If you have ever had the pleasure of strolling through Melbourne’s Queen Victoria Market on a busy Sunday afternoon, you will understand the magnetic drawing power of the hot jam doughnut van. The sweet smell wafting through the market is enough to make anyone hungry, and the combination of crisp, sugar-coated exterior and warm oozy jam in the centre is heavenly. Inspired, I took an old Lebanese doughnut recipe from my mother-in-law Guitta, stuck a piece of Turkish delight in it and voila! A Maha signature dish is born.
Warm Lebanese doughnuts filled with gooey Turkish delight and perfumed with rosewater honey? Yes please!
- 15 g dried yeast
- 250 g water
- 300 g plain flour
- 2 tsp sugar
- ½ tsp table salt
- 100 g diced Turkish delight
- vegetable oil, for deep-frying
- 100 g honey
- ½ vanilla pod, split, scraped
- 1 tsp rosewater
- 30 g pine nuts, toasted
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.
Mix the yeast and water together in a large bowl. Fold through the flour, sugar and salt, then cover and leave to prove in a warm place for 30 minutes.
To make the rosewater honey, place the honey and vanilla pod and seeds in a small saucepan and warm slightly over a low heat. Remove from the heat and stir in the rosewater. Just before you’re ready to serve, fold in the pine nuts.
Using a 3–4cm round spoon, scoop out a portion of dough and press a piece of Turkish delight in the centre. Roll into a ball. Repeat to make about 18 doughnuts.
Heat the vegetable oil in a deep heavy-based frying pan or deep-fryer to 170°C (a cube of bread dropped into the oil will brown in 20 seconds).
Add the doughnuts in batches (you don’t want to overcrowd the pan) and cook for about 5–6 minutes or until golden brown. Drain on paper towel.
Drizzle the warm rosewater honey over the hot doughnuts and serve immediately.
Recipe from Maha by Shane Delia, with photographs by Sharyn Cairns. Published by Penguin.