Sopapillas are super yummy, and have been described as “little pillows of heaven” or “air-filled pillows!” I have to concur, thus our first installation for Pillow Foods. This category will feature recipes of foods that can be described as “little pillows of heaven.” Sopapillas originated in Albuquerque, New Mexico over 200 years ago. Not only are these traditionally used as accompaniment to the meal in New Mexico, but one could also use it as a receptacle for refried beans (as a main dish) and smothered in sauce or just eat it as a pillow-y snack in the afternoon, smothered in nectar! Traditionally these are deep-fried, but not being a fan of the deep-fry, I’ve decided to do a light fry (just enough oil to give that golden hint of friedness) – ok, so it may not be the same..but if you’re gonna eat them as regularly as you’ll want to, full submersion into hot oil is not the best choice for your arteries. With that said, I would also advise against not frying at all. Sure, you could make them like a tortilla – in a hot skillet with no oil – but then they would just be a puffy tortilla, not really a sopapilla now would they?! So I think a little oil is better than none…
2 C all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 TBSP shortening
3/4 C water
vegetable/canola oil for frying
1. in a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Using hands (or fork), mix in water to make a smooth dough. Knead lightly on a floured surface – overworking the dough will create a tougher result. Cut dough into 12 pieces, and shape into round balls. Cover, and set aside.
2. Heat a little oil in skillet to 375°F (190°C), or medium-high if you can’t get a reading on a thermometer.
3. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into thin circles. Let dough rest in portions for 30 min. “Fry” (aka sauté) in hot oil, until golden brown, turning when dough puffs, about 1-1.5 minutes each side. Remove, and drain well on paper towels.
*Note: Do not squish to flatten..leave them as pillows!