Today is Malassada Day!
Amongst the many labels applied to the day before Lent begins, Malassada Day stems from the same gorge-yourself-crazy spirit of Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, Pancake Tuesday and the like.
Things like sugar and lard were meant to be used up before the fasting of Lent began, and what better way to do this, so the São Miguel islanders thought, than to make copious amounts of delicious, delicious fried dough.
Malasadas1 are basically doughnuts, and hoo boy, are they good when fresh out of the pan!
My grandmother's always made them with a hole in the centre, but apparently the "traditional" way is to simply form a ball of dough, sans hole.
Want to fry up some of your own?
Here's my grandmother's recipe
2 tbsp soft butter
1 tsp salt
12 eggs 1 cup sugar
sliced lemon rind
2 lbs flour (6 cups)
jar of Mazola oil
Put 2 packets of Fleischmann's yeast in 1/2 cup lukewarm water, for about 5 minutes
Stir yeast. Put in a big bowl.
Add everything, except flour, and mix with electric mixer. When soft and blended, add flour and mix by hand.
Let rise for around 4-5 hours.
Take small amounts, shaping them into doughnuts, and carefully putting them in a frying pan, filled with boiling oil.
Let both sides get golden brown (this doesn't take long at all!)
Remove, and coat with sugar.
Oh yes, and consume immediately.
1 Here's some info about Malassadas.
2 Vavo means grandma in Portuguese.
3 Image sourced from this site.