Sopaipillas

by Matt on May 11, 2007

Sopaipillas_mattbites_2

There are just some things that instantly take me back to my childhood.
Sopaipillas do that to me every time. Made by my grandmother, the
tender warm pillows of fried dough were sprinkled with cinnamon sugar
and drizzled with honey and always disappeared within minutes. She
would encourage us to eat them immediately while they were still warm,
but it was always said with a wink in her eye – she knew we couldn’t
keep our hands off them until there was an empty plate of grease-laden
cinnamon-scented crumbs.

My grandmother was the best cook I have ever known (next to my mom, of course!). She was in the
kitchen every day and her way with food was astonishing, no matter what
she prepared.  But unlike her rice and beans, sopaipillas were for
special events (as were her bunuelos, too). It was usually Christmas or
New Year’s Eve when she would make dough and fry it in her cast iron
skillet, and I always wondered why we had to wait so long. To a child
eleven months might as well be an eternity.

Traveling the world you’re bound to find various versions of
hot-oil-meets-dough desserts, whether it be beignets, youtiao,
malasadas, loukoumades or gulab jamun.  Unfortunately I adore every
single one of them. But sopaipillas top my list, and not just because
of their familial significance but also because they are among the most
basic of all fried dough desserts. A very simple dough puffs up in the
hot oil in a matter of minutes, and when drizzled with honey it’s pure
nirvana.

My grandmother passed away over 20 years ago, but the love she shared
and the meals she prepared for us will always be in our hearts. And
while I will never claim to be even remotely as talented as she was,  I
find comfort in having a part of her with me whenever I cook.



Sopaipillas


adapted from Taste Of Home

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons shortening
2/3 cup water
oil for frying
cinnamon & sugar
honey

Combine the dry ingredients and then cut in shortening until crumbly.
Gradually add water, tossing with a fork until mixture holds together. On
a lightly floured surface, knead dough for 1-2 minutes or until smooth.
Cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Roll out to 1/4-in. thickness. Cut
with a 2-1/2-in. star cookie cutter or into 2-1/2-in. triangles. In an
electric skillet or deep fat fryer, heat oil to 375°. Fry sopaipillas
for 1-2 minutes on each side or until golden brown and puffed. Drain on
paper towels. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar and serve immediately
with honey. Yields 1 dozen.

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