Monday, 20 February 2012

Double A-side - Malasadas and cinnamon syrup

 
"When it´s all said and done,two heads together can be better than one"
"Pillow talk"

So you can flip all you like, but since my last posting I have found a heavenly double A-side recipe for a unique type of pancake that originated in Madeira. A Portuguese doughnut traditionally eaten on Mardi Gras,Shrove Tuesday (or "Fat" Tuesday,) for which it is both a delicious treat and an efficient way to use up lard and sugar, rich foods that are traditionally avoided during Lent. Food travels and so the Portuguese immigrants that came from Madeira would have brought with them their traditional foods. One of the things would have been this yeasted fried dough-pastry called Malasada. These days in other parts of the world it is also known as Portuguese Doughnut.
Discovering this recipe has made me decide that I prefer my pancakes dropped; that’s the way I am having them this year, and even though I’ve finally mastered the art of flipping, I have to tell you, but there’s only one way I want my pancakes – dropped!That is, pancakes where the batter is dropped into hot oil,fried, then liberally drizzled with homemade syrup flavoured with cinnamon or vanilla.
We’re talking here about pancakes that are pillowy soft, light, airy, and wonderfully fragrant with the yeast, warm to the touch. You take one, swirl it in the little pool of syrup at the bottom of your bowl or plate, take a bite, douse the other half, bite-side down into the syrup, getting it into all the airy pockets…  close your eyes and feel the warm syrup squirt all over your mouth as you bite down and chew. You want to open your eyes as you finish that one, going for another but you ask, “Must I open my eyes and break this spell?”- "I´m going in" as Nigella would say.
In a bizarre twist of culinary fate, the malasada is now also a Hawaiian specialty, having been made so popular by Azorean immigrants to those islands,so much so that Mardi Gras there is now known as Malasada Day.

Malasadas

Oil for deep frying
6 cups flour
6 medium to large eggs
1 1/2 cups whole milk
3/4 cup sugar plus one teaspoon
1/2 cup of whipping cream
1/4 cup of melted butter
1/4 cup of warm water (approximately 110 degrees)
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 sachet dry yeast (1/4 ounce size)
The coatings: plain sugar, or a mixture of sugar, nutmeg, and cinnamon


Combine the yeast together with a quarter cup of warm water in a small mixing bowl and  set aside.  With the electric mixer and the beater attachments firmly in place, beat the  eggs on medium to fast speed in a large bowl without the oil coating until they are thick and fluffy.  Now, change the mixer’s attachment to the dough mixer, or the dough hook as it is sometimes called, and then add the yeast mixture from the small bowl, the melted butter,sugar, milk, whipping cream, and the teaspoon of salt, or “a pinch,” if you prefer.
Begin mixing all of the ingredients and then slowly adding the flour, one cup at a time, until the dough starts to softly form into a large ball.Put the dough ball into a bowl coated with oil and tightly cover with plastic wrap, adding a kitchen towel or two to the top for extra warmth if you’d like to speed up the process a bit, while allowing the dough to double in size and shape, which usually takes a little more than one hour before reaching the right size.
While the dough is busy rising in the bowl, begin heating the oil in a pan or deep fryer ountil it reaches a temperature of 350 degrees.  Using a deep fryer is a bit more convenient as it easily allows you to see the temperature of the oil, and gives you the ability to set it to stay there while cooking the malasadas.  They also can be safer to use, as they come equipped with a basket for raising and lowering the food into the hot oil to help eliminate the risk of burns from the oil splattering.
After the dough has risen, scatter flour on a flat, even surface to make rolling the dough easier, aiming for a thickness of about a quarter of an inch or so, and then using a sharp knife, cut into one-inch sized square pieces.  Drop the pieces of dough squares into the heated oil for about three minutes, or when they become a golden brown color, or actually anywhere from two to four minutes depending on your personal preferences.  While the malasadas are frying in oil, stir often to avoid them becoming stuck to one another or getting uneven spots of brown.
If you aren’t using a deep frying with a basket attached, remove the malasadas with a slotted spoon to help the excess oil drain away before placing on a few paper towels.  Before the pastries become cool, roll them in the remaining white sugar, then serve while warm and enjoy.Drizzle with cinnamon syrup and then make more.

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