My family comes from the northernmost province of Greece, Macedonia but today’s recipe is from the opposite end of mainland Greece, Laconia. Although Diples are home to much of the Peloponese, the Byzantine town of Mani is where these Greek fried turnovers come from.
One would expect a rich heritage of cuisine and recipes to come from a bountiful region but the area around Mani is rugged, unkind to agriculture. Many of our ancestors lived in poverty, having to feed many mouths with creativity and resourcefulness.
Diples are one of the many examples of Greeks and their ingenuity in the kitchen. Many of the best Greek dishes are simple, using few ingredients and to this day, enjoyed by Greeks and lovers of Greek food.
My introduction to Diples came from the many Greek festivals I attended at our parish, St. Nicholas. Much like ancient times, the ladies (including my mom) would team up and make an array of dishes and treats to sell for the Festival.
From old times until present, Diples are still made to be presented at the grand table for a special occasion like a wedding, engagement, baptism or nameday.
Recently, my father (and our parish church) celebrated the nameday of St. Nicholas and my mom and I were keen on attempting this Southern Greek treat for donation at the church bake sale.
My mom used to assist is making Diples with the other ladies from the church auxiliary and the preferred method was to utilize a pasta machine. From scanning many recipes on the Internet, the machine is not necessary (no pasta machine in ancient times either) so you may want to still attempt this delicious treat by simply rolling out the dough as thinly as possible.
If you’re experienced with handling dough and have made some pasta, you should get have no problem in preparing the dough but as my friend Ivy from Kopiaste concurs, the skill is in quickly folding the dough during the speedy frying process.
Diples are a very traditional dish, little has changed with how they are made and I encourage you try this wonderful dessert from Mani. If it’s your first time, get someone to help you.
I’m submitting Diples as part of Eat Christmas Cookies, the second anniversary event hosted by Susan of Food Blogga. Diples are a Christmas and festive treat and I have it on Susan’s good authority that Diples rock!
My mom & I put some Greek CD’s on and set to make Diples (which took an afternoon). This is a large recipe and you might want to halve if but if I may say, make this Big, Fat Greek batch and give some to friends and relatives. Here’s to some southern Greek comfort, by way of Diples.
2 tsp. baking powder
5 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup olive oil
juice & zest of 1 lemon
2 shots of Ouzo or Metaxa brandy
vegetable or olive oil (or 50/50 combo) for frying
2 kg. bag of sugar
1 cup of honey
5 cups of water
finely chopped walnuts
- Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl and set aside. In another large bowl, add the eggs and beat with a hand mixer for about 7-8 minutes. Add the oil and liquour and mix until incorporated. Now add the zest and lemon juice and mix well.
- Add dry to wet in gradual amounts and mix with your hands. Drop the mixture onto a floured work surface and knead your dough becomes a smooth ball, slighty firm. Divide into small pieces (size of a small apple) and cover with plastic cling wrap. Allow the dough to rest for about 10 minutes and use this time to set up your pasta machine.
- Treat a dough ball with flour (and flour the pasta machine) and pass through the either of the thinnest two settings. Fold your sheet and pass through the pasta machine (set to the same position) and repeat 6-7 times. Lay out the sheet on a table-clothed lined surface and cut into approx. 1 foot in length. and cover with plastic wrap.
- Add oil to a large frying pan to the depth of about 1 inch. Your oil should be at about 350F. You will need two forks to fold the sheet of dough like a rolled carpet.
- Carefully place your dough sheet into the oil and tap it a couple of times to submerge it entirely in the oil. Now quickly fold it three times to form a rolled shape like a carpet. Remove as soon as light yellow colour has formed and place on a paper-lined baking tray. Repeat until all your sheets of dough have been fried into Diples.
- To make the syrup, add all the ingredients into a large pot and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes and then keep the syrup warm.
- Have a large colander nearby with a large bowl underneath it so as to capture draining syrup. Dip your Diples in the hot syrup and toss them about three times to coat them with syrup remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to the colander. Repeat until all the Diples have been dipped in syrup.
- Sprinkle with finely chopped walnuts and sprinkle with ground cinnamon. Diples can be served immediately or stored in trays covered tightly by plastic cling wrap in a cool, dry place.
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