Malassadas

This Azorean recipe, adapted from the wonderful Portuguese Homestyle Cooking, by Ana Patuleia Ortins (Interlink Publishing, 2001), makes a much more luxurious treat than the typical festival fried dough.

  • ¼ cup hot water
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 cup (5 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons yeast
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • ¾ cup (6 ounces) sugar
  • 2¾ cup (14 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • 1 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon mixed together

Note: about three hours before your want to fry your malassadas, make a sponge by combining hot water and milk and whisking in 1 cup of flour. The mixture should feel luke-warm. Sprinkle on yeast, and whisk again. Cover and set aside one hour to develop (it will get bubbly).

When the sponge is ready, make the dough. Using a large bowl and a whisk or a stand mixer, beat eggs and sugar until thickened and pale yellow. Switching to a wooden spoon or the mixer’s dough hook, add the 2¾ cup flour, butter, and salt, along with the risen sponge. Beat together well. Cover and let rise one hour.

Amply flour a clean counter. Scrape out the dough and stretch it out a bit from underneath (use a dough scraper if you have one). Quickly fold the mass in thirds like a business letter. Make a ¼ turn, stretch, and fold the other way. Plop it back into its bowl and cover for another hour.

In a deep cast-iron pan or a heavy 3- to 4-quart saucepan, heat several inches of vegetable oil. When oil begins to look a bit wavy, flour your hands and pull off a piece of dough the size of a lemon. Drop it on a well-floured surface and pat and stretch it into a half-inch thick triangle or square. Fry, turning once with long tongs until deep brown on both sides (keep an eye on them—they darken quickly due to the richness of the dough). Drain on paper.

Douse the malassadas with cinnamon sugar and serve hot.

Makes about one dozen.

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