Find Orlando Family Magazine on Facebook! Follow Orlando Family Magazine on Twitter!

Heavenly Honey Puffs

As a first generation Greek-Canadian married to an American, cooking helps me travel back to my roots with the help of my taste buds. I jokingly describe myself as a cross between celebrity chef Giada de Laurentis and actress Nia Vardalos ─ with a love for traditional Greek cuisine paired with the influences of my eccentric family traditions.

Saint Spiridon is the patron saint of Corfu, the Greek island where my family comes from and where I spent the summer months during my childhood. He is known for performing miracles, healing the sick, and coming to the aid of seamen and mariners. The body of Saint Spiridon lies in a chapel in the centre of town, where it has been since the 1700s, and is open to the public for viewing and worship. Greeks and tourists alike line up to pray for his help, with many worshippers bowing down to kiss his silk-embroidered slippers. Legend has it that Saint Spiridon walks the streets at night, guarding the island and rescuing troubled mariners.  Preposterous, you might say? Well, ask anyone on that island and they will tell you that every year his ornate slippers must be replaced because the bottoms are worn and seaweed is even found entangled around his feet!

A local tradition in honoring Saint Spiridon is to make Tyganites (pronounced tee-ya-nee-tess). These treats, traditionally prepared early in the morning during the festival dedicated to Saint Spiridon, are soft, bubbly, pan-fried balls of doughy goodness, drizzled in honey and sprinkled with cinnamon. It is customary to share with your family and neighbors.

You may be thinking “It’s all Greek to me,” but I assure you ─ Greek or otherwise ─ that this family recipe will be enjoyed by your own family!



  • 1 cup self-rising flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • Vegetable oil (to fill ½ inch depth of frying pan)


  • Whisk the flour and milk well; let sit for 15 minutes.
  • In the meantime, heat the oil in a small frying pan. Tips: 1) To test oil temperature, add a drop of the dough mixture into the pan. If it floats and bubbles, the oil is ready. If it sinks to the bottom and does not rise, allow the oil to heat longer. 2) If oil is absorbed by the balls during the process, add a bit more oil to complete and allow it to heat back up.
  • When the oil reaches the right temperature, drop in one spoonful of mixture into the pan. Repeat until the pan is full.
  • Lower heat to medium-high. As the balls begin to turn a golden color, flip over to the other side (using two forks as guides). When the second side is golden, remove the balls with a slotted spoon; place in a large bowl.
  • Repeat process until all batter is used and cooked. Sprinkle the Tyganites with cinnamon and drizzle with honey. Serve warm.
  • If desired, try maple syrup (in place of honey), chocolate syrup, or icing and sprinkle with chopped walnuts or almonds; serve with a dollop of ice cream.