Autumn cakes: ‘Bunyols’
Buñuelos (or ‘bunyols’ as they are known on the island), herald the coming of the new season, and the aroma of their cooking welcome the change of seasons, the island dresses in its autumnal clothes and its desserts also change. It is on the 21st October when buñuelos reach their peak of importance, on the day when the ‘Les Verges’ holiday is celebrated, dedicated for many years to young single women.
The sale of buñuelos at street stalls (for example in Sant Miquel street, one of the busiest pedestrian streets), announce the beginning of the ‘Les Verges’ holiday. Few are the people who are able to resist buying some, although it may only be a small quarter kilo bag, just to try them before the day itself, the night of the 20th to 21st when Saint Ursula's day is celebrated.
The Church venerates Saint Ursula on this day, the anniversary of the day when she was slain along with the other ‘Eleven thousand Virgins’, who according to tradition, at the beginning of Christianity, were attacked and slain by barbarians when she and the other women were on their way from Great Britain to Rome. It is believed that this is where the devotion to these martyrs who are revered by young single women on the island even today comes from.
After 150 years the tradition is still going strong, boys serenade the girls at night and they give the boys buñuelos and mistela (a sweet wine from the island).
Buñuelos may be of Arabic origin as may be the ‘orellanes’ (another typical Autumnal dessert). The arabs called them 'bimuelos'. They are made from potato or sweet potato boiled in their skins and mashed and mixed with flour, whisked egg white, yeast and water. They are then deep fried in boiling oil and they are then given their typical shape with the hole in the centre. If they don't have a hole they are not the authentic ‘buñuelos de les verges’. They are later eaten with sugar sprinkled over the top.
If you want to try it at home, here is Cati Rotger's recipe from Cultura Pollensa:
Ingredients for about 22 or 24 donuts:
- 280 grams of boiled potatoes
- 140 grams of flour
- 1 packet of baker's yeast
- Olive oil for frying
- 2 tablespoons warm water
First, minced boiled potatoes in a bowl and then add water, yeast and flour. Next, mix well and let stand, covered with a tea towel in a place with no cold air until the dough has leavened (ie, "high").
Then you have to put oil in a skillet (even a little more than half) and put heat. Meanwhile, threw cold water in another bowl to go mojándonos hands, so that the mass of the dumplings will not stick to your fingers.
We dip fingers in cold water and we take a little dough, the size of a walnut. We hole in the dough while it is in the hand and release gently and carefully into the hot oil.
We repeat this process until the pan is full. When do we begin to brown around and when they are browned on both sides, remove the dumplings and place them on a plate with paper towels to absorb grease.
Repeat until exhausting the mass and, finally, we will push sugar on top. Fritters should be eaten right away, crisp and warm, because if you lose the crisp cool.
Mmmmm.....delicious, you have to try them.
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