Soaked in honey and lemon syrup and fragrant with orange blossom water, these Tunisian doughnuts capture the flavours of North Africa.
Skill level Easy
7 g sachet dried yeast
1 tbsp white sugar
60 ml (¼ cup) orange juice
1 orange, zested
2 tbsp vegetable oil, plus extra, to deep-fry
300 g (2 cups) plain flour, sifted
2 tbsp lemon juice
110 g (½ cup) white sugar
360 g (1 cup) honey
2 tsp orange blossom water (see Note), optional
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Resting time 2 hours
Place yeast, sugar and 125 ml (½ cup) lukewarm water in a bowl and stir to combine. Set aside for 10 minutes or until the mixture bubbles. Add orange juice, zest and 2 tbsp oil, and stir to combine. Place flour and a pinch of salt in a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Pour yeast mixture into the well and stir until combined.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for 5 minutes or until smooth and elastic. (Alternatively, use an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook.) Place dough in a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 2 hours or until dough doubles in size.
Meanwhile, to make honey syrup, place lemon juice, sugar and 250 ml (1 cup) water in a pan over medium heat and stir until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to high and bring to the boil. Add honey and orange blossom water, if using, then reduce the heat to low–medium and cook mixture for 35 minutes or until the consistency of runny honey; watch syrup to make sure it doesn’t boil over. Transfer to a large bowl and cool.
Fill a deep-fryer or large pan one-third full with oil and heat over medium heat to 180°C (or until a cube of bread turns golden in 15 seconds). Working in batches, tear off a piece of dough about the size of a plum and flatten slightly with your hand. Tear a hole in the middle and stretch dough to make a 12–15cm ring. Gently drop dough into oil and deep-fry, turning halfway, for 4 minutes or until crisp, golden and cooked through. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel.
Using a skewer, pierce yo-yo on both sides, then soak in honey syrup for 4 minutes each side. Serve immediately.
• Orange blossom water is available from delis and Middle Eastern food shops.
Photography by John Laurie
Recipes related to Tunisian doughnuts (yo-yos):
Znoud El sit | Umm Ali Recipe | Almond Sesame Balls | Baklava with honey syrup | Fried Qatayef Bil-Kishta | Qatayef Asafiri Bil-Kishta