Sopapillas are pretty much the state bird of New Mexico, and occasionally you will see them in Texas restaurants, although it’s pretty rare. I have never seen sopapillas anywhere in Latin America, but I hear they are made in Sonora, the northernmost Mexican state that borders New Mexico.
There is also fry bread, which is popular in New Mexico as well. Fry bread was developed by American indigenous tribes that had received US government allotted rations in the 1800’s when the tribes were relocated to reservations. Wheat flour had never existed in the Americas before the Spanish and English arrived, and indigenous groups that were sequestered on reservations had to make the best of what they were given.
Both sopapillas and fry bread are a basic wheat dough, with fry bread made in larger pieces, and sopapillas cut into triangles. Both can be served as a sweet topped with sugar and honey, or with savory dishes for sopping up saucy stews and making tacos.
Even though we are in the middle of hot July weather, I just can’t resist cooking. But a can of biscuit dough in the fridge gave me the idea to make some quick sweet sopapillas. These take all of 10 minutes, and I practically ate the entire batch by myself.
The honey sauce is the key magic to this recipe. Half chardonnay, half honey with a heavy pinch of cinnamon, the airy pockets of sopapillas are great pillowy scoops for this delectable sauce. The berries add a nice fresh super food touch as well, but don’t over-convince yourself that you’re are doing yourself a healthy solid by making this dessert. It’s still fried dough with syrup.
Oh, but I love these! Fried dough is good for my soul, which is way more important than my pants size.
P.S. the word sopapilla comes from the Mozarabic word for “soaking-up”, which is the same root for the Spanish word sopa, and English words soup and sop. Sopapillas are our version of French beignets.
One 16.3 can of refrigerated biscuits (8ct)
Flour for coating the rolling surface
2 cups of vegetable oil for frying
2 tbsp. powdered sugar for topping
Cinnamon Chardonnay Honey:
1/2 cup chardonnay white wine
1/2 cup honey
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 peach, sliced
1/4 cup fresh raspberries
1/4 cup fresh blackberries
Open the can of biscuits and separate into individual pieces. Dust a flat surface with the flour, and roll out into circles of 1/8″ thickness.
Heat the vegetable oil to 350°F/176°C. Cut the circles into quarters, and fry in the vegetable oil for until golden brown, about 20 seconds on each side. Using tongs, remove the sopapillas from the vegetable oil, and drain on paper toweling.
To make the honey sauce, place the honey, chardonnay and cinnamon in a microwavable bowl, and heat in the microwave for 20 seconds. Remove from the microwave, and stir once or twice.
Dust the warm sopapillas with powdered sugar, and serve with the honey sauce, peaches and berries.
Substitute any fruit you like!
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