Lulabiyya (Funnel Cakes)

Author: Justin
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un Manuscrito Inedito, which appeared in an early edition of Volume II of Cariadoc's cookbook, but was subsequently withdrawn due to copyright objections.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: I think it is clear that this original is describing funnel cakes, very much as described here.