Once a year, the local Greek church has their Greek Festival on Labor Day Weekend. Underneath a big wooden sign that says "Loukamades" people stand in a line that is often 30-50 people long that stretches around the building. The sweet treats are so popular, each person is limited to two boxes. Every year as dusk starts to fall, I patiently wait in line, and then we rush to a table with the hot pieces of fried dough and devour them, licking the sticky honey off our fingers. Though traditional loukamades are made with a yeast dough, I wanted something that was simple and quick to prepare. Churro-like, French cruller-like, whatever these remind you of, they are light, sweet, and perfect with a cup of rich black coffee. At first, I was using a small scoop to put the dough in the oil. but I think that when you use a spoon and let the batter drop into the hot oil in a blob, that you get more crispy nooks and crannies. The honey you select should not be too floral -- even a standard clover honey works well. If you are not a honey fan, you can roll the puff in cinnamon sugar. - kaykay —kaykay
Test Kitchen Notes
I made these fresh ricotta loukamades for breakfast this morning with a pot of strong coffee, but they would be equally at home on a dessert plate. I was expecting fair food, something like a fritter or a funnel cake, but they are quite elegant, lighter than a doughnut, but with a crisp exterior. The warm honey and cinnamon add sweetness and warmth, and are lovely with the fresh ricotta. I understand why people queue for these. —ALittleZaftig
2 1/2 teaspoons
fresh whole milk ricotta, at room temperature
large eggs + 2 egg whites, at room temperature
generous sprinkling of freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar to combine.
In a medium bowl, beat the ricotta for 1 minute with a mixer. (I use a hand mixer with a whisk attachment). Add egg + egg white and beat until smooth and shiny, about 1-2 minutes.
Turn the dry ingredients into the ricotta mixture and gently stir to combine. Don't overmix. Stir in the melted butter, vanilla, calvados, and nutmeg.
In a heavy pan, pour oil to a depth of about 2 inches and heat over medium low to medium (depending on how hot your stove runs) until a drop of water dropped into the oil sizzles.
While oil is heating, pour honey into a saucepan and place over very low heat to warm.
Using a long spoon, put approximately 1 tablespoon of batter in the spoon, pour the batter into the oil close to the surface so that it streams into the oil and holds it shape. Heat gently and turn until golden brown on all sides. Do not let oil get too hot or the puff may not cook all the way through inside.
Remove loukamades with a slotted utensil and place on a plate lined with paper towels to drain excess oil.
Remove saucepan with the honey from the heat. Place loukamades in the pan and use a spoon to gently turn them to coat. Transfer to serving plates or a platter and sprinkle with walnuts and cinnamon to taste. Serve immediately.
I love cooking because you don't have to follow rules.
I have dessert after breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
I'd choose cioppino over fettucine alfredo any day.
I love that my 6 and 9 year old daughters are epicurean adventurers and will plow through a huge bowl of mussels, sweat their way through Indian curry, or savor raw sushi.
I can't pick my favorite meal until the end. Then, I will reflect back and choose one that truly stood out after after a lifetime of culinary indulgence.