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Saturday, February 29, 2020

Recipe Round Up: Louqaimat and Lenten Pancakes

Louqaimat
Louqaimat

These are a traditional Arabic doughnut with many names. Louqaimat means bites, louqmat al 'qadi, which means bite of the judge (no idea why!), there is another name zalabiya, which I think is a variation on the Indian name for a similar doughnut called jalaby, and awammat, which means floaters, which is completely appropriate, as these doughnuts certainly float as you fry them. They are crunchy and delicious, and not too hard to make.

If you don't like the syrup, you can roll them in sifted powdered sugar, but I really recommend the syrup. The soaking syrup can be made up to a week in advance and stored in the refrigerator. The trick with syrups is to make sure you either have hot dessert and cold syrup, or cold dessert and hot syrup. In this case, you will have hot pastry and cool syrup.

This recipe makes about 50 - 55 doughnut bites. I picked up a tip to use a small ice cream scoop with a lever release to form the doughnuts. If you are more careful, you can have almost perfectly spherical bites, but I was trying to fry them as quickly as I could.

Dough:
3 cups pastry or all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon corn starch
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons yeast
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups whole milk, plain yogurt
1 recipe of soaking syrup
2 tablespoons finely chopped pistachios, for serving
oil for frying plus a small amount in a bowl to dip scoop

Place a few pans with cooling racks over them to drain your doughnuts.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, corn starch, sugar, yeast, cardamom and salt. Add in the yogurt and beat well until a wet, sticky dough, the consistency of a thick cake batter is formed. Cover tightly with plastic wrap or a lid and let rest for at least an hour or until the dough has doubled in volume.

Fill a frying pan with about 2 inches of oil and heat over medium heat until very hot (I test by putting a piece of bread in and if it immediately sizzles, I begin frying).

Dip a tablespoon sized ice cream scoop in the additional bowl of oil and fill with a leveled amount of batter. Use the release mechanism to release the dough into the oil. Forget everything you have ever heard about not crowding the pan. You want to fill it, with just enough room to press the bites down or turn them. Dip the scoop into the cool oil every other ball or so to avoid sticking to the ice cream scoop.

Fry the dough, stirring and turning, applying pressure to their tops with a slotted spoon (I use a flat spoon with holes all over it), until they are evenly golden. Use the spoon to take them out of the oil and place onto the cooling racks to drain.

Drop the doughnuts into the prepared syrup and roll to coat. Place on a serving dish, and stack as they are ready. When all the louqaimat have been made and stacked, drizzle with a little more of the syrup and sprinkle with the chopped pistachios.

These are best served within a couple hours of making them.

Soaking Syrup:
2 cups sugar
1 cup water
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
4 teaspoons rose water
1 teaspoon orange blossom water

In a medium saucepan, place sugar, water and lemon juice. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Try not to stir, and once it comes to a boil stop any stirring.

Bring to a rolling boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes. If you overcook it, it will become candy, so stay with it, and set a timer. Add rose water and orange blossom water and stir to combine.

Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.


Lenten Pancakes

If you use the oat flour, these are gluten free, too. If you want to reduce the sweetener, replace it with an equal amount of the coconut milk. Recipe makes about 36 pancakes. You may want to double it.

2 1/2 cups pastry flour/spelt flour/oat flour (your choice)
1 1/4 cups rolled oats
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 3/4 + 2 tablespoons coconut milk
1/2 cup maple syrup
6 tablespoons safflower oil
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract (optional, but really delicious)
1 cup dried cherries (or other dried fruit)

You know how to make pancakes. Mix all dry ingredients in medium bowl. Whisk together all wet ingredients. Add dry to wet. Stir in dried fruit.

Cook on heated, greased griddle. Serve with a light amount of maple syrup (they are pretty sweet from the syrup in them).

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