Zaytinya Chef Michael Costa demonstrates how to make loukoumades (doughnuts) for Greek Orthodox Easter:
Makes: 30 fritters
For the Citrus and Thyme-Infused Honey:
1 ½ cups honey, preferably the Greek brand Attiki
1 cup water
Juice and zest from 1 lemon, 1 lime and 1 orange
2 sprigs thyme
In a small saucepan, bring the honey, water and citrus juices to a simmer over medium heat. Cook until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and add the citrus zests and thyme. Let steep for 5 minutes. Pass the syrup through a fine mesh strainer and store in an airtight container until ready to use.
For the fritters:
1 ¼ ounces yeast
1 cup warm water
4 ½ cups bread flour, preferably All Trumps
1 ½ tablespoons salt
1 ½ tablespoons sugar
2 cups milk, at room temperature
6 tablespoons olive oil, plus more as needed
Canola oil, as needed
Clarified butter, as needed*
Citrus and Thyme-Infused Honey, as needed
In a small bowl, combine the yeast and warm water. Let it sit, or “bloom,” for 5 minutes.
Place the flour, salt and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix on low speed. While mixing, add the milk, yeast mixture and the oil. If necessary, scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula to make sure all of the ingredients are incorporated. Continue to mix on low speed until a loose dough forms, about 3-5 minutes
Place the dough in a medium-sized bowl lightly coated in oil and cover with plastic wrap. Place the bowl in a warm, dry space and let the dough proof for 1 hour.
After an hour, punch the down the dough and fold it into itself to get rid of any air bubbles. Cover the dough with plastic wrap again and return to the warm hour to proof for 1 hour longer.
After the second hour of proofing, fold the dough over again and prepare for frying. Fill a large pot with a 75 to 25 blend of the canola oil and clarified butter and heat to 330-340 degrees. Put the honey in a shallow dish and place near the stove. Using a ½ teaspoon measure, or a small spoon, scoop the dough into a ball and place in the hot oil. Fry until golden brown, about 3 minutes, and then using a slotted spoon, remove the fritter from the oil and roll in the honey. Fritters may be held on a rack in a warm place for 15-20 minutes before becoming soggy.
*Note: Clarified butter is butter that has the water and milk fat solids removed. It can be made at home or purchased in some specialty stores. Omitting it will greatly affect the flavor of this recipe.