Mama’s eyes glisten as she says ‘my mama always used to make these on Christmas eve and New Years’ eve. She would make these perfectly round little dumplings and we would eat them to ready us for the cold and dark walk through the small streets of the old city to get to Mass’. Mama remembers as she laughs at memories of her mother using a rolled tea towel to keep her five children away from these freshly fried light and delicious mouthfuls before they were all ready and how one of her brother was particularly good sneaking them away.
I’m not as good at making these into perfectly round balls the way my Teta was, but I am sure they are just as delicious. Mine always have little ‘tails’ on them, as my mother calls them, but don’t worry about how yours look. They will be delicious.
for the dumplings
1 cup plain flour
1/3 cup cornflour
1 tsp salt
1 sachet/ tablespoon yeast
1 tsp sugar
Just under 1 cup warmish water
For the attar (rose syrup)
1 cup sugar
½ cup water
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp rose water
1 tbsp finely chopped pistachios
1 tsp dried rose petals
Make the attar by adding the water, sugar and lemon juice to a small saucepan on a medium heat stirring occasionally until all the sugar dissolved but don’t let it bubble. Remove it from the heat and pour it into a bowl with the rose water. You want the rose syrup to be room temperature when the hot dumplings are put in.
Mix together all the ingredients for the dumplings. You want it to be quite loose, more like a cake batter than a dough. Then cover it and put in in a warm spot for 45 minutes to an hour until it has doubled in size.
Once your dough is ready, set up your frying work station: you need the saucepan with the vegetable oil in it warming up on a medium to high heat with a slotted spoon. On one side, have your batter bowl a small ramekin of vegetable oil and two teaspoons. On the other side have your bowl of attar, a plate lined with kitchen paper and some tongs. You are now ready to start frying.
Dip your teaspoon in cold oil in the ramekin and scoop up some batter and drop it into the hot oil- using the other teaspoon to push the batter in if need be. Keep the teaspoons well oiled. Use the slotted spoon to turn the move the dumplings until golden and them remove and put straight into the attar. Then use the tongs to remove from the attar and put the dumplings on kitchen paper.
I tend to put in 3 dumplings at a time- this gives me time to turn and move them before they get too brown. You will likely need to turn the heat of your oil down and keep the dumplings in for less time as you go on. Once you have finished all the dumplings move them onto a pretty plate.
Sprinkle over the pistachios and rose petals and serve with champagne.
Switch up: I also love these made with orange blossom water instead of rose water. Also swap the pistachios and rose petals for a sprinkle of cinnamon and icing sugar.