A delicious, decadent dessert, these buñuelos de viento (puffy fried balls in syrup) only take a little time and a few ingredients to make.
I have been receiving requests to add this recipe for a long time, years in fact. It is, after all, one of the traditional dishes of the Dominican Lenten season.
Buñuelos de viento appears all over the Hispanic world; it is a dish that is traditionally served in Spain and other Hispanic countries on Christmas or All Saints Day, depending on the region. In the Dominican Republic, it is consumed during the Lenten season.
While in other countries, it is often seen eaten dusted with sugar and cinnamon powder, Dominicans generally prefer it bathed in a lightly spiced syrup (almíbar). I give you both choices here.
There's a yuca version that to me appears to be more popular in our country, also served during Lent.
Note that the name buñuelo, like everything else in Spanish, is used for several things with little in common between them. Dominican buñuelos de viento are much closer to the Spanish traditional ones.
I assume the reason these are called "de viento" (windy) is that they are air-filled balls, which deflate when eaten. This requires no raising agent, and occurs because the water in the dough quickly turns to water vapor on contact with the hot oil.
About this recipe
Buñuelos is one of those recipes that seem intimidating at first, and then you try it and find out they are quite easy to make. I have not made any changes to the traditional way it's made, aside from offering cinnamon sugar as a serving option.
You will notice that the dough has very little sugar, the reason is that when served with a very sweet syrup, it would be cloying if the dough were also sweet.
If you add any extra ingredients to your buñuelos, please let us know in the comments.
[Recipe + Video] Buñuelos de Viento (Puffy Fried Balls in Syrup)
For the syrup
- 1 cup brown sugar, [200 g]
- 1 cinnamon stick
- A small piece of lime peel, (about ½ inch)
For cinnamon sugar
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon powder
- ¼ cup granulated sugar, [50 g]
For the buñuelos
- 2 medium eggs
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
- ¼ teaspoon lime zest
- ½ cup milk
- 2 oz butter, [55 g or ¼ US stick]
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- ½ cup all-purpose flour, [80 g], sifted
- 3 cups oil for frying
- Making the syrup: Mix sugar, cinnamon, lime zest, and 1 cup of water. Boil over low heat until a third of it has evaporated. Remove from the heat and remove the cinnamon stick and lime peel. Set aside.
- Making cinnamon sugar: Mix sugar and cinnamon until combined. Set aside
To make the buñuelos
- Whisking eggs: Whisk eggs. Sift to remove undissolved parts. Set aside.
- Making the dough: Mix milk, cinnamon, salt, sugar, and lime zest in a saucepan. Heat over medium heat. Add butter. When it breaks a boil, add the flour all at once. Beat vigorously with a wooden spoon until you obtain a smooth dough that doesn't stick to the saucepan. Remove the dough from the heat and let it cool down (about 10 minutes, see notes).
- Adding eggs: Pour ⅓ of the whisked egg into the dough. Mix stirring and folding until the egg is thoroughly combined with the batter. Add the remaining egg in 2 separate parts, making sure the previous portion is well incorporated before adding more egg. Let it rest for 20 minutes.
- Frying: Heat the oil over medium-high heat (300 ºF [150 ºC]). Once the oil is hot, use two table teaspoons, scooping the dough from one teaspoon to the other, form a round(ish) ball, and drop it carefully into the oil. Be mindful that they will double in size, so I found that a ball of dough the size of a large olive turns into a buñuelo about the size of a small lime.Fry them three at a time to prevent the oil from cooling down too much. Cook the balls rotating once they float until they brown all over. Place on a paper towel and let them cool down.
- Serving: Serve immediately bathed in the syrup, or dusted with cinnamon sugar.