Daktyla were one of the first sweets I learned to make, I would happily help my mother make them by rolling out the pastry. Now as an old woman, I still make them for my grandchildren. We often eat daktyla during Lent, as they don’t contain any dairy.
- 330 g (1½ cups) caster sugar, plus 55 g (¼ cup) caster sugar
- 440 ml water
- 1 cinnamon quill
- 2 strips of lemon rind
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 160 g chopped toasted walnuts, plus extra to serve
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 500 g (3⅓ cups) flour
- 1½ tbsp caster sugar
- 125 ml (½ cup) peanut oil
- ⅛ tsp salt
- 1 egg, lightly whisked
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
To make syrup, place 330 g (1½ cups) caster sugar, 440 ml water, 1 cinnamon quill, 2 strips of lemon rind and 1 tsp lemon juice in a saucepan over high heat. Bring to the boil and cook for 5 minutes, stirring to dissolve sugar. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 8 minutes. Allow to cool.
To make filling, mix 160 g chopped toasted walnuts in a bowl with 1 tsp cinnamon and 55 g (¼ cup) caster sugar. To make pastry, combine 500 g (3⅓ cups) flour, 1½ tbsp caster sugar, 125 ml (½ cup) peanut oil and ⅛ tsp salt in a bowl and stir to combine. Slowly add 200 ml iced water and knead to form a soft dough. Roll out to 2 mm-thick and cut into 14 x 10cm squares, brush edges with eggwash.
Place 1 tablespoonful of filling in the centre of each square. Fold one end over and seal edges with a fork. Fill a large saucepan one-third full with vegetable oil. Heat over medium heat to 180°C (or until a cube of bread turns golden in 10 seconds). Working in batches, gently drop pastries into oil and fry, turning halfway, for 12 minutes or until golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain. While still hot, place in syrup and soak for 6 minutes, turning halfway. Drain excess syrup and sprinkle with extra chopped walnuts.
Photography Sean Fennessey.
As seen in Feast magazine, September 2014, Issue 35.