For my last posting for this year I chose a traditional Greek pastry,
which is prepared and served on special occasions.
I wish to extend to all of you my sweetest wishes, hoping that your New Year
will be prosperous and as sweet as diples.
Diples (pronounced dipless and meaning folded)
Last but not least this is another traditional Christmas sweet pastry, made in many parts of Greece but what I know has mainly to do with Peloponese.
In Greece, years back, housewives did not have a lot of choices of what to do, especially in poor villages, so they had to improvise by using products they had at hand, such as eggs, (as every household had some chickens), flour from the wheat they produced, nuts from their trees and honey. Even in Mani, where their land is barren, the above ingredients were easy to find and made these delicacies.
Of course having all the ingredients is not enough to make diples as it needs skills to fold pastry while frying. You have to be extra fast in order to fold it just before it becomes hard.
In Arcadia, where my husband comes from but in Lakonia, as well (where all my husband’s relatives live), apart from Christmas, this pastry is prepared and offered in many other special occasions as well, such as at name days, engagements, weddings and christenings.
During any of the above occasions, even nowadays, women gather a few days before the event and help the host in preparing the pastry. The syrup does not have to be added necessarily the same day but can be made a few days later.
Once diples have been bathed in the syrup they are placed on plastic platters and wrapped in cellophane, with the four edges on top and tied with ribbons and decorated with flowers or other ornaments, according to the occasion.
Traditionally this was the dessert served after the wedding/engagement/ christening dinner but as nowadays there is abundance of food and sweets, this is why diples are wrapped for each family to take one at home with them when leaving the party.
Makes about 50 – 60 diples:
Preparation time: 1 hour
Frying time: 30 minutes
½ kilo all purpose flour
1 teaspoonful of icing sugar
½ teaspoonful of soda
1 shot of ouzo drink
1 spoonful lemon juice
1 pinch of salt
For the syrup:
1 ½ glass of sugar
1 ½ glass of honey
1 glass of water
For sprinkling on top
1 glass of coarsely chopped walnuts
1 teaspoonful ground cinnamon
Extra virgin olive oil for frying
Beat the eggs with the mixer, add soda, icing sugar and salt. They do not have to be beaten for a long time. Add juice and ouzo and mix flour and knead by hand until the dough is medium smooth to firm. Separate into two balls, wrap in membrane and place in refrigerator for 1 or 2 hours.
Flour your working surface and roll out a phyllo as thin as you can. You can make it with the dough machine until very thin (1 – 3 – 5 – 6). If the dough is sticky do not add flour to the dough but flour the surface and hands.
Cut dough in square pieces 8 x 8 cm to make the cylinder shaped folded one, or in stripes 3 cm x 20 cm to make roses shaped. Place them on a cloth and keep them covered either with a cloth or membrane until finished.
In a heavy skillet add plenty of oil and heat oil. For the cylinder shaped diples, place the dough in the hot oil and holding two forks fold left side towards the center then the other side. Turn quickly on the other side and when golden place on kitchen paper. In order to make the roses shaped, place one edge of stripe in between the fork and hold the other end. Place fork in the hot oil and roll around the fork until the end of stripe. When golden, place on kitchen paper.
Prepare syrup. In a sauce pan add sugar and water and bring to boil so that sugar may dissolve. Add honey and remove froth, if any.
Bathe diples in warm syrup and remove in platter. Sprinkle with cinnamon and walnuts.