One of the best (and, of course, sometimes the worst) things about travel is food. Whenever I visit New Mexico, I always look forward to eating sopaipillas, which are made from puffed fried dough, and often stuffed or, more commonly, eaten with honey. You just start tearing off pieces and drenching them with honey. A sopaipilla with honey is one of my favorite things to eat.
I know, of course, that’s it possible to find sopaipillas outside New Mexico. I’ve even found them in Portland on occasion. The difference in New Mexico is that they are served everywhere.
It is a happy moment when a basket of hot sopaipillas is set in front of you, and you grab a sopaipilla with one hand and the honey dispenser with the other. When there’s only one sopaipilla left and more than one person at the table, some serious negotiating skills are required to make that sopaipilla yours!
You get two New Mexicans in a room, and more than likely an “argument” will break out over which restaurant in a particular location has the best sopaipillas. (The sopaipillas in the photo are from Tia Sophia’s, a restaurant in Santa Fe.) People are fiercely loyal to their favorite places.
Sopaipillas are not that difficult to make, and when you live outside New Mexico, sometimes you just have to make them for yourself. We often make them when we have people over for dinner, and we make a sopaipilla assembly line.
–Mix 4 cups of flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, and 1 teaspoon salt in a large mixing bowl
–Work in 4 tablespoons of shortening
–Add 1-1/2 cups of lukewarm water. Mix until smooth
–Cover and let stand for 20 minutes
–Roll out on floured board to 1/8-inch
–Cut into squares or triangles that are 3-4 inches in size
–Fry in hot oil (350-375 degrees) until golden brown on both sides, turning once.