In Greek: ξεροτήγανα, pronounced kseh-roh-TEE-ghah-nah
The end result of this recipe for honey-dipped spiral pastries is similar to that for thiples, but the dough for xerotigana does not usually contain eggs, and the recipe does not contain any hard-to-find ingredients.
And the pastries are fabulous.
Quick-fried spirals of the thinnest dough are dipped in a honey syrup and then sprinkled with cinnamon, walnuts, and sesame seeds.
- For the dough:
- 6 – 8 cups of all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cup of freshly squeezed orange and lemon juice
- 2/3 cup of olive oil
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoons of water
- For the syrup:
- 1 cup of sugar
- 1 cup of honey
- 1 cup of water
- 1 stick of cinnamon
- For the topping:
- 1/4 cup of toasted sesame seeds
- 1/4 cup of finely chopped walnuts
- 1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon
- olive oil for frying
Combine 6 cups of flour and all remaining dough ingredients in a large bowl or plastic tub and knead well for at least 5 minutes. Add more flour as needed to make a smooth firm dough.
Let rest for 30 minutes.
While the dough is resting, make the syrup. Bring all syrup ingredients to a boil in a large saucepan and boil for 15 minutes. Turn the heat to the lowest possible setting to keep it hot without boiling.
Note:Divide the dough into equal-sized pieces, about the size of your fist. Roll out each piece of dough using the highest (thinnest) setting on a pasta machine or with a floured rolling pin, into a long strip, about 30-36 inches long and 5 inches wide, sprinkling with flour if needed to keep it dry. Cut lengthwise into strips 1 inch wide using a fluted pastry wheel. Each piece of rolled-out dough should make 5 long strips.
Loop the long strip of dough loosely around two fingers, then three, then all four, continuing to make a loose spiral shape.
Drop into 2 inches of hot oil. The dough is so thin that it will puff as it fries and will tend to uncurl. Place the tines of a fork in the center of the spiral and turn to keep the spiral shape. When lightly golden on all sides, remove from the oil with a slotted spoon or spatula. Let excess oil drip off and drain on paper towels. Do not stack the spirals.
Place one spiral at a time in the steaming hot syrup (increase heat if necessary) for 5-6 seconds on each side. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a serving platter. Combine walnuts and cinnamon. Sprinkle with a little of the walnut and cinnamon mixture, followed by the sesame seeds. Layer spirals on top, sprinkling each with the toppings.
- How much to sprinkle? At least a good sized pinch on each spiral… of the walnut/cinnamon mixture and of the sesame seeds.
Yield: about 60 large spirals
Note: The long strips can be cut in half to make smaller spirals, and they can be cut in narrower strips (6 to a rolled out piece of dough) to make more as well.