Mamma mia! How to make irresistible daktyla, aka ladyfingers!

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Leonie Leonida/Staff

Before we get our “Mamma Mia!” on, we’re all going to want a snack, right? What’s better than some delicious daktyla — a yummy, cinnamon Greek dessert also known as ladyfingers! (Check out our tips and tricks at the bottom to avoid any mishaps, bake, eat and enjoy!)

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You will need: 

A saucepan 

A frying pan

A mixing bowl

Measuring cups

Measuring spoons 

A rolling pin 

A large cooking mat

A strainer 

A plate to serve on

Ingredients

1. Pastry

2 cups of flour 

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 

1/2 cup of water

2. Filling 

2 cups ground almonds

1/3 cup sugar

1 1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon

3. Syrup

1 cup sugar 

2 cups of water 

2 sticks of cinnamon 

25 whole cloves 

Directions

First, start with the pastry: 

  1. Place flour into a mixing bowl .
  2. Slowly rub the extra virgin olive oil into the flour. This will give you a light, crumbly texture. 
  3. Once the oil is completely combined with the flour, slowly add the water. This step will combine all the ingredients together. 
  4. Knead the mixture for about 10 minutes or until you get a smooth consistency like bread. Let it sit for about 30 minutes — by leaving it to rest the dough, will become softer and easier to work with. 

Second, make the filling:

  1. Place almonds, sugar and cinnamon all into a food processor.
  2. Pulse the mixture until it is roughly chopped. 

Third, go for the syrup (you can also make this as much as a day beforehand): 

  1. Place water, sugar, cloves and cinnamon sticks all into the saucepan. 
  2. Once the syrup starts to boil, turn the heat on low so it is back to simmering. 
  3. Reduce the syrup until it starts lightly coating the back of a spoon. 
  4. Strain the cloves and cinnamon sticks.
  5. Set aside to cool down.

Fourth, bring all the elements together:

  1. Cut off some of the dough and roll it into a small ball until it has few to no cracks. 
  2. Lightly flour surface and start rolling it out. With every couple of rolls, you may need to add a small amount of flour. Keep going with this step until it’s about 1 mm thin.
  3. Roughly cut the dough into 3 by 2 inch pieces. 
  4. For each piece of 3 by 2 pastry, place about a 1/2 – 1 tablespoon of the filling. You will place the filling in the middle of the 3-inch side (lengthwise) — make sure when rolling the pastries that they are tight!
  5. Fold over the dough and press down the sides. 
  6. Fold over once more and close the end with your finger or a fork. 
  7. Repeat this process until you have finished the dough and the filling. (If there is any leftover dough, you can roll it out, cut it into strips and fry them.)
  8. Place olive oil into the frying pan. It should be about 1/2 inch of oil. 
  9. Wait till the oil is hot, then turn it to a medium heat. 
  10. Place the pastries into the oil and fry on one side until the pastry is a light golden brown color. Turn over and repeat. 
  11. Once light golden brown on each side, place on a plate covered with paper towels to drain excess oil. 
  12. Repeat until all the pastries are fried. 
  13. Set aside to cool. 
  14. Once they are cooled, place in the cooled syrups for about 30 seconds. Then they are ready to be served!

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Tips and tricks

  1. If you don’t add enough flour, then it will stick to the surface. 
  2. If you add too much flour, it will break when trying to roll the pastry together. 
  3. When adding the filling, leave space on either side as this is what helps to seal the pastries closed. 
  4. If you are struggling to close the pastries, you can brush the edges very lightly with water. 

Contact Leonie Leonida at [email protected] .