Lebanese and Syrian Christmas Crullers (Zalabiya, Awwamaat)

Time

Yield

Ingredients

Ingredients

1 cup yogurt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 dash salt
1-3/4 cup flour, approximately
Sesame oil or
vegetable Shortening, for deep frying

Honey Syrup Glaze

1-1/2 cup honey
1 tbsp. cinnamon or
1 stick cinnamon
1 to 2 tbsp. lemon juice

Instructions

Beat yogurt until smooth and thin. Mix with baking soda and salt. Sift flour in gradually until mixture can barely be dropped from a spoon. Heat oil to 375 degrees F. Using two wet teaspoons, drop spoonfuls of dough, a few at a time, into hot fat. Or wet hands and shape pieces of dough into 2 or 3 inch sticks and drop into fat. Turn once so both sides become golden brown. Allow about 5 minutes for frying each batch. Drain on paper towel and serve with syrup of your choice. Makes about 2 dozen crullers.

SUGAR SYRUP:

To make sugar syrup, combine 2 cup suage and 1/2 cup water and boil until syrup begins to caramelize and is thin and golden. Skim foam as it rises to surface. Flavor with a few drops of orang-flower water, rose water or lemon juice and pour hot over crullers.

VARIATION: To make a slightly more solid cruller, sift in enough EXTRA flour to make a dough just smooth enough to knead. Knead for 2 or 3 minutes. Pinch off pieces slightly smaller than walnuts, roll between floured hands, and fry. Vanilla sugar or Confectioners' dusted after being cooked, though not authentic, is a good substitute for syrup on these crullers, if you prefer them less sweet and sticky.

HONEY SUGAR GLAZE:

Bring honey to a boil with all ingredients. Simmer for a minute or two, remove stick of cinnamon if you have used it, and pour over pastry or use for dipping. Makes about 1 1/2 cups syrup.

Author's Comments

Known as "zalabiya" when in stick shapes, or "awwamaat" in dumpling shapes, these crullers are served in Lebanon and Syria during the Christmas season and most especially on Ghtas, January 1st, which commemorates Christ's circumcision. It is said that on that day trees kneel in prayer for the Holy Infant.

source--Visions of SugarPlums

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