This simple, easy recipe is absolutely amazing! Sopapillas, sometimes called cachangas, have been eaten in some places like Chile, since as far back as the 1720s. This version of the perfect little pockets of goodness come to us from New Mexico, where they gained popularity in America that has slowly but steadily spread across the United States. The sopapilla was even one of the state pastries of Texas from 2003 to 2005.
When frying your sopapillas, be sure that the oil is precisely 360 degrees Fahrenheit so they puff up properly. Flip them and let them puff up on both sides. Jeff suggests playing with shapes to see what fries best for you, but he used little squares. If you want to be able to fit some stuff inside, make them a little bigger, but you could just drizzle spices or honey over yours and make them a little smaller like we did. A popular way to eat a sopapilla includes ripping a corner off and then filling it with honey, essentially making a little dough sandwich of tastiness.
Sopapillas can be either sweet or savory, but ours were sweet and topped with plenty of apple pie spice and sugar. Jeff suggests adding the apple pie spice and sugar while the sopapillas are still warm and greasy so the toppings can stick on there better. Our taste testers absolutely loved these and were trying to convince Jeff that he should make more as soon as possible. Some people said they tasted like donuts while others claimed they were reminiscent of a toaster pastry you would make in childhood.
- In a food processor, combine flour, baking powder, sugar and salt and pulse a few times. Add 3 Tbsp vegetable shortening and pulse until the mixture becomes ‘sandy’ in appearance. This can also be done in a large bowl by hands.
- Add the lukewarm water and milk to the food processor and process until dough is smooth and sticks to the dough hooks. If doing this by hand, make a well in the center of the flour mixture, mix with a wooden spoon until you get a ‘shaggy’ dough. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes.
- Cover dough with a damp towel and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. You can also wrap in plastic and use dough the next day.
- Divide dough into 4 equal pieces. Roll each piece to ⅛ inch thickness. Cut into 6 equal pieces. We prefer to roll each piece when ready for use.
- Heat oil in a Dutch Oven or Deep Fryer to 360F. Use a thermometer to check temperature. Add 2-3 pieces of dough to the oil at a time. After a few seconds, the dough will start to puff up. Quickly turn over the sopapilla, as this will aid in puffing up fully. Continue to fry each side for about 2 minutes per side.
- Place hot sopapillas on a cooling rack, on top of a baking sheet. Sprinkle a generous amount of sugar mixture on sopapillas while still hot, so it sticks.
- Serve warm with Honey… or Ice Cream… or both!