A classic starter for large lunches or a quick snack on the street, Sopaipillas are a fried bread with a spongy consistency and neutral flavor making them good for sweet or savory use.
Fried bread might not sound like much, but the bit of cooked pumpkin added to these classic Chilean snacks set them apart. Don’t get them confused with the Mexican version, which usually receive honey. These are generally eat quickly on the go with a helping of spicy aji. Party districts, student neighborhoods and markets abound with Sopaipillas. Surely there are Chilean students who have survived on just them and the frequent piscola as well. Also, Sopaipillas seem to be the perfect absorbent for your stomach after a night on the town.
In winter, they take on a whole new life. When it rains, Chileans are left with an insatiable craving for Sopaipillas pasadas. These are the regular, cooked bread, but that has gotten another round of cooking in Chancaca. This molasses like substance is sweet as can be, and the result is a soft, gooey, warm treat to warm up the soul. It is also proof of how strong the sweet tooth is in Chile.
Now you can change up the recipe as well. Finding fresh pumpkin is a challenge if you are not living in Chile, using other squash can also work. Some will forego the pumpkin, but to us that just threatens the legitimacy of the fried dough. In the south of Chile they tend to use lard, and may switch out the milk for water. This leaves them puffier, and very rich. They key is to play a bit and find what works for you.
|· 1 cup of cooked pumpkin or squash
· 3 Tablespoons of melted shortening
· 1 teaspoon of salt
· 3 cups of flour – or until the dough is elastic and not sticky
· ½ cup of hot milk or hot water
Mash the cooked pumpkin into a creamy mush. In the flower clear out the center and pour the melted shortening along with the milk or water, salt and pumpkin. Mix the ingredients to form a dough that doesn’t stick to the surface with a soft but elastic consistency.
Flatten the dough to about ½ cm and cut circles using a mold or cup. Perforate each piece of dough in several places using a knife or fork.
Heat the oil in a pan or deep fryer to around 375° (190°C). Place 2 or 3 sopaipillas in the hot oil and fry them one minute per side. The sopaipillas should be golden but too dark. Take them from the oil and set them on an absorbent material. Continue with the whole batch.
Serve with pebre, butter, table sauces, mustard or other goodies.