"Thiples are a traditional pastry made for festive occasions such as weddings, christenings, birthdays, name days and so on," says Tsaples. "They're light, crunchy and deliciously sweet. Thiples aren't traditionally made in Thessaly, where my parents come from, and I learned how to make them through my mother-in-law, Anastasia, who comes from Kalamata."
- 8 eggs (for the best results, they must be fresh and organic)
- 60 ml ouzo
- 1 tbsp white sugar
- 3 tsp vanilla sugar
- Juice of ½ lemon
- 1 kg “00” flour
- 1 litre sunflower oil (4 cups)
- 150 gm walnuts, finely chopped (1½ cups)
- 75 gm roasted sesame seeds (½ cup)
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- 350 gm honey (1 cup)
- 220 gm white sugar (1 cup)
- 60 ml lemon juice (¼ cup)
- 1 cinnamon quill
- 1In a large bowl, beat the eggs, ouzo, sugar, vanilla sugar and lemon juice. Add the flour a little at a time to form a stiff dough (you may not need all the flour). It should not stick to your hands. Knead it for about 5 minutes, place it in a clean bowl, wrap it in plastic wrap and rest for about 30-50 minutes.
- 2Take a piece of dough the size of your fist then, using a pasta machine and reducing settings notch by notch, roll out the dough until it is 2mm thick. Cut pastry into squares about 15cm by 15cm in size.
- 3Heat the oil in a deep-sided frying pan. Drop the pastry squares into the hot oil (be careful, the hot oil will spit). Using a fork, roll them up to form cylinders. Admittedly, this step does require a bit of practice (see note). Don’t worry if they are not perfect to begin with. Drain the thiples after frying.
- 4For the syrup, combine ingredients with 125ml water in a large saucepan, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer (5-10 minutes).
- 5Dip the thiples into the warm (not hot) syrup. Arrange on a platter and serve sprinkled with walnuts, sesame seeds and cinnamon.
Note We found that you can also roll the pastry squares into cylinders before lowering them into the hot oil. Hold them loosely with tongs to keep them rolled for the first few minutes of cooking, which might be easier for beginners. This recipe is from Sweet Greek: Simple Food & Sumptuous Feasts ($39.95), published by Melbourne Books, and has been edited.