The origin of malassadas is believed to be in Portugal, where they are a traditional dessert that is especially popular during Carnival season. The word “malassada” comes from the Portuguese word “mal-assada,” which means “under-cooked” or “badly cooked.” It is said that the name refers to the fact that the dough for the malassadas is cooked quickly in hot oil, resulting in a crispy exterior and a soft, fluffy interior.
Malassadas were brought to the Azores by Portuguese immigrants and have become a beloved treat in the region. From there, malassadas were introduced to other parts of the world with Portuguese communities, such as Hawaii and parts of New England in the United States.
Today, malassadas are enjoyed by people of many different backgrounds and cultures, and they continue to be a popular dessert in many places around the world.
However, here is a popular recipe for Azorean Portuguese malassadas that you can try:
Note the original Portuguese malassadas do not have an oval shape such as the ones you’ll see in the diaspora, Hawaii etc. The shape of an original malassada is rounder and flatter.
- 4 cups of all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup of granulated sugar
- 2 and 1/4 tsp. of active dry yeast
- 1 tsp. of salt
- 3/4 cup of milk
- 3/4 cup of water
- 4 egg yolks
- 1/4 cup of unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- Powdered sugar, for dusting
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, yeast, and salt.
- In a separate bowl, heat the milk and water until it reaches a temperature of about 110°F.
- Pour the warm milk mixture into the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir until a thick dough forms.
- Add the egg yolks and melted butter to the dough and stir until everything is well combined.
- Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and let the dough rise in a warm, draft-free place for 1-2 hours, or until it has doubled in size.
- In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat enough vegetable oil to reach a depth of 2 inches to 375°F.
- Use a cookie scoop or spoon to drop balls of dough into the hot oil, about 3-4 at a time, and fry until they are golden brown on all sides. This should take about 2-3 minutes per batch.
- Use a slotted spoon to remove the malassadas from the oil and place them on a wire rack to cool slightly.
- Dust the malassadas with powdered sugar while they are still warm and serve immediately.
I hope this recipe helps you make delicious malassadas!