Zlebye is a traditional dessert prepared by Lebanese Christians celebrating the baptism of Jesus by John the baptist, on January 6 of each year. This traditional old “doughnut” is very easy to prepare.

Total servings: 17 donuts (according to the size)

Preparation time: 2 hours


2 ½ cups of flour

2 tbsp. of butter, melted

½ tsp of yeast

½ tsp of baking powder

4 tsp of sugar

2 ½ tbsp. of powder milk

1 cup of warm water

Pinch of powdered anise, mahleb and nutmeg

Vegetable oil for frying

Powder sugar for serving

Preparation steps:

  1. In a bowl, mix all ingredients and leave the dough to rest for 2 hours
  2. Knead the dough gently for a couple of minutes
  3. Cover the bowl with a humid cloth and allow to rest and ferment for 2 hours
  4. When the dough is done, divided it into small pieces
  5. Make palm-sized balls and stretch them to obtain elongated shapes
  6. In a pan, heat the vegetable oil
  7. Fry the donuts and remove from oil when both sides are golden brown
  8. Put the zlebye on a paper towel and sprinkle with powder sugar before serving
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“Ghtas” or “Deyem Deyem”


Ghtas” is a Christian feast day celebrated on January 6. On this day, Eastern Christians commemorate the Baptism of Jesus Christ by John the Baptist in the river of Jordan; they greet each other by saying “Deyim Deyim”, wishing each others blessings and prosperity.

Regarding the food prepared on this occasion, special sweets, of different shapes, are made. These are mainly deep-fried in oil then dipped in syrup. The small ball-shaped ones are called “Ouwaymat” which means “floating” for the fact that these balls float when they are dipped in syrup. As for the elongated sweets, they are called “Zlabia” and served with powdered sugar. According to old people, the elongated form of the “Zlabia” represents the index of John the Baptist that was pointing at Jesus.

Other traditions on this Holy Day consist of putting a bottle of water under the Christmas tree and keep the patio lights on to welcome Jesus who passes by at midnight and spreads His blessings among people.


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