This recipe was provided and performed by Anna Polyviou at the 2018 Cake Bake & Sweets Show!
We would always eat loukoumades at Greek festivals, where there would be giagiás (‘ya-yas’) making them. The old ladies would be like machines squeezing them between their hands and just popping out perfect round balls that would fry light and crispy and soak up all the sugar syrup and chopped walnuts. This recipe is my version: I still dunk them into honey syrup, but I add caramel popcorn and choc-hazelnut dipping sauce.
- 250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) warm water
- 5 g (1/8 oz) fresh yeast
- 250 g (9 oz/12⁄3 cups) plain (all-purpose) flour
- 1 tablespoon caster (superfine) sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla paste
- canola oil, for deep-frying and for oiling your hands
- caramel popcorn, to serve
- 110 g (3¾ oz/½ cup) caster (superfine) sugar
- 200 ml (7 fl oz) honey
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 5 whole cloves
- 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
- juice of 1 lemon
CHOCOLATE DIPPING SAUCE
- 80 g (2¾ oz) choc-hazelnut spread, such as Nutella
- 100 g (3½ oz) milk chocolate, chopped or buttons
- 300 ml (10½ fl oz) pure (whipping) cream
- To make the honey syrup, put all of the ingredients into a medium saucepan with 250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) of water. Bring to the boil over medium heat and boil for 3–4 minutes, until slightly reduced and syrupy.
- Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate until needed.
- Put the warm water and yeast into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whisk on medium speed with a quarter of the flour. Once combined, remove from the mixer, cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place for 30 minutes to froth up.
- Return the bowl to the mixer and fit the paddle attachment, then beat on medium speed as you gradually add the remaining flour, sugar and vanilla paste. Beat until well combined, smooth and with no lumps.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap again and set aside in a warm area for 1–1½ hours until the dough has doubled in size.
- Meanwhile, make the chocolate dipping sauce. Put the chocolate spread and milk chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set aside.
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the cream to the boil, then pour it over the chocolate in the bowl. Stir until melted and completely combined. Reserve until needed — it can be served hot or cold.
- Preheat the oil in a deep-fryer to 180°C (350°F) or in a deep-sided saucepan until a cube of bread dropped into the oil turns golden brown in 15 seconds.
- Lightly grease hands with some cooking oil to prevent the dough sticking. Take a handful of dough and squeeze your hand into a fist to push out the dough out. Use a dessertspoon to scoop off a ball of dough and put it in the oil.
- Deep-fry in batches, stirring in a circular motion for 2–3 minutes until the dough has puffed and has a nice golden colour.
- Remove the loukoumades from the oil using a slotted spoon, and toss gently in the cold honey syrup.
- Serve with the popcorn and chocolate dipping sauce in separate bowls.
Honestly I would recommend spending a session with a Greek giagiá to learn the technique of squeezing the dough, because it’s a skill of its own.
Images and recipes from Sweet Street by Anna Polyviou, Murdoch Books, RRP $39.99
Photography by Nikki To, styling by Rhianne Contreras.