountains. They are quite rich and probably just two per person is the best quantity — served with a glass of iced water or a coffee as an afternoon treat, rather than a dessert. You might not need to make so many at once, but you can easily halve the amounts. There are places in Greece and Cyprus (and probably elsewhere) that specialise in these. I imagine they keep their batter in the fridge to slow down the yeast process and fry a few at a time as needed, then shower them from a large pot of communal syrup.

Ingredients

  • 20 g (¾ oz) fresh yeast
  • 200 g (1⅔ cups) plain (all-purpose) flour
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • a pinch of salt
  • 400 g (14 oz) potatoes
  • 175 g (½ cup) runny honey
  • juice of half a lemon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • light oil, for deep-frying

Method

Crumble the yeast into a large bowl. Add 375 ml (1½ cups) of warm water with a handful of the flour, the sugar and salt and stir through. Cover and leave for about 30 minutes in a warm place until the yeast begins to activate. Meanwhile, peel and rinse the potatoes, then boil until soft. Mash them well.

Add the rest of the flour to the yeast bowl, along with the potatoes. Whisk well until you have a smooth, loose batter. Cover the bowl and leave again for 1½–2 hours in a warm place, or until the batter looks a bit frothy on the surface and has puffed up and is quite thick (otherwise the puffs will collapse when you fry them).

To make the syrup, put the honey, lemon juice and cinnamon in a saucepan with about 3 tablespoons of water and boil for 10 minutes until thickened. Remove from the heat.

Put enough oil in a wide saucepan to come about 4 cm (1½ inches) up the side and heat up for deep-frying. Take teaspoonfuls of the batter and push gently into the hot oil with a second teaspoon. Fry for a minute or so, just until they have puffed up, are lightly golden on all sides and cooked through. Reduce the temperature if it seems the outsides are browning too quickly and the insides remaining uncooked. Drain on kitchen paper and then transfer to a serving bowl. Pour the warm syrup over the fried puffs and serve hot.