Tuesday, December 7, 2010


What can I say? Sopapillas are wonderful... these puffy delights lend to people looking for both sweet and savory.  I was first introduced to sopapillas during foods class, freshman year in high school where the teacher showed it to us as both a dessert served with powdered sugar and as a bread addition to a meal making it quite savory.  My husband grew up in a Hispanic-American family and his Grandmother would make these for the children as treats served with honey.  So when my husband was watching TV last night he mentioned that he hadn't had sopapillas in so long and really wanted some I decided to make them.  We had a blast, me not having made them in years and him having never seen them being made before... he gobbled up the first few before pausing to take a picture for me.


3 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
4 to 6 tablespoons lard or shortening (lard is more authentic, shortening more vegan friendly)
1 1/4 cups warm milk or warm water (approximately)
Vegetable Oil for frying

  1. In a large bowl mix together flour, baking powder and salt.  Cut in shortening using either a pastry cutter or by using the fork and knife method (who has room for every little kitchen gadget anyways?). Mixture should be crumbly.
  2. Add 1 cup of the milk all at once and mix the dough with your hands until it forms a soft pliable dough, if it is too dry add more warm milk a little at a time.
  3. On a well floured board fold dough in half and knead about a dozen times until the dough is soft and no longer sticky... if your dough was not sticky before you can skip this step, but I've found that it incorporates the flour and shortening better than if you omit this step, so I always incorporate this step.  DON'T over work your dough or it will become tough.
  4. Cover dough with plastic wrap and let it stand for 10-20 minutes to let the gluten in the flour relax (makes for a softer sopapilla).
  5. After dough has rested take half of the dough (remember to cover the other half so it doesn't dry out), and roll it out on a well floured board to about 1/8-1/4 inch thick.  I like to make my dough into a rectangle because I can easily cut it into squares and then cut those squares in half to make triangles (and then in half again to make smaller triangles if I'm making them for little kids).  I seem to get a more manageable and customizable size this way, but if you like you can roll them into a circle like a pie crust and then cut it into triangles like a pizza.
  6. In a deep pan with 2-3 inches of vegetable oil heated to 365-375* f or into a deep fryer place 2-3 sopapillas into the pan at a time.  Avoid over crowding, as the sopapillas cook they will start to puff and you need room to be able to get a slotted spoon or skimmer in there to flip them over half way.  I'm pretty fussy and as soon as I feel that they are nice and puffy on one side I will flip them to brown the top... I flip them every 20-30 seconds so that they are evenly browned on all sides.  If that's too much work for you, flip them over after about a minute, and then fry on that side for one minute longer and they should be finished.  Remember you're looking golden brown, not dark brown or tan.
  7. Remove from oil and drain on a cooling rack that has paper towels underneath.  If you dont own a cooling rack you can use a paper towel or brown paper bags, but the sopapilla will still be in the oil it fried in and will quickly become soggy and loose the crispness that you so desire.

Side Note: If you are making the sopapillas for dessert, just before you remove them from the oil give them one last flip so that they are still "wet" with oil, immediately after they are removed from oil dust with powdered sugar.  The still "wet" oil will make the powdered sugar stick to the sopapilla...
The problem with this method is you either have to have three hands or your drip pan and powdered sugar in a duster right next to you while you're frying so that you can dust them in the 20-30 seconds you have before the oil is absorbed... or do as I do and elect a friend to be there to dust them as they come out. This is a great job for kids as they feel that they've "helped" make them, just make sure that you don't let them get too close to the oil and they burn themselves.

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