Noe Cano, long time kitchen manager and sous chef at the School, developed this version of the sopaipillas which are standard fare in most traditional New Mexican restaurants. These are so light and fluffy that they just melt in your mouth. The buttermilk causes the sopaipillas to puff up, but the vanilla paste adds a wonderful flavor. You really don’t need the honey and butter that is typically served with sopaipillas.
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoon vegetable shortening
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
canola oil for frying
Combine the flour, salt, baking powder and sugar in a bowl. Cut in the shortening until a coarse meal is formed. Stir in the buttermilk with a fork until the mixture comes together into a moist dough. Form into a ball, knead several times, cover and let the dough rest for 30 minutes.
Heat the oil in a deep pot to 375°. Roll out half of the dough and cut into squares or triangles. Drop the pieces of dough, one by one, into the hot oil and fry until golden, about 30 to 40 seconds, rolling them over to brown on both sides. Roll and cut remaining dough and fry. Drain on paper towels and serve warm with honey or honey butter.
Note: You may substitute 1/4 c. of the white flour for panocha flour, a coarsely ground whole wheat flour, for a richer flavor and more interesting texture.
Red Chile Sauce
¼ cup vegetable oil
½ cup finely diced onion
2 to 3 teaspoons minced garlic
½ cup pure ground medium red chile powder
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (optional)
2-½ cups water
1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
½ teaspoon freshly ground cumin seed
salt to taste