Loukoumades: honey tokens for Modica's first Olympic Champion Giorgio Avola
Modica has its first Olympic gold medalist, Giorgio Avola. Last night, the Italian men's fencing team beat Japan 45-39 to take the gold in the men's team foil, winning Italy's third gold medal in fencing during the 2012 Olympics and Giorgio Avola's performance was simply amazing!
I really hope Modica will prepare a well deserved celebration for the return of its first "olympic" champion. In the meantime, I decided to go back to our ancient Sicilian-Greek roots using my Greek-Cypriot family recipes (for those few who do not know yet, my husband is Greek-Cypriot) to prepare λουκουμάδες (loukoumades) in honor of Giorgio Avola's gold medal.
Loukoumades are deep fried dough balls with a honey syrup. In ancient Greece, they used to be served to the winners of the Greek Olympics so I thought they would be just perfect! 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" and they are, actually, the progenitors of our Sfingi di San Giuseppe and Crispeddi.
1/2 Kg flour ( I used the Italian 0 type)
7 gr active dry yeast or 1 cube brewers yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
lukewarm milk or water (I prefer to use water)
1 cup Sicilian Satra honey (thyme honey)
Oil for deep frying (I used peanut oil, many people use olive oil)
Cinnamon powder for dusting
Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl. Add the salt, a teaspoon of sugar and keep mixing. Then add the yeast dissolved in half a glass of lukewarm water and mix, adding just enough water to make a soft dough. The resulting batter should be soft and sticky, soft enough to be able to drop from a spoon.
Cover the mixing bowl with a cloth or film and place in a warm spot to rise for a couple of hours, or until it has doubled in size.
Heat the oil in a deep pan/fryer. Take a teaspoon and dip it into water then use it to spoon up portions of dough and drop teaspoonfuls of it directly into the hot oil.
Fry until loukoumades will be puffed up and golden. When they are ready, remove them from the oil with a slotted spoon and let them drain on paper towels.
In a saucepan over a gentle fire mix 70 ml of water and 70 gr of honey to make the syrup. Pour the syrup over at the last minute and serve the loukoumades while they are still warm with a sprinkle of cinnamon on top.
Kali Orexi! (Buon Appetito!)