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Friday, May 11, 2012
Sopapillas con Jocote Marañón de Jarabe de Miel
Sopapillas with Cashew Fruit Honey Syrup!
Cashew nut pods are attached to a tasty sweet fruity pseudocarp from a cashew tree. Pseudo carp means false fruit. The cashew seed pot nut is actually the true fruit and the sweet fruit is the cashew tree's lure for animals that eat fruit and then discard the seeds. Each cashew fruit comes with a cashew nut pod attached. The cashew fruit can be red, yellow or orange in color when ripe.
Cashew trees are indigenous to South America. The Tupi native name for the cashew tree and fruit is acajú. Acajú can be translated as "Nut that produces itself." That is a good description of what a cashew fruit looks like. The false fruit hangs from the cashew tree and the nut is attached to the bottom of the fruit.
Guatamala is home to many cashew trees and the fruit is used locally as both a refreshing drink and as a flavor additive in cooking. Fine tasting desserts and dolce preserves are also made with the fruit. Cashew fruit tastes like sweet fruity cashew nuts! Cashew fruit juice mixed with honey is a perfect syrup flavor for South American sopapillas.
Sopapillas originated in South America. The Spanish name sopapilla comes from a word that the Arabic Moors used for describing an oil soaked fried bread. What the Spanish called sopapilla in South America was actually Native South American fried flat cakes of calabaza and maza harina. Native sopapillas are not Spanish or Arabic in origin! Native North American Tribes had similar maize grain fried breads that were like what the Spanish described. In fact nearly every Nativa western culture had a fried bread recipe.
Mexican sopapillas are commonly served as a dessert with honey poured over them. Peruvian sopapillas are served savory or sweet. Many regions of Mexico, Central America and South America serve only savory sopapillas, but occasionally honey drenched sopapillas can be found. Sopapillas can be cooked on a hot dry cooking surface or they can be pan fried.
Modern sopapillas are similar to nixtamal flour Salvadoran papusas. Many modern sopapilla recipes only contain wheat flour. That is to close to a biscuit dough for my own personal comfort! A sopapilla dough should contain a good amount of masa harina for an authentic Nativa flavor. Native sopapillas are made with only masa harina or masa harina and calabaza and any number of regional additives.
The sopapillas for this recipe are made like dessert sopapillas. The dough is a combination of wheat flour and masa harina. This is the same kind of dessert sopapilla that is commonly served in Central America and Mexico. This dessert sopapilla is cooked on a hot dry cast iron pan or on a hot flat stone and it is not fried. The texture is one of a kind and it is not like an American Johnny Cake or flap jack pan cake!
Cashew Fruit Honey Syrup Recipe:
Cashew fruit is available fresh or frozen in hispanic markets!
Pop the cashew nut pod off of 1 cashew fruit and set it aside till later in the recipe.
Trim any dark spots off of the cashew fruit.
Chop the fruit into small pieces.
Place the chopped cashew fruit into a small sauce pot.
Add 1 1/2 cups of water.
Place the pot over medium low/low heat.
Gently simmer the cashew fruit, till the liquid becomes full of the cashew fruit flavor.
Mash the soft cashew fruit in the liquid.
Raise the temperature to medium heat.
Simmer and reduce, till only about 2 ounces of the cashew liquid remains.
Pour the cashew fruit liquid through a fin mesh strainer into a second sauce pot.
Place the sauce pot over medium low heat.
Add 1 tiny pinch of canela. (Central American cinnamon)
Simmer and reduce, till only about 1 1/2 ounces of the cashew fruit juice remains.
Add 2 ounces of honey.
Keep the cashew fruit and honey syrup warm on a stove top.
This recipe makes 3 sopapillas!
Place 2/3 cup of all purpose flour into a mixing bowl.
Add 1/2 cup of masa harina.
Add 2 pinches of sea salt.
Add 1/2 tablespoon of sugar.
Add 1 teaspoon of baking powder.
Add 1 tablespoon of lard. (1 tablespoon of vegetable shortening or vegetable oil can be substituted)
Add a little bit of water at a time, while mixing with the fingers, till a soft pliable dough is formed. (About 3/4 cup of water, more or less)
The dough should be soft, but it should be able to be gathered as a ball. The dough should have the texture of a biscuit dough. Just mix the dough, till it is blended and do not knead the dough!
Use masa harina to lightly dust a countertop.
Place the dough on the floured counter top.
Cut the dough into 3 equal size portions.
Use your hands to roll the dough into 3 ball shapes.
Press the ball shapes flat.
Pat the dough of each sopapilla out with fingertips, till it is between 1/4" thick and 3/8" thick.
Heat a seasoned cast iron skillet over medium/medium low heat.
Brush the skillet lightly with vegetable oil.
Place as many of the sopapillas in the skillet as you can.
Place the reserved cashew nut in the hot pan, so it roasts. Roll the cashew nut in the pan occasionally so it roasts evenly.
Cook the sopapillas till a few brown highlights appear on the bottom half.
Flip the sopapillas.
When a few brown highlights appear on the bottom of the sopapillas, then they are ready!
Sopapillas con Jocote Marañón de Jarabe de Miel:
Place the 3 sopapillas on a plate.
Pour the warm cashew fruit honey syrup over the sopapillas.
Garnish the plate with fluted lime slices.
Place the toasted cashew nut pod next to the lime slices as a garnish.
Sweet cashew fruit flavored honey syrup and sopapillas is a very nice tasting dessert! The cashew fruit has a complex sweet cashew flavor. The tiny amount of canela compliments the cashew fruit flavor in a nice way. For a very simple list of ingredients, this dessert has a very nice exotic tasting flavor! Yum! ... Shawna