Sopaipillas Pasadas (Receta Secreta de la Abuela de José)

“A quién no le gusta las sopaipillas ricas y calentitas en un lluvioso día de invierno?”
– Dicen todos los chilenos, siempre

Concepción is famous for its rainy winters. Fungus grows in unused rooms, clothes are never really dry, and streets regularly flood. People actually earn money here by standing with a plank of wood near a flooded intersection and charging pedestrians for placing the plank over the water so they can cross without getting their feet wet! But I digress…

DSC_0100_01

I realised I hadn’t  blogged about anything sweet yet. So I thought I’d share with you a great Chilean sweet treat, especially for those soggy, cold winter afternoons.

Sopaipillas are a cross between bread and a donut. They are made from few and basic ingredients, mainly flour and pumpkin puree, and deep fried. Sopaipillas pasadas are served in salsa de chancaca; a warm, sweet syrup, flavoured with cinnamon, clove and orange rind.

DSC_0108_01

This dish is something to prepare on the weekend, as making the dough takes some time. But don’t confuse time consuming with difficult! They’re easy, and definitely worth all the effort. Oh, and make lots, because they are great for breakfast the next day, when the sopaipillas have soaked up all the flavour of the syrup.

DSC_0110_01

Ingredients

For the Sopaipillas

  • 500g plain flour
  • 150g pureed pumpkin
  • 2 tablespoons of lard, melted (you could also use butter or vegetable shortening)
  • A pinch of baking powder
  • A pinch of salt
  • Vegetable oil for frying

And José’s Abuela’s secret ingredient:

  • 1 medium banana, mashed

For the Salsa de Chancaca

  • 200g chancaca (you can substitute with brown sugar)
  • 4 cups water
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 cinnamon quill
  • The rind of half an orange (shave the rind off in large pieces, not grated)
  • 3 tablespoons of cornstarch dissolved in some cold water

DSC_0112_01

Method

For the sopaipillas, mix the dry ingredients in a bowl. Mix the wet ingredients together and add them to the dry ingredients. Work the mixture into a dough. Use your hands and knead it together on a flat surface. It will look like it will never come together, but keep at it. Be patient. Your efforts will be rewarded with sweet sopaipilla goodness.

For the salsa, place everything except the cornstarch into a pot and bring to the boil. Once the chancaca is completely dissolved, pour in the cornstarch and stir until the syrup becomes thick and, well, syrupy (is that a word?).

With a rolling pin (or an empty bottle which is what I used because I don’t own a rolling pin 😦 ) roll out the dough until it is about half a centimetre thick. Using a biscuit cutter or a glass, cut out circles of dough and prick right though twice with a fork. Press the left over pastry together, roll it out and repeat until all the dough is used up.

Heat the oil in the pan. You need enough to deep fry the sopaipillas. Make sure it is really hot before you put in the first batch. Fry both sides until golden brown and place on a paper towel to drain the oil.

Once all the sopaipillas are fried, add them to the syrup and heat until warmed through and some of the syrup has been absorbed. Serve hot!

DSC_0115_01

hallulla michelada pebre

Micheladas

Just like pebre, micheladas are another Chilean classic I refer to (and drink) a fair bit. Well they are actually from Mexico, but are super popular here too.

What can I say about micheladas? They are a beer based “cocktail”, made with freshly squeezed lemon juice, salt and tabasco, and in my opinion are most appropriate on 2 occasions.

1. Refreshing after work drinks with friends in the summer time

2. As a hangover cure the day after a big one. They are seriously re-hydrating, no joke.

Michelada ingredients

The makings of a michelada

Ingredients

The type of beer you use is a matter of personal preference. I prefer a lager or pale ale, nothing too dark or strong in flavour.

  • Salt
  • Tabasco
  • Lemons
  • Beer!

Method

You will need 2 plates, one with some water and one with salt. Dip the rim of a glass into the water and then into the salt so you have a nice, light rim of salt around the edge.

Squeeze the juice out of the lemons, making sure to remove all the pips. Poor the juice into the salted glasses. You want to make enough juice so that each glass contains about 2 fingers worth. Add about a quarter of a teaspoon of salt to each glass and tabasco*.

Pouring technique

Don’t touch the rim!

Pour in the beer SLOWLY, being careful not to touch the rim. The best way is to tilt the glass slightly and pour the beer onto the side of the glass so the liquid runs down into the lemon juice mixture. There will be fizz, so be very careful not to let it touch the rim of salt either or all the salt will dissolve into the liquid. Part of the experience of drinking a michelada is licking a bit salt off the rim as you take a sip.

And there you have it! This drink goes well with some fresh bread, pebre and good company.

*The amount of tabasco depends on how much you like chili and also depends on the brand so feel free to experiment.