I’m learning that global cuisines have a lot more in common than they don’t. They’re just seasoned or assembled differently. We have different applications of a wide variety of foods, including pasta, rice, sandwiches, dumplings, tacos, etc. We all seem to like fried sweetened dough. Here in the US and in the UK we have some excellent doughnuts. Italy’s version is zeppole. France has beignets. Some Latin countries including Mexico and Spain love churros. Some West African nations eat puff puff (the name varies by country). Eastern European countries have some version of pirozhki. The list goes on and on. For some reason I never thought about Greece’s version, loukoumades, until I cooked a Greek feast a while back.
Greek restaurants I’ve tried typically sell one and only one dessert, the ubiquitous baklava, which I haven’t yet built up the nerve to attempt at home (phyllo dough is intimidating, so fragile!) Anyway, it never occurred to me that Greece may enjoy other desserts until that meal. When I stumbled upon loukoumades (small fried doughnuts) via a Pinterest search, I knew I had to make them.
They looked easy enough to make. Standard yeast dough quickly mixed, proofed, and fried. I could’ve done it with no problem. But seeing as how I’d spent hours and hours the previous day making my first batch of homemade Danish pastry, I thought “no way am I going to make a whole new dough for this.” So, I decided to use one-fourth of the pastry dough instead.
This was one of the best ingredient swaps I’ve made in a very long time. These doughnuts were so buttery, light, and airy. And so flaky that from some angles they looked like fried croissants.
And if the doughnuts alone weren’t enough, the sauce elevated them to another level. Instead of icing the loukomades, the Greek tradition is to pour a hot honey-sugar syrup with walnuts over the top. Way too sweet for my taste, so I ditched it entirely and made my own with low-sugar apricot preserves, lemon juice, and cinnamon. I threw in pistachios, which I love, in place of the walnuts.
My husband ate around eight of them before he came up for air. They are divine. In the end though, I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t pass as loukoumades anywhere else, but they were a great ending to a wonderful Greek feast in our house that night.