I’m sure most of you know Lara. She is a Seattle based writer and food photographer who also conducts photography workshops, blogs at Cook & Eat, and runs Still Life With: on Flickr.
Sometime back I was happy to test some recipes for Lara Ferroni’s Doughnuts book. Her book has just been published and, in a very sweet thank you gesture, she sent me a signed copy of her book.
A small book full of easy, well presented recipes and lovely photographs, this is something I’d recommend if you love doughnuts. There are recipes for traditional favourites like Sour Cream doughnuts and Raised doughnuts, and unusual varieties like Crème Brûlée, Red Velvet, German Chocolate and PB&J doughnuts! Oh, and a variety of interesting glazes to top them with. There are also vegan and gluten-free doughnuts in the book.
It really seems to be a season for doughnuts. I just made some doughnuts as a Daring Baker and then Lara’s book comes in the mail. I had tested a few vegan doughnut recipes from her book, and though we thoroughly enjoyed them, I forgot to take pictures of them to use for a post.
Well, it must have been for the best because it means I made another batch of doughnuts just for the pictures. The bonus, of course, was that we got to eat them too!
Honestly speaking, deep-fried sugary doughnuts are the last thing my heart and waist need, but who can resist them? Very few people it seems, considering that every corner of the world has its own version of doughnuts.
Today I’m posting the Loukoumades that I tested for Lara. She says she first came across these Cypriot doughnuts in Tessa Kiros’ book, Falling Cloudberries.
I went looking for more information about these “honey puffs” as they’re also called, and found that Loukoumades (then known as honey tokens) were one of the earliest prizes awarded to winners, along with the olive wreaths, in the ancient Greek Olympic Games!
These fried puffs of dough are crisp on the outside and spongy on the inside. They’re rather uninspiring on their own, but dip them in the tangy honey cinnamon syrup and top them with toasted sesame seeds or chopped walnuts, and you have a “honey puff” that is worthy of becoming an addiction.
Lara recommends the use of a stand mixer. I don’t have one so I used a wooden spoon and a stainless steel bowl.
(Reproduced with permission from Doughnuts by Lara Ferroni)
1/2 tbsp active dry yeast
3/4 cup lukewarm water
3/4 cup all purpose flour
pinch of superfine sugar
pinch of salt
1 large (about 225 gm) baking potato, peeled and cut in half
1/4 cup honey
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
vegetable oil for frying
In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the yeast to the water. Stir to distribute the yeast. Add 1/4 cup of the flour, along with the sugar and salt. Stir again, cover, and let sit for 20 minutes in a warm place.
Boil the potato until it is easily pierced with a fork. Drain, cool, and mash well.
Add the potato and remaining flour to the yeast mixture. With the paddle attachment or dough hook, beat to form a smooth, wet dough. Cover the bowl and let sit until the batter has thickened, about 2 hours.
Meanwhile, make the syrup in a heavy bottomed pot by stirring together the honey, lemon juice, and cinnamon with a splash of water. Boil on low-medium heat until the mixture thickens, about 10 minutes. Set aside.
Heat at least 2 inches of oil in a heavy-bottomed pot until a deep-fat thermometer registers 360F (182C). Drop in heaping teaspoon-size dollops and fry, turning occasionally, until they’re golden and puffed, about 1 minute. Drain on a paper towel and cool slightly.
To serve, place the puffs in a bowl and drizzle with the syrup.
This recipe makes 20 to 30 loukoumades. Active time: 30 minutes; Ready in: 3 hours.
Before I sign off, I have to share some news.
Most of you would be know about the food photography event “Does My Blog Look Good in This?". I had sent in a photograph of my Fig & Eggplant Caponata, to the October edition.
Two days back I opened my virtual mailbox and the first mail was from Lynne telling me picture (below) had won a DMBLGiT award! I can’t tell you all how happy I was to see that mail.
I accidentally discovered photography when I started blogging, and photography as a whole, not just food photography, is something that has become a passion with me. I have a long way to go yet, but the award is a sort of peer recognition and tells me that I am going in the right direction.
As it happens, I am hosting the November edition of DMBLGiT, so please watch out for the announcement post.