Saturday, May 11, 2013

Portuguese Traditions: Malassadas

The Portuguese have this wonderful little 'Piece of Fried Dough" that we look forward to on any special occasion. A Festa, a Holiday, a Family Party, maybe even just a Great Uncle visiting from Connecticut. Oh, how we looked forward to those visits as they always meant Malassadas.
A Malassada is exactly as I described a delightful little piece of fried dough, but this is the most basic of descriptions for a phenomenal bite into heaven. Let's say this.. Have you ever gone to fair? A fair where your Mom bought you an "Elephant Ear" or maybe a "Doughboy", well that might tease you into thinking that this could be a quick substitute for a Malassada. It's fried dough but it's a fried Bread dough. Malassadas are a fried "Sweetbread Dough". It's like comparing Sliced white bread to Hawaiian bread (hallah, cinnamon roll dough) Not the same, right? Right! Here is the Ultimate in a puff of Heaven, that will forever make you think that "doughboy" is just a poor substitute for the real thing.

Now, every Azorean Household has their own recipe. The recipe for Malassadas differs as much as an Italian family's recipe for "Sauce". This one is a passed on generation to generation recipe from my family. If you find a different one, don't be afraid to try it, It's as different or as the same as the last marinara sauce (gravy) recipe you tried. Just love doing it! That's the best secret ingredient in Everything you make!

Malassadas
4 Cups Flour                 1 Cup Sugar (+1 tsp)           2 Cups Milk
6 Eggs
1 packet Yeast (2 1/4 tsp instant yeast but don/t dissolve) 
1/2 cup Water (100° - 110°)  (water is for the pkg yeast only)
1 tsp Salt
1/4 cup Butter (1/2 stick, melted)
Vegetable Oil for Frying

Put Yeast in 1/2 cup Water with 1 teaspoon Sugar. Let rise (become foamy)
In a small saucepan, heat milk and butter on low temp until butter has melted.
Remove from heat to cool to room temp
Beat Eggs, add Sugar and beat to combine.
Add Warm Butter and Milk, combine well.
Add Yeast combine through.
Add Flour and Salt.
Using paddle attachment or hands; Mix (fold) until well combined and smooth.
Cover with a plastic wrap & cloth and allow to rise to double in size.
(If your kitchen is cold, warm oven to 200° and turn off. Place dough in warmed oven to rise)

To Fry: Use a Deep fryer at 350°f or use a Deep Pan and warm 4-5 cups Vegetable Oil to 350° on Medium high heat (8 on electric stove)
Take pieces of risen dough and stretch to desired size. Place piece of dough in oil and allow to fry for 5-7 minutes. *If dough sticks to your hands wipe hands with a tbsp oil and it wont stick* 
Watch for color, you want a golden brown. If they get color too quickly the center will be raw.
Turn your oil down to Medium Heat. (5 or 6 on electric stove)
Repeat for all of the dough.
Once dough is fried place in a paper bag and coat with Sugar
 (may add cinnamon, although not traditional)
Place on parchment lined cookie sheet and keep warm in 200° oven.

Most of all Enjoy!!! 

***If on a weeknight, you'd like to make the substitute ones...grab a ball of pizza dough at the market or your local pizzeria and fry it up as you would the Malassada dough. Dredge in Sugar and you have a quick and easy substitute, good enough for a weeknight or a quick Sunday morning :)