Loukoumades are a popular dessert enjoyed all throughout Cyprus. Loukoumades are small pastries made of deep-fried dough, soaked in sugar syrup. Loukoumades are not exclusively Cypriot and they are enjoyed by people all over Greece too. In Cyprus the tradition is to serve Loukoumades in the sugar syrup only but in Greece it is common to garnish them with honey, cinnamon crushed walnuts or sesame seeds. In Cyprus, Loukoumades are often sold at “paniyiria” (festivals). Loukoumades are best eaten hot and fresh. They are crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside and deliciously sweet.
Serves: x4 portions
Prep time: 20 minutes to prepare the dough and approximately an additional 45 minutes to let the dough rise (or until the dough doubles in size).
Cook time: 15 minutes
Syrup – 250ml water – 200g sugar – x1 Tbsp honey – x1 slice of a lemon
For the dumplings
– 280ml water at room temperature – 9g yeast – x1 Tbsp honey – 200g of all-purpose flour – 50g corn starch – x1 pinch of salt – Vegetable oil for frying
To Serve – Cinnamon – Honey – Crushed walnuts (optional)
1. The first step is to cook the syrup because it has to be completely cool when we add it to our fried Loukoumades. In a pot, add the sugar, water, lemon and honey and bring to a boil.
2. Once boiled, remove from the heat and allow to cool. If you need your syrup to cool as quick as possible a good tip is to transfer the syrup to another pot (that isn’t hot).
3. In a bowl, add all of the ingredients for the Loukoumades batter (apart from the cooking oil as this is for frying). Mix with a whisk until it becomes a thick porridge-like mixture. The water must be at room temperature.
4. Cover your bowl with plastic wrap and allow the yeast in the mixture to rise in a warm and dry area. This step can take approx. 45 minutes (or until the mixture has doubled in size).
5. Once your dough has risen, its ready for frying. Pour your oil into a pot and turn on the stove to a medium heat. Allow the oil to heat until its ready for frying. To test that your oil is ready, take a pinch of dough, drop it into the oil and see if it starts to fry.
6. Prepare these 2 things to have close to you for frying: A glass of water with a teaspoon in it and a plate lined with kitchen paper towelling. The paper towel is to soak up the extra oil from the Loukoumades.
7. To make the Loukoumades extra crunchy, we need to fry them twice!
8. For this next step you can wear disposable gloves so your hands don’t get sticky with batter. Once the oil is hot enough for frying, collect some batter by placing your hand into the mixing bowl. Grab hold of some of the mixture in your palm and start to close your hand. The dough will start to be squeezed out from between your thumb and index finger. Holding the teaspoon in your other hand, scoop up the dough that has emerged and drop it into the hot oil.
9. This is why we have to keep the spoon wet, so that the dough will not stick to it and fall easily into the oil. Dip the spoon into the glass of water next to you after each scoop.
10. Repeat this process until there are enough Loukoumades in the oil but do not overcrowd the pot. This is so the Loukoumades have enough space to cook nice and evenly. Use a slotted spoon to turn them over so they can cook on the other side too.
11. Fry the Loukoumades for a few minutes until they develop a slightly pale cream/gold colour. (The finished colour of golden brown will happen when you deep fry them the second time).
12. Remove from pan and set aside onto the plate with paper towels. Repeat process with the remaining dough.
13. Leave your Loukoumades to strain on the plate for a few minutes. Then heat the oil again and fry them one more time in hot oil until they turn golden brown and very crispy.
14. Remove from pan and drop them in the cooled syrup. They will soak up as much syrup as they need.
15. To serve you may also sprinkle your Loukoumades with honey, ground cinnamon and/or crushed walnuts depending on how you’d like to eat them!