Malasadas

6 Feb

Malasadas, plain and cinnamon

When I go back to Honolulu, I try to find an excuse to get malasadas. Malasadas are Hawaii’s (by way of Portugal) answer to pączki (pronounced poonchki, for the Polish-challenged), except that you can get them year-round, and not just the day before Lent. And they’re not filled. And they’re more doughy than cake-y. Perhaps it’s more accurate to say that they’re like beignets. Basically, malasadas are doughnuts, but better, because the texture is more like bread; imagine a sweet roll that’s been fried. Doesn’t that sound tasty? In fact, I encourage readers with a fryer in the kitchen to test that out.

The problem with malasadas is that you have to eat them fresh; even an hour or two can be detrimental. Some of the best malasadas I’ve had were at school carnivals, where you could get your malasada fried before your eyes. Opinions vary on the best malasadas in Honolulu, but I usually go to Leonard’s. I’d like to say it’s because of their long history (they’ve been around since 1953, and they’ve got the neon sign — and the staff — to prove it), but really, it’s because they’re only 10 minutes from my parents, so I can drive down, get a box, and drive back before they get cold. In recent years they’ve started bastardizing the malasada with fillings, but honestly, I prefer the traditional ball-of-dough version.

In case you don’t have a Portuguese bakery in your neighborhood, here’s a recipe. Or you can try frying some cinnamon rolls. (Admit it, you’re not using that Fry Daddy for anything else, are you?)

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