Chilean-style sopaipillas are delicious fried rounds of pumpkin-spiced dough drenched in a brown sugar syrup. They make a delicious autumn breakfast or afternoon snack with coffee. A cousin of Peruvian picarones, sopaipillas are traditionally eaten on rainy winter days in Chile. If you can find chancaca, a type of firm dark brown sugar (a byproduct of sugar cane processing), these will taste even more authentic. Sopaipillas are fantastic with their special syrup, but if you’re short on time, serve them warm with dusting of icing sugar.
- 1 small butternut pumpkin , for baking
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 4 cups flour
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 4 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 cup brown sugar, or grated chancaca
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- ¾ cups water
- 1 teaspoon cloves
- 1 small orange
- Preheat oven to 190°C. Slice the pumpkin in half, and remove seeds (reserve if desired*) and stringy parts. Rub a baking pan with the oil and place the pumpkin halves cut side down in the pan. Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until pumpkin is soft and can be pierced with a fork.
- Scrape pumpkin out of shell and press through a food mill or potato ricer. You will need 1 cup of packed pumpkin.
- Make the syrup: heat 1 cup brown sugar with 1 cup water, the cinnamon sticks and the cloves. Quarter the orange and add to the sugar mixture. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Strain and keep warm.
- Stir the flour, baking powder, baking soda, 2 tablespoons brown sugar and salt in a bowl. Add the melted butter and pumpkin and mix. Add water gradually, 1-2 tablespoons at a time, until smooth dough forms. Knead dough gently until homogenous.
- Roll out dough on floured surface to about ½ centimetre thickness. Let dough relax for about 5 minutes, then cut with a 10 cm diameter round cutter. Prick rounds with a fork several times
- Heat several centimetres of oil in a deep skillet or deep fat fryer to 175°C. Fry sopaipillas in batches, turning once, until golden brown. Drain briefly on paper towels, then dip each sopaipilla in the warm syrup.
- Serve sopaipillas warm, with extra syrup on the side.
Chancaca is a typical Peruvian, Bolivian, and Chilean sweet sauce made of raw unrefined sugar crystallized with honey. It is often flavoured with orange peel and is consumed on sopaipillas or picarones.