While I was sifting through Cinco de Mayo dessert recipes (settling on the tres leches), I found this one for Sopapillas, and set it aside for a rainy day. Usually when I save something for a rainy day, it gets stuffed away in a drawer, book etc, and doesn’t see the light of day again until my annual spring-cleaning, but it’s been so rainy lately; I figured there’s no time like the present!
Sopapillas are described as “soft pillows”. I wasn’t so sure about mine as I was putting the dough together. It was very similar to biscuit dough which is a bit dense and heavy. Once I fried them in my little deep fryer (my new favorite appliance), they became puffy and light. I split the batch in half and added cinnamon-sugar to one and honey to the other. They were delicious. It was very much like eating a doughnut. They were dense like a cake doughnut, but with a slightly tough exterior like a fried yeast doughnut. Since the recipe doesn’t call for vanilla, it will take on whatever flavor you add to them. Both the cinnamon-sugar and honey were great. I’m sure the next time I make these; I’ll add chocolate and/or coffee dipping sauces.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
- ¾ cup warm water , plus more as needed
- peanut or canola oil , for frying
- honey or cinnamon sugar , for serving
Sift the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Add the shortening and water, work them in with your hands to make a soft, dough. Add more water, 1 teaspoon at a time, if the dough feels too dry. Gather the dough into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Put the dough in the refrigerator and chill for at least 1 hour so it will firm up a bit and be easier to roll and cut.
Unwrap the ball of dough and put on a lightly floured surface, cut in half. With a floured rolling pin, roll each piece of dough into a circle, about 1/4-inch thickness. Using a paring knife or pizza cutter, cut the dough into triangle or square shapes.
Heat 2-inches of oil to 375°F in a deep fryer, heavy skillet or deep pot over medium-high heat.
Fry a few of the sopapillas at a time, keeping an eye on maintaining the oil temperature. As the sopapillas puff up and rise to the surface, flip them over with a slotted spoon or skimmer; about 2 minutes on each side. Carefully remove the sopapillas from the oil and drain on paper towels. Cool slightly. Serve hot with honey or cinnamon sugar.
Adapted from Ingrid Hoffman