There’s a reason why Greece’s first loukoumades (pronounced loo-koo-mah-thes) were made for Olympic champions. Traced back to the first Olympic Games in 776BC, they were dished out to the victor as a prize in the form of ‘honey tokens’, as Andrew Zimmern tells us in Bizarre Foods: Delicious Destinations (weeknights, 6:30pm, on Food Network).
The old Greek proverb “all is well when the honey is sweet” rings true as Andrew strolls the streets of Athens unearthing hidden culinary gems. He stops by Athens loukoumades institution Kpivos bakery where an age-old technique has been honoured to shape and fry these golden balls. In honour of all things sweet and syrupy, we’ve compiled some of our favourite fried Greek sweets recipes, from donuts and beyond.
Fried until puffed and golden, drizzled in honey and sometimes finished with nuts, loukoumades date back to as early as 776BC. They come in a variety of shapes but are often bite-size balls, making them even more impossible to resist.
These golden puffs of fried dough live in the sweet spot between a pancake and a fritter. In Greece, they’re popular breakfast food, topped with cinnamon, fruit, nuts, sheep’s milk cheese and honey.
Traditional loukoumades get figgy with this fruity makeover. The raspberry syrup adds a tart little kicker at the end.
Also known as diples, these deep-fried pastries are finished in the classic Greek way – that is – drizzled with honey, ground cinnamon and chopped nuts, which in this case, are chopped walnuts.
With their spiced nutty filling and crisp golden exterior, daktyla are often enjoyed during Lent, but we think they make a sweet year-round treat.
Watch Andrew Zimmern get a lesson in perfecting traditional Greek loukoumades in Bizarre Foods: Delicious Destinations, weeknights, 6:30pm, on Food Network then on SBS On Demand.