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Buñuelos: A Christmas Favorite from 1881 to 1998

December 16, 2013

by Ellen Lutz

Since I was going to be using oil for frying, I decided to make two different varieties of buñuelos and just make ¼ batch of each. I started with the milk buñuelos, since that recipe had fewer ingredients.

I used anise seeds instead of ground anise and just guessed at the amount to use. The batter was very thin and the first batch I fried looked more like mini funnel cakes, so I added a little more flour to thicken the batter a bit before frying the rest.  The resulting buñuelos were still a bit odd-shaped, but did not seem as greasy as the first ones. Since the recipe did not specify what type of syrup to pour on top, I prepared a simple syrup of sugar and water. There was just a hint of the anise flavor, but I was glad that it did not end up being  overpowering.

La Cocinera Poblana : y El Libro de las Familias: Novisimo Manual Práctico de Cocina Española, Francesa, Inglesa y Mexicana, Higiene y Economía Doméstica. Puebla [México] : Tip. de N. Bassols, dirigida por J. Romero, 1881. 2a ed., corregida y aumentada. [TX725 .C635 1881]

Milk Buñuelos Ingredients

Milk Buñuelos Ingredients

1,612. Buñuelos de leche (120)

A una libra de harina una taza de leche, ocho huevos, solo dos con claras, una taze de mantequilla derretida, un poco de anís molido y una poquita de sal; se amasa y se frien los buñuelos; su miel por encima.

Milk Buñuelos Batter

Milk Buñuelos Batter

1,612. Milk Buñuelos (120)

To a pound of flour, add a cup of milk, eight eggs, two egg whites, a cup of melted butter, a little ground anise, and a little salt. Make the dough and fry the buñuelos. Pour syrup on top.

Milk Buñuelos Frying

Milk Buñuelos Frying

To start preparing for the buñuelos de Pascua Navideña, I took one fresh lime and used a zester to take of most of the peel in strips, which I then chopped with a knife to make them fine. I also chipped the pine nuts (the ones I bought were already peeled), used the whisk beater on my hand mixer to beat the egg whites, and stirred together the flour, baking powder, and white sugar. (The sugar was in the list of ingredients, but not mentioned in the preparation, so I decided to include it with the other dry ingredients.) I beat the egg yolks, then added the lime zest.

I started alternating the flour mixture, egg whites and pine nuts and mixing with my electric mixer, but the dough was so thick that even on the lowest speed, the mixer was spitting pieces of dough out of the bowl, so I switched to a wooden spoon for mixing and actually ended up using my hand to incorporate all the ingredients. There was a huge difference in the consistency of the dough/batter between this buñuelos and the milk ones. With this recipe, I ended up rolling balls of dough to fry.

Verti, Sebastián. El Libro Clásico de la Navidad en México (México, D.F. : Editorial Diana, 1998). [GT4987 .V47 1998]

Buñuelos de Leche (top) and Buñuelos de Pascua Navideña (bottom).

Buñuelos de Pascua Navideña Ingredients

Buñuelos de Pascua Navideña (202)

2 ¼ tazas de harina, cernida tres veces
2 tazas de piñones pelados y picados muy finamente
4 cucharadas de azúcar blanca
2 cucharaditas de ralladura de limón verde
1 cucharadita de polvo para hornear
4 yemas de huevo fresco
4 claras de huevo, batidas a punto de turrón
Aceite abundante para freír

Pine Nuts for Buñuelos de Pascua Navideña

Pine Nuts for Buñuelos de Pascua Navideña

Bata las yemas hasta que esponjen. Agregue la ralladura, la harina (previamente cernida con el polvo de hornear, alternándola con las claras y los piñones). Deje de batir e incorpore. Debe quedar una pasta muy espesa. Si la pasta queda muy suelta, añada un poco más de harina.

Vierta en un sartén bastante aceite, y cunado esté caliente, tome cucharadas de pasta y fríalas a fuego lento, procurando cubrirlas con el aceite para que se esponjen.

Escurra la grasa y espolvoree con azúcar glass (azúcar impalpable).

Sírvalos calientes o fríos.

Buñuelos de Pascua Navideña Dough

Buñuelos de Pascua Navideña Dough

Buñuelos de Pascua Navideña (202)

2 ½ cups flour, sifted three times
2 cups pine nuts, peeled and finely chopped
4 tablespoons white sugar
2 teaspoons lime zest
1 teaspoon baking powder
4 egg yolks, fresh
4 egg whites, beaten until stiff
Plenty of oil for deep frying

Buñuelos de Pascua Navideña Frying

Buñuelos de Pascua Navideña Frying

Beat egg yolks until fluffy. Add zest, flour (previously sifted with baking powder), alternating with egg whites and pine nuts. Stop beating and gently stir to incorporate. This should be a very thick paste. If it is too thin, add a little more flour.

Pour sufficient oil into a frying pan and when it is hot, fry spoon-fulls of batter over low heat, making sure to coat them with oil so that they puff up.

Drain the fat and sprinkle with icing sugar (powdered sugar).

Serve hot or cold.

This was my first attempt at making buñelos and I was fairly pleased with the outcome. I liked both the texture and the flavor of the buñuelos de Pascua Navideña better than the milk buñuelos.

Milk Buñuelos (top) and Buñuelos de Pascua Navideña (bottom)

Milk Buñuelos (top) and Buñuelos de Pascua Navideña (bottom)

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