Readers of Garden & Gun magazine named the beignet, that deep-fried, doughnut-like New Orleans concoction, as the Ultimate Southern Food. The beignet laid waste to culinary deities like cornbread, black eyed peas and fried chicken. I think the vote was rigged.
It’s no exaggeration to say that deep fried dough is a dessert staple throughout the South. After all North Carolina is the home of the Krispy Kreme doughnut. And what would the Neshoba County Fair, “Mississippi’s Giant Houseparty,” be without deep-fried, sugary-sweet funnel cake, which actually originates in Pennsylvania Dutch Country but let’s not quibble.
I felt at home last summer when I wandered through the Oh-My-God-gorgeous kitchen of Hacienda Corralejo in the central Mexican state of Guanajuato. Two ladies were frying stacks of doughy pancakes and then sprinkling them in sugar.
You may have seen buñuelos on the menu of imitation Mexican restaurants in the States. I doubt the restaurant buñuelos smacked of the flaky texture and delicate sugar-to-fat poise of these hot-from-the oil treats at Corralejo.
Buñuelos are at their peak when they’re made at home, and they’re relatively easy if you’re willing to stand guard.
Without a good recipe I contacted Lesley Tellez of The Mija Chronicles who referred me to her friend Mely Martínez at Mexico In My Kitchen. Mely has given me permission to provide you with her recipe. BUNUELO RECIPE
Lesley says don’t skip the piloncillo syrup. Piloncillo is unrefined whole cane sugar. How Southern is that! Piloncillo (panela) can be found in Mexican grocery stores, or in the Latin foods section of your supermarket.