Mexican buñuelos are some of my favorite treats. They used to be made only for Christmas, although in recent years, they have become increasingly available at fairs and other celebrations throughout the year. Buñuelos are like fried wheat flour tortillas that are covered in sugar and canela or piloncillo syrup. There are a few different kinds of buñuelos: the huge buñuelos de rodilla (said to be named after the way cooks used to stretch the dough over their knees) that can measure 12", the regular sized buñuelos, 6"-7", and buñuelos de molde, which is what we’re talking about today.
I love how pretty these buñuelos are. There are a few designs of molds out there, and all make beautiful fritters. This particular mold, though, belonged to my maternal Abuelita Amalia, and when I left Mexico she gifted it to me. Back then, I tried making buñuelos and let's just say they didn’t turn out so well. OK, they didn’t turn out at all! Deeply disappointed, I washed my mold and put it away.
Fast-forward to a couple of decades later and after years in the restaurant industry, I spotted the mold in my basement while packing for a move. I made a mental note to try it again once I was settled and that’s exactly what I did. This time around, though, I actually knew what I was doing.
The recipe is very simple and it comes together very quickly. The trick, though, is in the handling of the mold. Since the buñuelos are deep-fried, the secret to using the mold is to have the mold sizzling hot, so keep it submerged in the oil until you are ready to use it. And every time you dunk it in the batter, make sure it’s as hot as it can be. You will hear a distinct sizzle when the hot mold touches the batter, and hold it there for at least 30 seconds, to make sure the batter adheres securely to the mold. Transfer it to the hot oil and after 30 seconds or so, carefully pry fritter off the mold with a rubber spatula. If you let it cook on the mold until completely browned, chances are you won’t be able to pry it off in one piece. Once the fritter is free of the mold, it will brown quickly. After you remove the fritter from the oil, dunk the mold again into the oil and leave it there until you are ready to use it again.
Once you master this little trick, you will be a buñuelo maker pro. Your family will thank you, because these make the best treats. Enjoy and Feliz Navidad!!!
Buñuelos de Molde
3 egg yolks
2 cups whole milk
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
3-4 cups vegetable oil
1 cup granulated sugar
1 ½ Tbsp ground canela
Metal mold with handle
In blender container, combine egg yolks, whole milk, flour and baking powder. Blend until completely smooth. Pour batter into a medium bowl.
In a shallow plate, combine sugar and canela. Mix well and reserve.
In medium tall saucepan, heat vegetable oil until it reaches 370°F. Place metal mold in oil and heat for 5 minutes.
Before you start frying, have a tray lined with paper towels and another tray lined with parchment. Have a silicone spatula and a chopstick ready as well.
To begin frying, remove mold from oil and drain most of the oil. Dip mold into batter only deep enough that the edges of the mold are submerged. Do not submerge the mold totally. You will hear a sizzle from the hot mold.
Remove mold from batter and dunk mold into hot oil. Wait about 10 seconds and start pushing the edges of the dough off the mold with silicone spatula. Once it’s off the mold, cook the buñuelo in the hot oil until it’s golden brown. The whole process takes about 1 minute. Use chopstick to remove buñuelo from hot oil and drain most of the fat off. As soon as the buñuelo is out of the fat, place mold in oil again to keep hot.
Place cooked buñuelo on paper towel to drain for 30 seconds. Immediately place on sugar plate and turn to coat completely with sugar. Place on parchment covered tray and let cool completely. Continue until all batter is done.
Makes 20-36, depending on size of mold
This recipe was first published at www.thelatinkitchen.com