Traditional Borrachuelos Recipe

Borrachuelos are traditional in Gibraltar at Christmas time, they are thin pieces of dough which are fried until crispy and then drenched in syrup. They are lovely and sweet and it is impossible to just have the one. It wouldn’t be Christmas without borrachuelos, put it that way! This recipe is a little different to how many people make borrachuelos (also known elsewhere as ‘pestiños’) because the dough in this recipe is rolled quite thin, making them very light. They are also they are shaped like diamonds whereas many people shape them as squares and curl up the edges, a bit like a bow.

Like many traditional sweets every family has their own version and this particular one has been handed down from my great grandmother, so it has definitely passed the test of time, and is a favourite with everyone in my extended family. This recipe makes about 80-90 individual borrachuelos.

Traditional Borrachuelos Recipe
Yield: 84 Servings
Difficulty: Medium
Cooking time:
Metric
US/Cups

Ingredients

For the dough

  • 150ml mild olive oil or sunflower oil
  • 150ml dry white wine
  • 500g plain flour
  • peel of 1 lemon or orange
  • 2 tbsp anise seeds

For frying

  • 1 litre of sunflower oil

For the syrup

  • 454 g tin of golden syrup
  • 1 tsp water
  • ‘Hundreds & Thousands’ sprinkles

 

For the dough

  • ½ cup + 2 tbsp of mild olive oil or sunflower oil
  • ½ cup + 2 tbsp of dry white wine
  • 4 cups of all purpose flour
  • peel of 1 lemon or orange
  • 2 tbsp anise seeds

For frying

  • 4 cups of sunflower oil

For the syrup

  • 1 lb tin of golden syrup
  • 1 tsp water
  • ‘Hundreds & Thousands’ sprinkles

 

Instructions

  1. Peel the lemon or orange, it is not too important to avoid the pith. A couple of pieces will do.
  2. Heat up the oil for the dough until it gets very hot but not smoking. Add the lemon peel and fry until it stops sizzling and is crispy. This will release all the lemon oils into the frying oil. Remove from the oil, add the anise seeds and remove from the heat. This will infuse the anise flavours into the oil. If you do not have anise seeds, suitable substitutions would be the same amount of fennel seeds or even a few cloves of star anise.
  3. The oil must be allowed to cool completely before it can be used to make the dough. This is very important so this can be made a few hours before, even the day before. This is reflected in the cooking time given.
  4. When the oil has cooled down it needs to be sieved in order to remove the anise seeds. It is important to measure the amount of oil you have left because the recipe calls for the same amount of oil and wine to make the dough.
  5. Add the oil to a bowl and add the wine slowly, whisking it until it forms an emulsion.

    Making the emulsion of oil and wine to make the dough
    The emulsion of oil and wine to make the dough
  6. At this point you can start adding the flour, bit by bit until all of it is added and forms a dough. The dough is not sticky so it won’t stick to your hands and it needs to be elastic, so it needs to be kneaded for about 10-12 minutes.
  7. To test whether the dough is ready you can get a piece, roll it until it is about half a centimetre in thickness and if it doesn’t shrink when stretched when rolled then it is ready. If it shrinks then it needs a few more minutes kneading.
  8. Once the dough is ready you can start rolling it out in batches to about half a centimetre in thickness. Cut into diamond shapes.

    Borrachuelos being cut into diamond shapes
    Borrachuelos being cut into diamond shapes
  9. Heat the oil for frying until it is quite hot and add the diamond shaped pieces of dough into the pan. You can do several at a time.
  10. The dough will puff up and once it goes golden in colour you can remove from the heat and place on a plate or bowl.

    Borrachuelos puffing up when fried
    Borrachuelos puffing up when fried
  11. Once all the diamonds are done, roll out some more dough, cut into diamonds and fry. Repeat until all the dough is used up.

    Borrachuelos once fried
    Borrachuelos once fried
  12. When all the diamond pieces are done you can proceed to drench them in syrup.
  13. Heat the syrup in a pan on a gentle heat and add 1 tsp of water. When the syrup is hot and runny dunk the diamond pieces a few at a time with care into the syrup, turning them round so they are evenly covered.

    Borrachuelos being dunked into syrup
    Borrachuelos being dunked into syrup
  14. Transfer to a serving plate and add sprinkles generously.
  15. Leave to cool (they cool quickly) and they are ready serve.

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