A Doughnut By Any Other Name

Varieties of this treat are enjoyed around the world

datoIf you are a world traveler, then you are probably familiar with a sweet, deep-fried delicacy called oliebollen, krofi, beignets, bomboloni or jalebi. Here in Mexico, our variations are known as buñuelos, sopaipillas, and churros.

If you haven’t had one of these crunchy,  soft and puffy treats, then it is time to do so. There is nothing better than to have one at the end of a hearty cochinito pibil or tacos al pastor.

Buñuelos These small balls or discs are often topped with a piloncillo syrup and cinnamon or sugar. They are not just limited to dessert, and are a popular mid-afternoon snack served with a mug of Mexican hot chocolate. Can’t put your finger on that distinctive unique flavor in the dough. It is a hint of anise.

Sopaipillas A popular dish that often has its own twists. Usually served for dessert, sopaipillas can also be served as a savory dish. For dessert, they are most often pyramid or square-shaped then drizzled with honey or powdered sugar. When stuffed with meat or cheese they become a delicious appetizer, and are similar to an empanada. Going back two hundred years, it is said that the word sopaipilla comes from xopaipa, meaning bread soaked in oil.

Churros These are quintessentially associated with Mexico, but in fact their recipe goes all the way back to China, Portugal and Spain. Once it landed in Spain, the extraction through a star-shaped die was created, giving them their familiar ridges. The smaller the die, the crunchier the end result. I have seen churros filled with guava paste or cheese, but more common presentations include a sprinkling of sugar, powdered or otherwise and filled with dulce de leche, cajeta or chocolate. Walk through any fair in the U.S. and that familiar smell draws you to the funnel cake kiosk.

Check out the simple buñuelo recipe in this edition and remember that they are not just for special occasions anymore.

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