In greek LALANGIA i TIGANIDES
These are the signature fritters of the southern Peloponnesos, piled high in bakeries and sweet shops, made at home around Christmas, and savored with either honey or grated cheese. They are made with a basic bread dough, leavened with homemade starter. It is a process that requires some time, but overall it is easy.
Makes about 120 fritters
For the starter:
- 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 1 cup warm water
- 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
For the dough:
- 8 to 10 cups all-purpose flour, as needed
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 11/2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 cup warm water, or more if necessary
To fry and serve:
- Olive oil and/or vegetable oil
- Honey or grated sharp cheese
1. Begin to make the starter 1 to 2 days ahead: In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in 1/2 cup of the warm water and mix to combine. Let stand until creamy,about 10 minutes. Add the remaining 1/2 cup warm water and stir in the flour. Mix until a dough mass forms, adding a little more flour if necessary. Cover with plastic wrap and let the starter stand at room temperature for 1 to 2 days; it will rise and then fall back on itself and turn slightly sour.
2. Prepare the dough for the fritters: Combine 8 cups of the flour, the salt, and baking powder in a large bowl or basin. Drizzle in the olive oil and rub with your fingertips, working the oil into the flour until it is coarse and mealy. Make a well in the center. Add the water and the starter, broken up into small pieces. Mix with a wooden spoon to combine. Remove the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead, adding more flour if necessary until a smooth, firm dough forms. Cover and leave to rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in bulk, about 2 hours.
3. When the dough has risen, break it up into fist-size balls and knead them gently. Let rest, covered, until swollen, about 30 minutes. Roll a little piece of dough, about the size of a child’s fist, into a long, pencil-thin, rounded (not flat like fettuccine) strip. Repeat with the rest of the dough and set aside, covered.
4. In a large, deep pot over medium-high heat, heat ample olive oil or a combination of olive and vegetable oil—there should be 4 to 6 inches of oil in the pot and it should be very hot. Deep-fry the dough strips in batches until puffy and golden, remove with a slotted spoon, and drain on paper towels. Drizzle with honey or sprinkle with grated cheese and serve either hot or at room temperature.