Archive for ‘Pie’

October 16, 2012

Loukoumades, the Greek doughnuts

by Penny BroJacquie

Loukoumades are a kind of fried-dough pastry made of deep fried dough soaked in honey and cinnamon, and sometimes sprinkled with sesame.

In ancient Greece, these deep fried dough balls were served to the winners of the Greek Olympics.

The Greek poet Callimachus was the first to state that these deep fried dough balls were soaked in honey and then served to the winners as “honey tokens”.

The pastry is called zvingoi by the Greek Jews, who make them as Hanukkah treats.

The recipe

Ingredients

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 pkg. (1/4 oz) dry yeast
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1-1/2 cups lukewarm water
1/2 cup lukewarm water
2 cups corn oil
Ground cinnamon
Walnuts

For the syrup

2 cups sugar
1 stick cinnamon
1-cup water
1/2 cup honey

Preparation

Dissolve the yeast in the 1/2 cup lukewarm water and set aside.

In a medium to large mixing bowl, add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt. Mix well to combine.

Add the dissolved yeast and 1-1/2 cups water to the dry ingredients. Mix the batter making sure that there are no lumps in it. Cover it and let it rest in a warm place for at least 1 hour to rise.

How prepare the syrup

Add the sugar, cinnamon stick, water and honey to a saucepan. Boil for 5 minutes until the sugar is completely dissolved. Keep warm.

Heat the 2 cups oil in a saucepan or deep frying pan until very hot but not smoking.

Fry the doughnuts

Using two spoons, carefully drop about a teaspoon full of batter for each puff into the hot oil. Turn the puffs using a slotted spoon and fry until golden brown on each side. Remove the puffs to a plate lined with paper towelling to absorb excess oil.

If you want them to have holes in the middle, use your fingers instead of a spoon. Take the dough in one hand and with the free one use the thumb and middle finger to make a hole in the middle of the small portion of dough. Then put this doughnuts in the pan to fry and go on like this.

The final touch

Dip the hot puffs in the syrup and then sprinkle with cinnamon, ground walnuts or even with confectioners sugar.  Serve immediately.

If you like, you can pour hot chocolate on them  or serve with a ball of ice cream aside.

Photo source:  http://crystalcartierphotography.com/

February 20, 2012

“Tsikna” is in the air

by Penny BroJacquie

Last Thursday was a day of celebration in Greece. Nothing miraculous happened, it was just “Tsikonpempti” which literally means “The Thursday that the burning meat smell is in the air”! “Tsikna” stands for smell of burning meat and “Pempti” means Thursday.

It’s the day during the carnival season that several portions of meat and other grisy delicacies are grilled on charcoal until they have a strong odour!

This happens every second Thursday before the Lent and it’s similar to Fat Thursday in Germany and Poland, Giovedì Grasso in Italy, Jueves Lardero in Spain. It’s also equivalent to Shrove Tuesday and Mardi Gras.

Not just every house but practically every town are full of the “tsikna” smell. It is the day the vegetarians hate the most, alongside with Easter Sunday!

Every kind of meat is being cooked over hot coals. It is a great occasion for social gathering in a taverna night out or dinner parties with friends and family that usually last until late at night.

For us this year’s Tsiknopempti menu included “souvlakia” (pork and chicken kabobs and pita gyros.

And at the end of the night we wish to each other “Kai tou chronou” which means “Let’s celebrate next year too”!

January 14, 2012

No more sweets please!

by Penny BroJacquie

I didn’t go to the office these past three days, I didn’ have to. That was my chance to get some rest since I was extremely busy during Christmas time. I was even working on Christmas day and on New Years Day! This is the disadvantage of being a journalist, I guess…

So, this week I had some days to relax and I did my best to take advantage of it. I didn’t even get online that much. I read an indie book, I finished an audiobook, I spend more hours than the usual at the gym and I ate the last of the Christmas sweets I had at home.

These are my favourites: melomakarona (on the left) and kourambiethes (on the right).

Melomakarona are semolina and flour cookies soaked in a honey and cinamon syrup, topped with walnuts.

Kourampiethes (or kourampiedes / singular: kourampies) are bisquits usually made with ground almonds, typically rose water flavoured, and rolled in icing sugar. They resemble shortbreads because of the strong taste of the butter.

And then, there were the last remaining pieces of the annual Vassilopita. It is associated with Saint Basil’s day, which in Greece is celebrated every New Year’s Day.  Saint Basil means Ayios Vassilis in Greek and Vassilopita is Vassilis’ Pita (Basil’s cake)!

Every family cuts the Vassilopita on New Year’s Day. A piece of cake is sliced for each member by order of age. Slices are also cut for Our Lord Jesus Christ, Virgin Mary, St Basil and our household. Everyone wishes to find the coin that is hidden in the cake because it brings good luck to the receiver.

I forgot to tell you, in our family we cut pieces for our pets too.

This year’s lucky coin was found in the slice cut for St Basil. That’s considered to be a sign of good luck for the family.

For the moment all those sweets brought us unwanted weight!

ΧΡΟΝΙΑ ΠΟΛΛΑ (Hronia Pola) – which literally means MANY YEARS but it’s used more like the… Vulcan salute “Live Long and prosper”!!!

March 28, 2011

Welcome

by Penny BroJacquie

image

Greece is my country, Athens is where I live and I’ll try to introduce you in the Greek way of living!

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