(POSTED: December 15, 2006)
For the Sugar Syrup:
5 cups sugar
2 1/4 cups water
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon rose or orange-blossom water
For the Batter:
4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (1/4 ounce) package instant dry yeast
2 2/3 cups warm water
Light vegetable oil, for frying, plus more for coating spoons
1. To make the syrup: Combine sugar, water, and lemon juice in a medium saucepan. Place over medium heat, and simmer until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes. Add rose or orange-blossom water, and simmer for a few seconds longer. Remove from heat, and let cool. Cover, and refrigerate until ready to use.
2. To make the batter: Whisk to combine flour, salt, and yeast in a large bowl. Gradually stir in water, beating vigorously until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place for at least 1 1/4 hours. Uncover, and beat once more. Cover, and let rise again, about 30 minutes.
3. Heat 2 inches of oil in a deep saucepan over medium-high heat until the oil reaches 375*F. Dip two tablespoons in a small bowl of oil to coat. Working in batches, spoon about a tablespoon of batter into hot oil. Fry, turning occasionally, until puffed, crisp, and golden. Reduce the heat a little so that the fritters are thoroughly cooked without getting too brown. The light batter produces irregular rather than round fritters.
4. Using a slotted spoon, remove fritters, and transfer to a paper towel–lined baking sheet to drain. Dip fritters in the cold syrup for a few seconds to coat and soak up some syrup. These are best served hot, but they may also be served at room temperature. Serves 6.