One of my favorite Chilean recipes that my mother-in-law has taught me is for Sopaipillas and the delicious cinnamon-citrus syrup. Its perfect for those cold and rainy days and we have been seeing lots of those lately!
In Chile they eat a large meal for lunch, and during the dinner hour they eat “once” which translates to “eleven”. It doesn’t mean that you eat at 11:00 pm, it’s actually eaten between 5:00-9:00 pm. You will generally eat freshly baked bread, cake, a sandwich or fruit with some tea or milk. There are a few different ideas as to why its called once, but no one knows for sure how it came to be called once.
If my husband didn’t work so late I would totally adopt this way of eating. I enjoy having the big meal during the lunch hour and having something lite at night. We enjoy eating that way on the weekends – maybe one day!
These Sopaipillas are so delicious and so easy to make and perfect when the cold weather hits. They are basically a fry bread with a yummy homemade syrup. Traditionally, they have a very small amount of squash or pumpkin used in the dough to give it a light orange color, that’s how my mother-in-law’s mom made them. When my mother-in-law came to the US she didn’t know where to find it and she omitted it. She says its flavor is so mild and it was really for color that she doesn’t bother adding it, the sauce is where it’s at with Sopaipillas!
Some people drench the Sopaipillas with the syrup in a bowl, while others put on a small amount like when you eat pancakes – we like it more like pancakes at our house!
You can scroll down to the printable recipe, or you can read on to see step by step how we make them! My mother in law was so kind to allow me to take pictures of her as she made them – so nice to not have to try to make and take the pics as well, much less messy for me!
The dough is super simple to make. You start off with 1/2 cup of warm water. You add 3 tsp of yeast, and 3 tsp of yeast – this will activate the yeast. Cover it with a plate, this will help it to start bubbling up.
While that’s activating you will mix the flour, salt, and you will then cut in the at room temperature butter or shorting. My mother in law says either works, I always use butter though. Set that aside.
Our yeast mixture is all bubbled up, you will add 1 more cup of warm water (equaling a total of 1 1/2 cups of water).
Mix the water mixture and the flour mixture together and knead it into a nice dough. Once that is done you will cover it with a dish towel and allow it to rise. My mother in law always gets a bowl about half the size of your dough bowl and fills it halfway with water. Put the water in the microwave for about two minutes until it is about boiling. CAREFULLY take it out and put the dough over the top of the boiling water bowl. This helps the dough rising to go faster! Allow it to rise for about 30 minutes. While that’s rising we make the syrup!
This syrup takes just a few ingredients, and is super simple to make! That cone looking thing in the bowl is called piloncillo, panela, or chancaca, depending on where you are from. It is basically dark cane sugar. Then you need corn strach, lemon peel, cinnamon sticks, and water.
Put the water, piloncillo, and cinnamon in a saucepan on high.
You want it to start boiling in order to dissolve the piloncillo completely.
In the meantime wash and peel your lemon, set the lemon aside. All you will be using is the lemon peel.
Add the peel to the pan and stir until the piloncillo is completely dissolved.
You will then mix 1/4 cup of cold water with the cornstarch. Once that is nice and mixed you will add it to the saucepan and stir. This will make your syrup thicken up. Turn it to medium and stir for 3-4 minutes while the syrup thickens up. This part of the recipe really depends on each individual. My mother-in-law likes the syrup a bit more watery than I do, so I add 2 TBS rather than the 1 1/2 TBS she does. We like it a bit thicker. Alter it according to your likes 😉 Remove from heat, and using a thin strainer you can strain the syrup so you don’t have small bits of the cinnamon stick or the lemon peel in the syrup. Some people skip this step but my little family likes it strained. Set the syrup aside.
Frying the Sopaipillas
Fill a pot with canola oli for frying. You want to be able to fry up 5-6 at a time, I usually pour in about 3 inches of oil in the pot so that they have room to fry. Turn on the stove to med-high to start the oil heating as you roll out and cut the dough.
Roll out the dough to between 1/4 of an inch to 1/8 inch on a floured surface. My mother in law uses a cup to cut out the Sopaipillas.
It doesn’t have to be perfect, but that’s about the thickness of the dough.
Using your thumb and pointer finger you rub them together making a small hole in the middle – just like a doughnut!
Super simple and quick!
Have all of the Sopaipillas ready to go into the oil. This is so nice when you have someone there helping you – more hands means we get it done in less time!
When the oil is hot, its usually about 5 minutes or so (you can check this by throwing a small piece of dough into the pot to see if it begins to fry or not) you can add in 5 – 6 Sopaipillas to fry. This should just take a minute or two. Halfway through we turn them so they fry evenly.
Once they are fried you remove them from the pot-
and put them in a paper towel lined dish to catch the excess oil. You are ready to eat!
We usually put the sauce in a large bowl in the middle of the table with the Sopaipillas surrounding it, that way everyone can grab a plate and prepare them how they like!
The syrup is slightly sweet and just so delicious!
Its hard to stop eating them, and they are small enough that we think we have only had a few, so we usually eat more than we should 🙂
What’s something you love to eat when the weather is rainy or cold?
Remember to See the Happy!