Aunt Sylvia's Taiglach
Literally translated taiglach means small pieces of dough or doughnuts. This Latvian speciality is a confection rather then a cake. Sylvia, my friend and favourite photographer Jill Furmanovsky's Great Aunt who died in Israel a few years ago, gave me the following recipe. The recipe originates from the border of Germany and Poland where Sylvia was born. It was carried in her memory to Africa (Zimbabwe), where Tate and Lyle Golden Syrup became an essential ingredient.
6 eggs (size 3) + 2 egg yolks
2 tbsp oil (peanut or sesame)
600 gr. flour (approx.)
1 Tbsp. sugar
Soaked pitted prunes (optional)
For the syrup:
350 gr. Tate and Lyle Golden Syrup or honey
350 gr. sugar
250 ml. water
1 Tbsp. powdered ginger
Beat the eggs with the sugar and oil. Add the flour and mix to a soft, stable dough. Transfer to a floured board and knead well for 2 minutes. Cover with a damp cloth and allow to rest for 30 minutes.
Divide the dough into four equal parts and roll into balls. Roll each ball into a long sausage 1.5 cm thick. Divide into 7.5 cm strips and shape into round doughnuts. Alternatively, tear pieces the size of a walnut, flattening each piece between the palms of your hands. Lay a small piece of soaked prune in the centre, reshape to a round ball and seal the edges well.
Place the sugar, syrup or honey and water into a large pot that must have a tightly fitting lid. Bring to a rapid boil and boil uncovered for 10 minutes. Skim well. Drop the taiglach in one by one. Increase the heat to bring the syrup back to the boil. Cover tightly, reduce the heat and simmer steadily for 20 minutes. The first twenty minutes are crucial; during that period do not attempt to lift the lid.
Uncover and continue boiling, gently, for about 45 minutes, shaking from time to time until the taiglach are nicely brown. Just before removing from the stove, add the ginger and mix well. Lift the taiglach with a perforated spoon on to a wet surface. Allow them to cool and dip in sugar, crumbed almonds or desiccated coconut. Store in an airtight tin or jar. Taiglach can also be stored in their cooking syrup.