Lulabiyya (Funnel Cakes)
Serves Not Nearly Enough
|3 packets yeast
||1/2 cup warm (not hot) water
|10 cups flour
||2 cups honey
|1 cup water
Dissolve the yeast in the water. Add the flour, with enough water
to make a batter a bit heavier than pancake batter, but still thin enough
to flow. Combine the honey and water, and set aside.
Heat a deep pan of oil until quite hot (almost smoking); you can check
the oil by tossing a drop of batter in -- the batter should cook almost
instantly. Put the batter into a funnel, and pour steadily into the
oil, making patterns in the oil. Turn once, remove from oil and drain.
Dip into the diluted honey, let the excess drip off, and serve immediately.
Notes and Variations
One of those particularly favorite period recipes -- this is similar to
modern funnel cakes, but better. Justin made it for his Islamic buffet
feast; it was so popular that not once did the platter actually make it
all the way to the buffet table before being denuded by the ravening hordes.
The original does not make the dilution of the honey obvious; this
was Jane's suggestion, and seems to work better than straight honey.
Undiluted, it comes out as a sort of sticky glaze over the top; dilute,
it soaks in, so you get all the flavor without as much stickiness.
It is likely closer to the original intent; I get the impression that the
"one time skimmed" honey was probably a little thinner than modern honey.
This recipe was originally reconstructed by Mistress Elayne Courtenay (Denise
Cross), for her Id al-Fitr feast, which Justin helped cook and typeset
the recipes for. It is taken from La Cocina Arabigoandaluza Segune
un Manuscrito Inedito, which appeared in an early edition of Volume
II of Cariadoc's cookbook, but was subsequently withdrawn due to copyright
objections. To avoid those same objections, I won't quote the entire
passage, but just the most relevant bit:
... [Make the batter, then] fill with it a vessel in whose bottom is
a small hole in which will go the little finger and you will have put on
the fire a frying pan with much oil. Cover the hole with a finger,
and when you have the vessel on top of the frying pan, take away the finger
from the hole and drop in the frying pan of that which the vessel contains.
Move the vessel with the hand and make in the manner of lattices and diverse
figures of circular forms. When it hardens into fritters on the frying
pan, remove them rapidly, let the oil run off, and drench it in bubbling
honey one time skimmed, and leave it in until it absorbs all that is necessary...
I think it is clear that this original is describing funnel cakes, very
much as described here.