Yesterday Michael and I ate our way through this plate of malasadas or “fried dough,” a Hawaiian sweet treat. One of Michael’s fondest memories of growing up in Hawaii is eating malasadas from Leonard’s Bakery. They come plain or fancy, filled or frosted, or Michael’s favorite, rolled in sugar.
I decided to try my hand at making malasadas yesterday. I couldn’t resist putting a little spin on it by filling mine with lemon curd, a decision I did not regret.
While I don’t condone eating the amount of malasadas we ate yesterday, I do highly recommend them as an occasional treat. It’s fried dough, people. You can’t go wrong.
The yeast dough features half and half and eggs for richness. A bit of freshly grated nutmeg is the secret weapon. You’ll find a few recipes for “Leonard’s Malasadas” online. I followed the Food Network version with a few tweaks as suggested by commenters. The dough is a little cakier and less doughy than Michael remembers but, it was obviously very good because that is the only way I can explain the empty platter this morning. My method for making malasadas includes allowing the dough to ferment in the refrigerator overnight. You can make the dough the night before and enjoy hot malasadas in the morning! Malasadas, like most doughnuts, are best enjoyed fresh.
- 2 teaspoon instant yeast
- 1/4 cup warm water (about 80 degrees)
- 1 tablespoon sugar plus 1/3 cup sugar
- 2/3 cup room temperature half and half
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 eggs (well beaten)
- 1/2 cup butter (melted)
- 4 cups unbleached white bread flour
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- Vegetable oil (for frying)
- Sugar for coating
- In a medium bowl, combine the yeast with 1/4 cup lukewarm water and 1 tablespoon of granted sugar. Mix to dissolve the yeast then set aside for 5 minutes. When the yeast gets frothy, about 5-10 minutes, stir in the milk, vanilla, eggs, and melted butter and set aside.
- To the bowl of a stand mixer fixed with a dough hook, add the flour with 1/3 cup sugar, salt, and nutmeg. Turn on the mixer on the lowest setting just to combine. Pour the yeast and milk mixture into the dry ingredients. Mix on the lowest setting for one minute, then an additional two minutes on the next level until a soft, smooth dough forms. Pour 1/2 tablespoon of vegetable oil on a sheet pan or silicone baking mat. Smear it around in a 10 x 8 inch rectangle. Remove the dough from the mixer bowl. It will be wet and sticky, so oil your fingers well before handling the dough to prevent sticking. Gently stretch the dough into a rectangle then fold it back over itself in thirds. Form a ball and cover the dough loosely with plastic wrap over an upside-down bowl. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes them repeat the process of stretching and folding the dough on itself.
- Form the dough in a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. In the morning remove the bowl of dough, set aside to rise in a warm place until double in size, about 1-2 hours.
- With oiled fingers, pinch off pieces about the size golf balls. Place the dough balls on greased baking sheets. Cover loosely with plastic wrap that has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray (Pam). Set aside to rise in a warm place for about 15 minutes.
- In a heavy bottomed, high-sided pot, heat about 3 inches of oil over medium-high until the oil reaches 325 degrees F. Do not heat the oil any higher or the outsides of the dough balls will burn before the centers are cooked. Working in small batches, fry the malasadas until they are uniformly golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes per batch. Drain the malasadas on paper towels just until they are cool enough to handle then roll them in sugar and serve warm.
- You can also use cinnamon sugar, glaze, or fillings of your choice. To fill the malasadas, place the filling in a plastic pastry bag with a medium round tip. Gently push the tip into the side of the dough and push in a small amount of filling.