Traditionally, my Tayta, aunties and Mum make owomette (also known as zlaybya) on the 6th of January, for the feast of the Epiphany. With a Lebanese Maronite mother, rituals like these are entirely non negotiable, not that anyone would ever complain.
Below you will find a super easy, extra naughty recipe that will please the masses. This version has been scaled back to 'normal people' proportions, and also happens to be plant based. My mum literally makes four times the amount listed. Who knows? You may find yourself doing the same!
Sugar Syrup (Attar)
2 cups sugar
1 tsp rosewater (optional)
1 tsp lemon juice
3-4 grams instant dry yeast (about half a sachet)
1 tsp sugar
1/4 cup warm water
1/2 cup room temperature water
1 cup plain flour
1 pinch of salt
1 cup of canola or vegetable oil
Dried rose petals (optional- for decoration)
1) Bring sugar, lemon juice and water to the boil. Put enough water in so that the sugar is covered by about a centimetre. Ensure that the sugar is dissolved. Boil for approximately 10 minutes. Test the consistency by drizzling the syrup on a chilled plate. When you dab a drop of the syrup between your thumb and your finger, you should see a fine string form. If a string does not form, boil the mix for a little longer. Add the rosewater at the end, if desired. ( I certainly desire rosewater, however others may prefer orange blossom, cinnamon or other flavours. I try not judge these people...) Allow the syrup to cool.
2) Mix yeast, 1 tsp of sugar and warm water in a clear cup or bowl. Cover the cup or bowl with a plate and allow the yeast to activate. This should take approximately 15 minutes. The mix will double in volume.
3) Mix flour, salt and the activated yeast mix in a bowl. Gradually add the room temperature water until you achieve a pancake like consistency. (See video below.) Add a bit of water if you need to thin the mixture.
4) Cover the mix with a tea towel or blanket and allow it to stand for 20- 30 minutes. The mix should double and have visible air pockets in it.
5) Heat the oil in a small pot or pan, so that the oil is about 3 cm deep. Test the oil's temperature by inserting the back of a wooden utensil or a skewer. When bubbles form around the utensil, the oil is at the right temperature.
6) Use a spoon or a piping bag to drop dollops of batter into the oil. Size is entirely negotiable! I like to aim for 20 cent sized pieces. (See video below)
7) Flip the doughnuts when the underside turn golden brown. Once the whole doughnut is golden, remove from the oil and drain on a plate lined with paper towel.
8) While still warm, dunk the doughnuts into a deep jug or bowl filled with sugar syrup. Allow them to soak for 30 seconds or so before taking them out.
When you bite into a doughnut, you should see air pockets that are glistening with sugar syrup.
9) Serve warm, at room temperature, or even chilled the next day (if you have any left!)
You will find that you have extra sugar syrup. Not a bad thing. Just use it when you make knafeh. My Tayta's favourite recipe is on this blog.