Xerotigana: Ikaria's Honeyed Fried Dough Strips
Elsewhere in Greece, these delicate fried pastry strips are called diples (THEE-pless). We call them xerotigana on Ikaria and I have the most vivid memories of my dad, a chef, making these every Christmas. We used to have mounds of them layered precariously on platters and they’d disappear in the course of just a day or two. To find the Greek honey that gives these crunchy pastries their ultimate flavor, visit my online store here.
- 5 egg yolks
- 1 egg white
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1/4 cup icing confectioner’s sugar
- 1 shot glass brandy or cognac
- Zest of a small orange
- ½ tsp vanilla powder
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 2 ½ – 2 cups all purpose flour
- Olive oil to fry
- Honey to serve
- Coarsely ground walnuts
- Ground cinnamon sesame or icing sugar (optional)
- 1. Beat the egg yolks and egg white in an electric mixer until frothy. Gradually add the butter, sugar, brandy, zest and vanilla powder, beating constantly.
- 2. Sieve the baking powder and soda with 1 cup flour and slowly add them to the mixture, beating with the mixer on low speed.
- 3. With a rubber spatula, slowly mix in by hand enough flour to get a smooth and elastic dough. Divide the dough into three equal balls. Sprinkle a working surface with flour and, using a rolling pin, roll out each ball to a thin sheet, about as thick as a quarter or one-euro coin. Cut each sheet into strips about 7 cm / 2 1/2 in. wide. Keep covered with a towel so they don’t dry out.
- 4. In a deep, heavy pan, heat 10-12cm/4 – 6 in. olive or other oil. When it reaches 180°C (356°F), gradually add the strips. Fry for a few seconds only and remove with a slotted spoon or tongs. Strain on kitchen paper and let cool. Serve with hot honey and sprinkle with walnuts and cinnamon.