Loukoumades (pronounced: lou-kou-MAH-thes) can be considered the Greek version of a donut. Light, airy and perfectly crisp golden dough gets coated in honey, cinnamon & walnuts for what is one of our very favorite Greek treats. I’m not one to typically mess with tradition and there is absolutely nothing wrong with traditional loukoumades. However, the other day I thought about infusing some of the fall season’s most loved ingredients, namely, pumpkin puree, pumpkin spice & caramel into the loukoumades we love so much. What came out of our kitchen still retains everything that makes loukoumades what they are, but has just the right amount of fall fusion to make these pumpkin loukoumades absolutely worth messing with tradition.
Loukoumades are made out of a yeast risen dough. This is where we add in just enough pumpkin puree to give the donuts a hint of pumpkin without losing the classic texture that loukoumades are known for.
Traditional loukoumades get coated with a simple honey syrup. In the name of fall, I had the idea to make a honey caramel sauce that would coat the pumpkin loukoumades. By slowing simmering honey, heavy cream and salt you end up with a gorgeous caramel sauce. The heavy cream and salt makes the honey less cloying than when by itself, resulting in a sauce so perfect, we just may like it better than the traditional honey alone.
Frying the loukoumades into their classic shape takes a bit of practice, but by the 2nd batch you should have the hang of it. We use a dessert spoon to scoop the dough into the oil. Loukoumades typically vary in size, so you don’t have to worry about them all looking uniform or perfect, imperfection adds to their charm.
While the golden fried donuts look beautiful on their own, loukoumades really shine from the adornments. A generous coating of honey caramel sauce, a sprinkle of finely crushed walnuts, and a final dusting of pumpkin spice – these pumpkin loukoumades are the best kind of fusion and prove that tradition is worth messing with.
- 1 cup lukewarm water
- 1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
- 1 tsp honey
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/2 tsp fine grain salt
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 1/2 cups palm shortening (or neutral oil for frying)
- cold glass of water
- 1 cup honey
- 1 cup heavy cream
- large pinch of salt
- 1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1/4 cup crushed walnuts
- Add the lukewarm water to a large bowl, dissolve the honey into the water & sprinkle the yeast over the top of the water. Leave to rest until yeast is foamy, about 10 minutes.
- Once yeast has foamed, add pumpkin puree to bowl & whisk until combined
- Add in flour & salt and stir until mixture is well comined
- Cover bowl with a damp towel & leave to rest in a warm place until dough has doubled (about 1 hour)
- While the dough rises, make the honey caramel sauce
- In a medium saucepan, combine heavy cream, honey & a large pinch of salt
- Heat mixture over medium heat, stirring to fully combine the ingredients
- Bring mixture to a boil and then lower heat to medium low & simmer until reduced by about 1/2 and deep amber in color (this took about 20 minutes) - making sure the caramel is simmering nicely but will not boil over
- Once the caramel is thickened & has turned to the desired color, remove from heat & set aside to cool
- While you continue to wait for the dough to finish rising, crush the walnuts & reserve
- Once the dough is doubled & bubbly, heat a large pot with frying oil over medium high heat
- Line a large cookie sheet with paper towels (this is what you will place the cooked donuts on)
- Once oil has reached 350 degrees F - lightly stir the dough to settle any large bubbles & using a clean dessert spoon, dip the spoon into the cold glass of water & then scoop 2 tsp of dough into the oil (making sure to shake any excess water off of the spoon before dipping into the dough)
- Fry 6-8 donuts at a time, depending on the size of your pot - cook the donuts for approximately 2 minutes on each side (you are looking for a nice golden color)
- Set finished donuts on the paper towel lined cookie sheet & continue frying until all of the dough is used up
- Drizzle donuts with honey caramel sauce, sprinkle with a bit of crushed walnuts & using a small sieve, dust the donuts with pumpkin pie spice & serve