Chilean Sopaipillas Pasadas
My family recently adventured to Chile for a short vacation where they enjoyed eating delicious food at every opportunity. Unfortunately, I was unable to join them as I had just recently moved and everything was just a little chaotic. But, I was able to join in the fun of creating a Chilean dinner for Christmas this year!
My mom and sister prepared the bulk of the meal- since they have actually experienced the food and I had not, they felt I was less qualified to prepare the main dishes. So, I got pushed to dessert, which is fine by me! I’d choose dessert any day!
That being said, I actually had a difficult time finding a Chilean dessert recipe that sounded remotely interesting or good. There were also many variations of recipes with the same name which made it hard to choose. I finally narrowed it down and combined recipes from gosouthamerica.com and celtnet.com for Sopaipillas, a fried dough made from squash and served with a dark syrup called Chanaca. I added powdered sugar on top for presentation.
I couldn’t help but think of breakfast food when I took my first bite… I think it was the syrup and slightly sweet and thin pastry that reminded me of a cross between a donut and a crepe and a pancake. Nevertheless, it was quite tasty- even the overstuffed family, recently returned from Chile, approved.
This recipe makes about 8 small servings. They are quite rich, so I prepared them pretty small, but I’ve seen pictures of them larger. Also, I chose to cut the dough in squares with a pizza wheel instead of cutting circles (the traditional way) because it is recommended to not patch or re-roll the dough and I didn’t want to be wasteful!
For the Syrup:
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1 large lemon or orange peel
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 vanilla bean
For the Dough:
- 1 medium butternut squash
- 1 cup flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3-4 cups canola oil, for frying
To Make the Syrup:
- Combine the sugars, water, peel, cinnomon stick, and vanilla bean in a small heavy bottom sauce pan.
- Boil over medium-high heat until reduced to a thick syrup. This will take approximately 20-40 minutes.
To Make the Dough:
- Peel and chop the butternut squash into small cubes, removing the seeds.
- Steam the squash in a steamer basket over boiling water until soft, about 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, pour the oil into a medium pot so it is at least 3 inches deep.
- Heat the oil over high heat until hot while you prepare the dough, approximately 20 minutes.
- Puree the squash in a food processor until very smooth.
- Measure 1 cup of the squash puree for the recipe and if you have leftovers, eat them… yum!
- Mix the butter into the warm squash puree until it is melted and well combined, set aside.
- Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.
- Pour the squash mixture into the flour mixture and stir until it comes together.
- Use your hands to form a dough ball.
- Flatten the dough into a square and roll it out onto a floured work surface to 1/2 inch thick.
- Cut the dough into squares with a pizza cutter.
- Prick each piece in the center with a fork.
- Once the oil is hot, drop 6-10 pieces in at a time, depending on the size of your pastry. You want there to be enough room for each pastry to rise to the surface without being blocked by others.
- Fry for 2-5 minutes, flipping half way through, or until pastries are lightly browned.
- Remove with a slotted spatula to papertowels.
- Arrange the pastries on a plate and drizzle with the syrup.
- Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve right away.