Chilean-style sopapillas are fried rounds of pumpkin-spiced dough drenched in a brown sugar syrup.
They make a delicious fall breakfast or afternoon snack with coffee. Sopapillas, a cousin of Peruvian picarones, are traditionally eaten on rainy winter days in Chile.
If you can find chancaca, a type of firm dark brown sugar, which is a byproduct of sugar cane processing, these will taste even more authentic. These sopapillas are authentic with their special syrup, but if you're short on time, serve them warm with a dusting of powdered sugar.
- For the Sopapillas:
- 1 small sugar pumpkin
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 4 cups flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 4 tablespoons butter (melted)
- 1 bottle vegetable oil for frying
- For the Syrup:
- 1 cup dark brown sugar (or grated chancaca)
- 3/4 cup water
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 teaspoon cloves
- 1 small orange
Bake the Pumpkin
- Slice the pumpkin in half and remove the seeds and stringy parts. Reserve the seeds if desired for roasting.
- Rub a baking pan with the vegetable oil and place the pumpkin halves cut-side down in the pan.
- Bake for 40 to 50 minutes at 375 F. or until the pumpkin is soft and can be pierced with a fork.
- Scrape the pumpkin out of the shell and press through a food mill or potato ricer. You will need 1 cup of packed pumpkin.
Make the Sopapillas
- Stir the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar in a bowl.
- Add the melted butter and pumpkin and mix.
- Add water gradually, 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time, until the dough is smooth.
- Knead the dough gently until well-mixed.
- Roll out the dough on floured surface to a thickness of about 1/4 inch.
- Let the dough rest for about 5 minutes, then cut out pieces with a 4-inch round cutter and prick the rounds with a fork several times.
- Heat several inches of oil in a deep skillet or deep-fat fryer to 350 F.
- Fry the sopapillas in batches, turning once, until golden brown. Drain briefly on paper towels.
Make the Syrup
- Heat 1 cup brown sugar with 3/4 cup water, the cinnamon sticks and cloves.
- Quarter the orange and add to the sugar mixture.
- Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Strain and keep warm.
Serve the Sopapillas
- Serve the sopapillas warm, dipped in the syrup, with extra syrup on the side, as desired.
Roast the Seeds If Desired
The seeds make a great snack, and you can roast them simultaneously with the pumpkin. Wash and dry the seeds and toss them in the baking pan with the pumpkin. Check frequently and remove the seeds when they are golden brown -- the seeds will roast more quickly than the pumpkin. Toss the seeds with salt and store in an airtight container.