Carnaval, or Entroido, here in Santiago de Compestela takes place every February or March and is the week-long celebration leading up to Ash Wednesday. Each year there are local parades with participants dressed in colorful masks and costumes; and the famous burning of the “Meco” doll. Larger cities, such as Cadiz, Tenerife and Sitges are known for their grand and over the top celebrations and costumes! Our favorite part of Carnaval is the delicious baked goods that come out in abundance.
Buñuelos de viento
Buñuelos de viento, or Spanish fritters, is just one of the many famous sweet foods consumed here in Spain during Carnaval. These treats have a long history in Spain and were thought to have been taken to Central and South America when the Spanish migrated to that area; creating many different versions across the world. For instance, in Columbia they are made with curds; in Mexico they are made with anise, deep fried and covered in a brown sugar syrup; and in Puerto Rico you can find some made with grated corn and filled with cheese and ham, then baked. Many believe, in Latin America, that these pastries are a symbol of good luck.
We are sharing the simplest form of this recipe so you can try them at home and get a taste of a Spanish Carnaval. Feel free to get creative and try any variation you like. Sometimes these small donuts are filled with cream or custard for those with a very, very sweet tooth.
If you are feeling extra adventurous, try out our traditional family recipe from the heart of Galicia and use left-over rice pudding. Simply add flour and egg to the rice pudding until you have a dough to then be fried. This is how Vanessa used to enjoy Buñuelos de viento with her grandmother. Happy Carnaval!
- 1 cup of water
- 1 cup of flour
- 3 teaspoons of instant yeast
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 Eggs
- Grated half lemon or orange (optional)
- sunflower oil
- Sugar to coat the fritters
1. In a saucepan add the lemon or orange zest, water, butter, sugar and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally so it does not burn.
2. When the mixture boils, add the flour and yeast in the saucepan and stir until a dough is formed. Let the dough cool.
3. Add an egg and mix well. Repeat this step with each of the eggs until all are blended.
4. Once the dough is mixed with all the eggs, heat the oil in a deep frying pan. The oil needs to be hot, but not smoking. If it too hot the fritters will burn on the outside but not cook thoroughly on the inside. With a tablespoon begin to drop balls of the dough into the oil to fry. (Use another tablespoon to push the dough off into the oil). Once the dough is in the oil it grows a lot, so don’t fry too many balls at once.
5. Once the fritters are in the oil, turn them over with a slotted spoon so that they can cook well on all sides. When golden brown, take out of the oil and place on absorbent paper to remove excess oil. Sprinkle with sugar and serve!