Pulled pitas are called that because small dough balls are pulled and stretched into shape before frying. Even though they’re called pitas, since they get deep-fried, they do resemble doughnuts more. This brings me to the frying issue: you can, by all means, use olive oil if you wish to. That said, even though it has been scientifically proven time and again that olive oil is one of the most excellent choices for cooking, I don’t recommend it for deep-frying.
1sachet active dry yeast(they’re usually around 0.28 oz/8 g each, suitable for one pound of flour)
¼cupolive oil(60 ml)
1cuplukewarm water(250 ml)
¼cupfeta cheesecrumbled (80 g)
vegetable oil for frying
Sift flour, dry yeast, and salt in a large mixing bowl.
Add olive oil and lukewarm water and mix until everything is well combined. Knead into a smooth, slightly sticky dough. (While kneading, you may find that the dough requires more flour than 1.3 pounds. Keep adding 1-2 tablespoons at a time until you achieve the desired smoothness.)
Brush a clean bowl with olive oil, place the dough in and cover with a kitchen towel. Let it rest until it rises. Make sure the room (or the place you leave it next to) is warm. It should take about 20-35 minutes to rise depending on room temperature.
After the dough has risen, slather your hands with some olive oil to punch it down. Sprinkle with the crumbled feta and fold it all in. Divide dough into equal parts and roll into small balls (think of a plum in terms of size).
Pour vegetable oil of choice into a 10"-12" frying pan or wok to a depth of ¾". Heat oil to 375 °F. If you’re not using an electric frying pan, you can either use a candy thermometer to take the temperature of the oil, or you can guesstimate by seeing if a single piece of dough (fry alone first) fries nicely in the time specified.
Pull and stretch each little dough ball just like you would do to pizza dough. Give them an oval shape. (You can do this on any flour-coated or nonstick surface, but since they’re pretty small in size, I usually shape them in my hands.)
Carefully lower each dough “disk” into the pan. A maximum of 2-3 pieces per batch are advisable. Let them cook for 60 seconds (they will slightly puff and become light brown around the edges), then flip them over and cook until light brown on the other side, about 60 seconds; you don’t want to cook these too dark.
Remove from the pan and set them in a paper-towel-lined baking sheet. Place in a 200 °F oven to keep warm while you make the remaining pitas.
Serve warm with toppings of your choice.
I’m incorporating feta cheese into the dough for this recipe, but you can leave it plain and simple and use the crumbled feta as a topping instead. Precisely because this is such a quintessential comfort food, you can customize it in a million different ways. You can let your imagination go wild, but you will also find a few typical ideas after the recipe below. Maniot pulled pitas can be enjoyed for breakfast or as a snack.*recipe originally developed by Kicking Back the Pebbles for Politismos eMagazine