Diples (pronounced diip-LESS), which means folded, is another traditional Christmas sweet pastry, made in many parts of Greece especially in the Peloponnese.
These are the desserts they serve at weddings, christenings, engagements etc. but are also very popular during Christmas.
The dough is made with eggs and then using a pasta machine, it is rolled into long sheets. Many years ago these were rolled by hand using a dowel but things get simpler with modern equipment.
They are then cut into smaller pieces and fried in hot olive oil, where they are shaped into cylinders. They are then bathed in a honey and sugar syrup and more honey and walnuts are added on top.
I wish to extend to all of you my sweetest wishes, hoping that your New Year will be prosperous and as sweet as diples.
In Greece, years back, housewives did not have a lot of choices of what to do, especially in poor villages, so they had to improvise by using products they had at hand, such as eggs, (as every household had some chickens), flour from the wheat they produced, nuts from their trees and honey.
Even in Mani, where their land is barren, the above ingredients were easy to find and made these delicacies.
Of course having all the ingredients is not enough to make diples as it needs skills to fold pastry while frying. You have to be extra fast in order to fold it just before it becomes hard.
In Arcadia, where my husband comes from but also in Lakonia, as well (where all my husband’s relatives live), apart from Christmas, this pastry is prepared and offered in many other special occasions as well, such as at name days, engagements, weddings and christenings.
During any of the above occasions, even nowadays, women gather a few days before the event and help the host in preparing the pastry. The syrup does not have to be added necessarily the same day but can be made a few days later.
Once diples have been bathed in the syrup they are placed on platters and wrapped in cellophane, with the four edges on top and tied with ribbons and decorated with flowers or other ornaments, according to the occasion.
Traditionally this was the dessert served after the wedding/engagement/ christening dinner but as nowadays there is abundance of food and sweets, this is why diples are wrapped for each family to take one at home with them when leaving the party.
- 5 eggs
- ½ kilo all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoonful of icing sugar
- ½ teaspoonful of soda
- 1 shot of ouzo drink
- 1 spoonful lemon juice
- 1 pinch of salt
For the syrup:
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- 1 ½ cups honey
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- Extra virgin olive oil mixed with vegetable oil, for frying (ratio 3:1)
- Beat the eggs with the mixer, add soda, icing sugar and salt. They do not have to be beaten for a long time. Add juice and ouzo and mix flour and knead by hand until the dough is medium smooth to firm. Separate into two balls, wrap in membrane and place in refrigerator for 1 or 2 hours.
- Flour your working surface and roll out a phyllo as thin as you can. You can make it with the pasta machine until very thin (1 - 3 - 5 - 6) or according to your own machine, if it has more numbers. If the dough is sticky do not add flour to the dough but flour the surface and your hands.
- Cut dough in square pieces 8 x 8 cm to make the cylinder shaped folded one, or in stripes 3 cm x 20 cm to make roses shaped. Place them on a cloth and keep them covered either with a cloth or membrane until finished.
- In a heavy skillet add plenty of oil and heat oil. For the cylinder shaped diples, place the dough in the hot oil and holding two forks fold left side towards the center then the other side. Turn quickly on the other side and when golden place on kitchen paper. In order to make the roses shaped, place one edge of stripe in between the fork and hold the other end. Place fork in the hot oil and roll around the fork until the end of stripe. When golden, place on kitchen paper.
- Prepare syrup. In a sauce pan add sugar and water and bring to boil so that sugar may dissolve. Add honey and remove froth, if any.
- Bathe diples in syrup and remove in platter.
- Sprinkle with more honey, cinnamon and walnuts on top.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 60 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 110Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 16mgSodium: 9mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 0gSugar: 15gProtein: 2g
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Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,