Sopapillas are a fried dessert that puffs into a light pillow shape when placed in hot fat. Eat as you wish - with a compound butter, jam, honey, or sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar, or plain sugar. These are called “little pillows” but the name really means “holding soup”. They are also used as “sop breads” either soaking up liquids in a dish and can be stuffed with foods so they can be eaten without using a knife and fork.
These are traditionally made with lard - something that I still use occasionally in cooking and baking.
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
1 - 3 Tbsp. lard
¾ cup warm water
4 cups of vegetable oil
Sift your dry ingredients into a large bowl; cut in your lard until your mixture resembles cornmeal crumbs making sure the lard is evenly distributed. Add the water - about 1/2 cup at a time, mixing in well using a wooden spoon. You should have a fairly stiff and smooth dough when you are done. Knead gently if needed - until no longer sticky.
Cover your bowl with a clean, dampened towel and allow the dough to rest for 3 minutes.
Heat your oil - your oil needs to be hot - but be careful that it is not too hot. If you have a thermometer - 375* F. is fine.
Sprinkle your work area and rolling pin with just a bit of flour to prevent sticking. Place your dough on your work surface and flatten with your hand a bit; sprinkle with a bit of flour to prevent sticking. Begin rolling and turning your dough to 1/4-inch thickness.
Using a sharp knife, cut into 3-inch squares - reserving the ends because those too will get fried.
Using one of these ends - test your oil. Drop an end in the oil - if it starts to puff immediately when it hits the oil - the oil is ready. Within one minute the dough should turn a deep golden brown; turn and cook the other side until deep golden. Remove from the oil using a mesh strainer or tongs and place on paper towels to drain. Fry 2 to 3 at a time until they are all cooked.
Best served while still hot/warm.
You’ll find that once you make these it’s just like making biscuits!
NOTE: For all you cooks out there - YES - this is also a recipe for homemade tortillas. the difference is in the cooking method.
ADDTIONAL NOTE: Some use warmed milk in place of water - your preference.
ANOTHER NOTE: Handle rather gently - the more you handle the dough during the preparing process - the tougher the dough will be.
ANOTHER NOTE: (BORING YOU YET?) With sopapillas they will either puff or they won’t. It’s the temperature of your oil - too hot or not hot enough will do this. And you may have to hold your sopapilla under the oil to submerge it and have it puff immediately. They may not turn either so you can brown the other side - you may have to coax them.
Keep warm in a preheated 200* oven for up to 1 hour. Reheat in a 350* F. oven for 10 to 15 minutes.