Greek traditional Diples dipped in honey syrup - Δίπλες
Greek traditional Diples dipped in honey syrup - Δίπλες
I had the amazing opportunity to make diples with giagia Kostoula, who is my cousin’s grandmother. Not directly related to me but I’ve always felt that she was like my own grandmother with her warm welcoming and open heart every time she saw me. She is the diples expert, there wouldn’t be a dinner party or function without a massive plate of these on the table. So I was super excited to be in the kitchen with her, to learn and have her share all her tips and tricks. I didn’t have my camera on the day so I took all these photos with my phone, the quality is not 100% hence why I reduced most of the size.
BEST MADE WITH SOME HELPFUL COMPANY
Diples is a traditional Greek pastry which is made basically with flour and eggs and then fried. Once they are ready they are allowed to cool down, then dipped in a warm honey syrup and drizzled with crushed walnuts. The name translates to “folded” as one way of shaping them is by folding them in a cylindrical shape, while they are frying. Giagia told me it is the kind of dessert the women in the village would get together and make before a special celebration, like a wedding.
This particular recipe makes a lot of diples! I counted approximately 170 pieces… And guess what? They were all eaten within a few days, amongst a few people though I must say! You can always half the recipe if you do not want to make that many. But you also have the option of storing the fried diples in an airtight container, in a cool place away from sunlight, for 5 days before you dip them in the syrup. That way they can be maintained longer but also if you have a function you want to make these for, you can make them ahead of time and just have the syrup step to complete on the day.
It was the first time I got to roll out phyllo that thin by hand, with giagia Kostoula next to me encouraging and helping me. It was actually easier to do than I thought. I’ve always been intimidated to do so, hence why I tend to use the pasta machine to roll pastry. But I will definitely be rolling phyllo by hand again.
Giagia showed me three different ways of shaping the diples: rolled, rounds and bows. I much preferred the bows as they were quicker to form and they looked so cute!
6 hrs 20 mins
Servings: 170 pieces
• 8 large eggs, at room temperature
• 1 kg plain flour, sifted
• 30 mL ouzo
• 1 tsp bicarbonate soda
• 1 tbs icing sugar
• ½ lemon, juiced
• margarine or unsalted butter
• olive oil or vegetable oil, for frying
• 1 cup water
• 1 cup pure honey
• ½ cup sugar
• 1 stick cinnamon
• 250 g walnuts
• 1 tsp cinnamon
1. Using the beating handle, beat the eggs in the mixer for a few minutes at a low speed, add the ouzo, icing sugar, lemon juice and soda, one at a time.
2. Change the beating handle to the dough handle. Then using a spoon, add a bit of flour at a time until the dough is no longer sticking to the sides of the mixing bowl. You will use about 400-450g of the flour, depending on how large the eggs are. The rest of the flour will be used when kneading and rolling out the dough.
3. Once the dough is ready, place it in a bigger bowl, use a bit of flour so it doesn’t stick and knead it using your palm until it is smooth. Split the dough into 5 portions. Apply a small amount of butter (as much as a 5c coin) on your hands and work with each portion at a time to form it into a smooth round. After that let the dough rest covered with a towel for at least an hour. (See notes)
4. While the dough is resting prepare the syrup. Add all the ingredients together, stir and bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for 5min.
5. After you allow the dough to rise, work with each portion at a time while leaving the rest of them covered. Each portion will produce between 30-40 diples depending on how you form them. Ensure the bench is well floured. Roll out the dough, adding flour often so that the dough doesn’t stick. Roll it out until it is quite thin.
6. Add enough oil to a pot and heat it to fry the diples. The diples will be cooked very quickly, you can only work with one at a time, and hence you don’t need a large pot. Cut out the dough in strips approximately 7cm wide and then cut them in rectangular shapes about 10cm in length. Pinch the pieces in the middle tight to form bows.
7. Place each bow at a time in the oil to cook. Use a fork to press it down just enough for the oil to cover the top and cook. It will expand in size very quickly, a little bit like the packet prawn crackers if you’ve ever made them.
8. Using two forks, flip the bow over for a few seconds and remove it. Do not let it get coloured, just cook enough until the dough hardens (see notes). Place the bow in a sieve over a bowl and allow the oil to drip. Transfer them on a large tray and allow them to cool. Repeat the process until all the dough portions are finished.
9. Use a food processor to chop the walnuts finely and stir in the cinnamon. Warm up the syrup on very low heat. Use tongs and carefully dip each bow at a time into the warm syrup. Remove the bows, place them in a sieve over a bowl and let the syrup drip. Arrange the bows in single layers, scattering crushed walnuts on top of each layer. Repeat until all the bows are dipped in the syrup and covered with walnuts.
10. After all that effort, which I highly recommend you do with a friend or two, enjoy this sweet goodness hot or cold with a Greek coffee.
The dough needs to be allowed to rest and rise. So if it is cold it might need more than two hours. Giagia Kostoula said she has prepared the dough and left it covered overnight before resting, so that is also an option.
The bows will eventually change colour to a bit of brown as while it is in the sieve the oil on it will keep cooking it. The honey syrup will then give it an added colour and gloss.