We are always so happy to have a Friend of 37 Cooks send in a recipe for one of our challenges. Adam also happens to be married to Rebbekkah Fisher, one of our 37 Cooks!
by Adam Fisher
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
4 to 6 Tablespoons lard or vegetable shortening
1 1/4 cups warm milk
In a large bowl, blend together the flour, baking powder and salt. Cut in the lard or shortening with a pastry cutter. Add the milk all at once, and mix the dough quickly with a fork or by hand, until the dough forms a mass. Turn the dough onto a well-floured board and begin to knead the dough by folding it in half, pushing it down, and folding again. It should take about a dozen folds to form a soft dough that is no longer sticky. Cover the dough with a towel or plastic wrap to let it rest for approximately 10 to 15 minutes. Divide the dough in half, keeping the half you are not working with covered with plastic wrap or a towel so it does not dry out.
Roll the dough half you have chosen on a floured board with gentle strokes. Roll the dough to 1/8-inch thickness. The more you work the dough, the tougher your sopapilla will turn out. However, to keep a sopapilla well puffed after cooking, you may want to work the dough a minute or so longer. Cut the dough into rectangles that are about 10 inches by 5 inches. Divide each rectangle into a 5-inch squares, and then cut the squares into triangles. NOTE: If you find that the dough is beginning to dry as you work with the remainder, cover it loosely with some plastic wrap.
Do not attempt to reform and roll the leftover dough scraps. They do not roll out well on the second try. You can cook these dough scraps along with the others, and they taste just as good.
Heat some vegetable oil in a large skillet or a deep fryer until the oil reaches about 400F. Carefully slide the first sopapilla into the hot oil. Submerge the sopapilla under the oil. It should begin to puff immediately.
Using a slotted spoon, turn the sopapilla over to brown the other side. Sometimes this can be difficult, as the sopapilla will want to stay on the side it was on. A little coaxing with your slotted spatula will help this. Hold it for only a moment, and it will adjust to the side it is on. Once both sides are browned (approximately 2 minutes per side), remove the sopapilla to a surface to drain (paper towels or a draining rack will both work). Drizzle with honey or roll the sopapillas in a sugar/cinnamon mixture.
Sopapillas can be kept warm in a 200F oven for up to 1 hour. They refrigerate well and can be reheated in a 350F oven for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.
Makes approximately 2 dozen sopapillas.