Daktyla - Ladies Fingers
Daktyla - ladies fingers, a delicious sweet pastry filled with a mixture of almonds, cinnamon and sugar and whilst still hot, immersed in cold syrup. Excellent any time of the day, but with a cup of Cyprus coffee absolutely irresistible! Mrs. Amalia was so skillful in preparing this sweet and she was proud making them. Her daktyla were well known among family and friends. She was a master in rolling out the dough with a rolling pin so thin that the worktop showed through the sheet of dough! I use a pastry machine to achieve the same result. These syrupy sweets are traditional in minor Asia and it took me quite some time to enjoy them coming from north Europe, so yes I was present when she made them, but I did not actually make them. For this blog I made the daktyla a few times and at home they tell me I made progress! In the recipe I have made some alterations, I added more oil and some 00 flour, and honey to the syrup. Even though they need quite some time preparing them, they are absolutely worth the effort, time and messy kitchen!
400 gr village flour
100 gr flour 00 (plain flour)
160 gr oil ( half sunflower - half olive)
pinch of salt
250 ml water
475 gr sugar
500 ml water
1 cinnamon stick
1 table spoon lemon juice
100 gr honey (good quality)
1 table spoon rose or blossom water
200 gr almonds coarsely chopped
1 - 2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 - 2 teaspoons sugar
In a large wide bowl add both flours, salt and the oil. By hand, rub the oil into the flour using both your hands. Add some water and start kneading, add more water until the dough is elastic and soft. This can take until 10 minutes. the above procedure can also be done with the use of a kitchen machine with a dough hook, then knead the dough for 5 minutes.
Wrap the dough in cling film and lay it aside to rest. They say for half an hour, but I see better results when the dough rests for 3 to 4 hours! Very soft and easy to handle.
The next stage is preparing the syrup. It is utmost important that the syrup is cold when used. When the pastry is hot and the syrup cold, the syrup is absorbed immediately and the daktyla remain crunchy!
Add sugar, water and lemon juice in a small saucepan and whilst stirring bring to the boil, simmer on medium heat for 5 minutes, add honey and simmer for another 1 minute. Turn off the heat and add the rose or blossom water. Set aside to cool entirely.
Prepare the almond mixture simple by chopping the almonds with peel coarsely and add sugar and cinnamon and stir. Set aside.
With the help of a rolling pin, roll out a small piece of dough very thin on a floured worktop. I use a pastry machine and I find it very practical, roll out until no. 3 thickness.
Cut in small rectangle sheets 7.5 x 10 cm (Use a pizza cutter!)
Place the sheets neatly on a floured worktop with the long side towards you. (See photo)
Place 1 tablespoon of the almond mixture on each sheet.
Fold first one edge over the almond mixture. (See photo)
Wet with a little water the edge of the remaining side and then close it by folding the remaining side over. (See photo)
Press the long edge lightly.
Press the edges with a fork.
Place each pastry on a floured baking sheet. At this stage the daktyla can be frozen.
In a large frying pan pour about 1 cm oil and turn on the heat. The oil should be hot. Place 8 - 10 daktyla in the hot oil.
When frying a large quantity of daktyla the oil will go dark and small black particles will start sticking on the daktyla, then it is time to change the oil. The black particles are fried flour, nuts and/or cinnamon.
Turn the daktyla occasionally until they are golden brown.
With a skimmer transfer the fried daktyla to the cold syrup and immerse them in the syrup. A slight sizzling sound will be heard as you place the hot daktyla in the cold syrup. Immerse them completely. Using the skimmer transfer the daktyla to a serving platter.
Enjoy! Καλή όρεξη!