Lebanese doughnuts with lemon syrup

Lebanese doughnuts with lemon syrup

New Middle Eastern Food
24 small doughnuts
Mark Roper

Once the dough has proved and doubled in bulk, you can transfer it to the fridge, where it will keep quite happily for up to four days.

Lemon syrup


Quantity Ingredient
300g caster sugar
100ml water
40ml lemon juice
20g corn syrup
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped, (optional)


Quantity Ingredient
10g dried yeast
600g plain flour
pinch salt
70g caster sugar
440ml milk
70g unsalted butter
3 free-range eggs
1 egg yolk
candied lemon zest, (optional)
ice cream, to serve


  1. Combine all the lemon syrup ingredients in a large heavy-based saucepan and heat gently, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Bring to the boil, then remove from the heat and leave to cool.
  2. To make the doughnuts, mix the yeast, flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Gently heat the sugar and milk in a saucepan to dissolve the sugar. Do not boil. Pour onto the butter and stir to melt. Leave until it cools to lukewarm, then whisk the eggs and egg yolk into the liquid. Pour the liquid into the flour and stir in with a wooden spoon until the batter is smooth. Cover the bowl and leave in a warm, draught-free spot for 1 hour, by which time the dough should have doubled in size.
  3. When ready to cook, heat the oil in a large saucepan or deep-fryer to 180ºC, or until a blob of batter sizzles up to the surface in a few seconds. Shape the dough into little quenelles using two teaspoons and drop them into the oil, or spoon the dough into a piping bag fitted with a wide, plain nozzle and hold it above the hot oil. Squeeze gently, snipping the batter with scissors into small, even, round blobs as it falls. The doughnuts should be the size of a small walnut. Fry 8–10 doughnuts at a time for 2–3 minutes until a deep golden brown. Move them around in the oil with a large slotted spoon, so they colour evenly. Scoop the doughnuts out of the oil straight into the pan of syrup and leave for a few minutes to soak.
  4. They are particularly good with a tart ice cream; try the Saffron–honey ice cream with candied ginger or Syrian apricot ice cream or a good-quality purchased vanilla or lemon ice cream. For an extra lemon hit, garnish with candied lemon zest.
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