Sonhos Portuguese Doughnuts

Sonhos (Portuguese Doughnuts)

Over the years, I’ve tried a myriad of Christmas desserts, from chocolate cakes to tiramisu, puddings, and pies. One treat I haven’t tried in a long time is Sonhos (Portuguese Doughnuts), from my native Brazil. You find a little fried doughnut, or something similar in most international cuisine, like Beignets in France, Bomboloni in Italy, Berliner in Germany, Churros in Mexico, and Sufganiyot in Israel.

The frying aspect makes for a crispy and satisfying pastry, a small bite of joy. You prepare what is essentially pate-a-choux, then employ the Sonhos trademark: little doughnuts that are light and airy on the inside, crispy and caramelized on the outside. See short video of these babies frying. These sonhos are a revelation when served with chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, jam, or even plain, just coated in cinnamon sugar. The biggest challenge about making these? Not eating them as you do so.

Especially this time of the year, making Sonhos invokes a sense of nostalgia for a time when I used to eat them in Brazil at padarias (bakeries) where they’re sold. In fact, it’s hard to remember the last time I made Sonhos (Portuguese Doughnuts) from scratch. It was probably when I was still living in Brazil, exploring our baking repertoire.

The urge to make them hit me when a client asked me to teach them in a cooking class. She wanted to make them with her family with that in mind: bringing everybody together with fun kitchen projects over the holidays.

Days before printing the recipe, I went to the kitchen to test it out making them with water, with milk, with butter, sonhos without butter, with eggs, and fewer eggs. Man, I love my job.

Moments like these fill my heart with joy as I cook, bake, test, write, style, take photos and videos. Who knew that a whole progression of culinary production would unfold from those pastries? Yes, I take pictures, lots of them, as the art of photographing food and making videos gained a whole new meaning in today’s era of social media.

But the culmination of happiness happens when you cook with others and gather with family in the kitchen over Christmas, bonding over a meal prepared by many hands. This cooking class happened in person. The first since the start of the pandemic. We chopped, braised, assembled, fried, cooked, and cooked some more. Our class was a mix of beautiful recipes and family team collaboration.

Despite covid numbers rising, I’m so glad we did it. As I followed the news, I was afraid they would cancel the class. They were worried I was going to cancel as well. None of us did, which tells me that we all urge for this activity, and for togetherness.

The word Sonhos translates to dreams, the fuel for our souls. Welcome family, welcome memories, welcome friends, and welcome dreams! I don’t know what the future holds for us, for the world, or for the current Covid situation. Who knows what social media will be here 10 years now? All I can say is one thing I know for sure: I am a dreamer and, as long as I’m alive, I’ll keep on dreaming.

 

Sonhos Brazilian Recipe

 

Sonhos (Portuguese Doughnuts)

Makes about 20 doughnuts

 

Ingredients:

For the Batter:

1 cup water

1 stick (115g) unsalted butter

pinch salt

1 tablespoon sugar

1 cup all-purpose flour

3 eggs

 

For the Sugar Coating:

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

½ cup sugar

 

Canola Oil as needed for frying

 

Prepare the Batter: In a saucepan, combine the water, butter, salt, and sugar, and bring to a boil.

Remove the saucepan from the heat, and add the flour, all at once.

Return the saucepan to the stove and stir the mixture with a wooden spoon for approximately 2 minutes over medium heat, to dry out the paste. (You dry it out by moving it from side to side, in the saucepot, with a wooden spoon.)

Pour into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, and beat at low speed, letting the steam escape.

Add the eggs, one at a time, until the batter is nice and smooth. Don’t overbeat it. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Prepare the Coating: In a shallow bowl, mix cinnamon and sugar.

Fry the Sonhos: Fill a medium saucepan with oil to a depth of about 3 inches (about 3 cups) and heat the oil to 350˚F. Using a small ice scream scoop or a small spoon, scoop a few balls and drop them into the hot oil. Work in batches and don’t crowd the pan. Adjust the heat and temperature of the oil as needed. Cook until the sonhos as nicely golden brown all over, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the sonhos directly from the oil to the sugar coating, rolling each in sugar all over. You want to roll them in the sugar while hot so the sugar sticks. Repeat with all the dough. Let them cool for 5 minutes before serving. Serve them with chocolate sauce or caramel sauce.

 

 

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You can buy my cookbooks on Amazon: Latin Superfoods is my latest cookbook, I’m also the author of The Brazilian Kitchen and My Rio de Janeiro: A Cookbook.

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Leticia

Quindim Recipe

Quindim Recipe

Please help me celebrate this milestone for Brazilian cuisine, when Quindim recipe made it to the cover of Food & Wine (issue May 2021), through the writings of Dr. Jessica B.Harris, a historian, journalist, and author of 12 critically acclaimed books documenting the foods the African Diaspora.

I met Dr. Harris at a food conference and when she started to speak fluent Portuguese with me, I flipped out! She loves Brazil, and has written extensively about my country, including the 1992 cookbook Tasting Brazil: Regional Recipes and Reminiscences. It’s hard to explain how wonderful it feels when an American falls in love with your country so deeply that they travel extensively, document their discoveries, and publish their findings.

I remember in the 80’s and 90’s growing up in Brazil, and meeting internationals who adopted Brazil as their new country was absolutely common. That movement had another wave up around 2010, when Brazilian economy was booming, and new oil was discovered on the coast of Rio.

I yearn for the days when Brazilian cuisine will be as popular as Indian, Italian, or Chinese. I can only imagine about a Brazilian cooking revolution that exists in my dreams. Brazilian cookbooks are my legacy and that’s a mission of joy and love. This Quindim recipe embellished the pages of Food & Wine (issue May 2021) and restored my senses and hopes for Brazilian cooking. Thank you, Dr. Jessica Harris! Thank you, Food & Wine magazine!

You can watch a video of this recipe on my YouTube Channel here.

Quindim Recipe at Food &Wine Magazine

 

Quindim

Adapted from Food & Wine May 2021

Recipe by Dr. Jessica B Harris

 

Serves 12

Ingredients:

12 large egg yolks

1 ¾ cups granulated sugar

6 oz frozen unsweetened shredded coconut

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for the greasing muffin

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

2 large egg whites

Hot water as needed

Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Grease a 12-cup standard muffin tin with softened butter and set aside. Using a rubber spatula, press egg yolks through a fine wire mesh strainer into a medium bowl. Set aside.

Stir together sugar, coconut, melted butter and salt in a medium bowl. Gradually add egg yolks in 4 additions, stirring well after each addition. Whisk egg whites in a separate medium bowl until stiff peaks form, 1 to 2 minutes. Fold whites into coconut mixture. Divide coconut mixture evenly among prepared muffin cups (about 1/3 cup each). Place muffin tin in a large sturdy roasting pan. Add hot water to the pan to come halfway up sides of muffin cups. Carefully transfer to preheated oven. Bake until quindims are set and tops are golden brown, 34 to 38 minutes. Carefully remove quindim from the oven. Leave the oven on. Remove the muffin tin from the pan; leave water in the pan and set aside.

Let que quindim cool completely on a wire rack, about 1 hour. During the last 10 minutes of cooling, return roasting pan with water to oven, you’ll use the hot water to help loosed the quindim from the muffin tin.

Remove the pan with water from the oven. Run a small offset spatula around the sides of each quindim to loosen from muffin tin. Carefully dip muffin tin into hot water for 5 seconds to loosen quindim. Invert muffin tin onto a baking sheet and tap on counter to release quindim from tin. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

 

I’m so happy that you visited today. Thanks for reading and browsing my site.

Make sure to share this story with someone who cares about this topic.

I’d love to know what you think about this article. Please send an e-mail.

You can buy my cookbooks on Amazon: Latin Superfoods is my latest cookbook, I’m also the author of The Brazilian Kitchen and My Rio de Janeiro: A cookbook.

Visit my YouTube Chanel @LeticiaMoreinosSchwartz.

The easiest and most impactful thing you can to support is subscribe to my newsletter and to my channel on YouTube.

And of course, tell your friends about it!

I’d love to connect with you on social media

Instagram @LeticiaMoreinosSchwartz,

Twitter @ChefLeticia

Facebook @ChefLeticiaHealthyCooking

Linked In @LeticiaMoreinosSchwartz

See you next time,

Leticia

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