Catholic Recipe: Bunuelous
Also Called: Fried Cakes
Bunuelos are the big crisp fried cakes that Mexicans have for Christmas Eve supper. They are eaten either plain, with cinnamon and brown sugar syrup, or sometimes with honey. But before supper there is the traditional Misa de Gallo, or Mass of the Cock, at the village church. And for nine consecutive nights before that, there are the posadas to commemorate the journey of Mary and Joseph from Nazareth to Bethlehem and their search for lodgings.
In the midst of the happy tumult families hurry home to the Christmas Eve supper. For the poor there are special holiday foods such as tonightbean soup, revoltijo, a traditional dish made with shrimp, potatoes, chili, and prickly pears, and a salad of nuts and fruits. Then come the bunuelos, the festal fried cakes that are puffed, brown, and delicious.
Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Beat eggs with milk and add to the dry ingredients. Add melted butter and mix together thoroughly. Turn on floured board and knead until smooth. Divide dough into balls about the size of English walnuts and brush with melted shortening. Cover and let stand for 20 minutes. Flatten each ball with floured palm of hand. Fry bunuelos in deep fat until they puff up and are golden brown.
Frying Directions: Fill deep frying skillet one-half to two-thirds full of vegetable shortening. Heat the shortening slowly to 365°-370° F. If you have no thermometer, test temperature with 1-inch bread cube. When the cube browns in 2 minutes, temperature is approximately correct.
Roll out dough thinly, a small quantity at a time, on lightly floured board. Cut into diamond shapes that measure 5 by 2 inches. In the center of each diamond cut a 2-inch lengthwise slit. Pull one end through the slit and press down slightly. Fry as many pieces of dough at one time as will float, without crowding, on top of the fat. Fry 1-2 minutes, or until golden brown. Lift the frying basket from the pan and drain cakes on paper toweling. Put confectioners' sugar in a paper bag. When cakes are thoroughly drained, shake them in the bag. When cool store in airtight tins.Recipe Source: Feast-Day Cakes from Many Lands by Dorothy Gladys Spicer, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1960