Tiganites: Fried dough, sometimes called Greek-style pancakes, topped with honey
How fitting that we are posting this recipe for tiganites, sometimes referred to as Greek pancakes, in early November. Fitting, because November is when much of the olive harvesting in Greece is occurring. Our mother remembers that when the men of the village set out to begin their long and hard days of manually picking olives from the trees, they were sent off with their satchels loaded with tiganites. These disks of fried dough helped to sustain them and nourish them for the day. Tiganites, she explained, were a great option when options were limited as they are made from ingredients that even the poorest family likely had on hand.
Because our mother’s family were beekeepers, they usually had their tiganites topped with plenty of honey; on olive picking excursions, the honey was transported in jars to share with everyone. For those times when honey was scarce, tiganites were served either topped with grated mizithra cheese or plain. We’ve had them all ways (you know, for research purposes), and we must confess, any way you top them, we love them all!
Tiganites are similar, sort of, to the more well known Greek fried doughnut loukoumades,. Unlike the round loukoumades however, tiganites are flat, larger, and can be served as either savoury or sweet.
You will note in the recipe that we offer a range for both the amount of flour, and the amount of water, to use. This is because all sorts of things can impact your dough, including the quality and type of flour you use, your altitude (seriously) and other stuff we can’t even begin to explain. The best thing to do is to look at the photos and video in this post to see what the consistency of your final dough should look like.
Sift your flour, and then measure it out for this recipe.
Shaping tiganites is not an exact science, and part of the charm is having each one slightly different than the next. Try to keep them relatively the same size however (we like the size of a playing card) to allow for easier cooking.
Traditionally, tiganites are topped with either honey or grated mizithra cheese. We have also topped tiganites with molasses; not as traditional, but quite delicious. Powdered, or icing sugar, would also be nice.
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The dough can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 days if you will not be frying up all your tiganites at once. Simply bring the dough to room temperature for approximately 15 minutes before frying the tiganites.
Want more recipes with fried dough? We don’t blame you! Check these out:
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- 1 tsp active dry yeast
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) warm water
- 3 1/4 to 3 1/2 cups (485-525 grams) sifted all purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 - 2 cups (375-500 mL) water
- vegetable oil for frying
- honey for drizzling over warm tiganites
- In a medium size bowl combine the yeast, sugar and 1/2 cup of warm water. Stir and let sit for approximately 5 minutes. You should see some bubbling at the surface; if you do not, your yeast may not be active and your dough may not rise.
- In a large bowl stir together the sifted flour and salt. Start with 3 1/4 cup of sifted flour. Add 1 and 1/2 cups water and the yeast/sugar/warm water mixture from before. Using a hand held mixture, whisk well until well combined. See video.
- Check the consistency of your dough; it should be relatively thin (see video). If it is too runny, add more sifted flour. If it is too thick, add more water.
- Allow your dough to rest for approximately 60 minutes. Keep it covered in a draft free environment.
- After your dough has rested, heat approximately 1/2 inch of oil in a frying pan and drop large tablespoons of dough into the hot oil. Repeat to add as many tiganites as you can in the pan without it being over-crowded. Your tiganites should be approximately the size of a playing card. Fry for approximately 3 minutes per side, until golden brown and cooked through. See video here.
- Transfer your fried tiganites to a paper towel lined dish and repeat with the rest of your dough. If you would prefer not to cook all of your tiganites at once, your dough can keep for a few days in the refrigerator.
- Serve warm, topped with plenty of honey.