This Easter is going to feel very different from what we are used to. Confined to our homes in the new routine that the current crisis has imposed on us, we often find it difficult to know which day of the week it is. That’s why there is nothing better than the traditional recipes of this time of the year to bring us back to reality and savour the moment with our loved ones.
Of all the traditional Easter recipes, light-as-air buñuelos are one of the most popular and easiest to eat. In addition, these nuggets of fried dough accept multiple variations as there are different types of fillings to play with.
Their origin is likely to be the puñuelos, a sort of round-shaped dumplings that the Romans kneaded with their fists, or, as with many sweet recipes, they may come from the Arabs. In the kingdom of Granada, honey water fritters were said to be very popular -they were fried in oil and then bathed in boiling honey.
This dessert and other sweet pastries enjoyed at this time of year, such as torrijas (bread pudding) or pestiños (twisted fritters), were a result of the need for extra calories during the period of fasting and abstinence in Lent.
Our Michelin-starred chef Marc Segarra suggests a recipe of light-as-air buñuelos filled with custard. Below is all the information you need to make them at home over the next days.
Before we start, Marc Segarra recommends us to avoid lumps, both in the dough and in the cream. In the latter case, however, you can always fix it by straining the cream through a fine chinois or directly with the mixer.
BUÑUELOS DE VIENTO (LIGHT-AS-AIR FRITTERS)
For the choux pastry:
- 125 g (4.4 oz) flour
- 125 g (4.4 oz) water
- 100 g (3.5 oz) butter
- 4 eggs
Pour the water into a saucepan with the butter and a pinch of salt and bring to the boil. Add the flour all at once for blanching and to compensate for the gluten. Then stir well until the dough loses moisture and comes away from the sides of the pan. Remove from the heat, add the eggs one by one and stir until the dough is smooth. Once it is ready, put it in a piping bag.
Segarra stresses the importance of working the dough well and particularly of adding the yolks one by one and away from the fire (“otherwise it would curdle and the dough would not come together).
For the pastry cream:
- 500 g (17.6 oz) milk
- 50 g (1.76 oz) wheat flour and 40 g (0.14 oz) corn flour
- 90 g (3.17 oz) sugar
- 2 eggs
- Lemon rind
- 1 vanilla pod (optional)
Open the vanilla pod to remove the seeds. Pour the milk, lemon rind and vanilla into a saucepan. Once it starts to boil, turn off the heat and leave it to infuse for five minutes. After this time, strain and pour the mix into another pot to add and melt the sugar. Then add the eggs and the flour and stir well at medium heat until it thickens. Transfer the mixture to a piping bag and leave it to settle in the fridge.
Finish and presentation:
Heat 400 ml (13.5 oz) of sunflower oil in a saucepan at 180ºC (350ºF). Once it has reached the right temperature, drop the choux pastry into the oil. You can make small balls of the size of the diameter of a €2 coin by hand and pour them very carefully into the oil or, even easier, cut small pieces of dough directly from the piping bag with a pair of scissors. Remove the fritters and place them on paper towels. Let them rest and then fill them with the pastry cream. The nozzle of the piping bag should serve to insert the cream; if not, cut a small opening with the scissors.
To finish, dip the fritters in sugar in much the same way as you would dip croquettes in breadcrumbs.