Friday, September 16, 2011

Sopaipillas: Chilean for delicious!

Upon seeing this image you may be asking yourself a few questions:  What is that? How do you pronounce it? And where can I get it? Here are your answers in the same order. These clouds of deliciousness are Chilean styled sopaipillas which are kind of like fried doughnuts made from squash or pumpkin (this may sound odd, but trust me the combination is genius!). It is pronounced so-pie-pee-as.  And you can get them from your own kitchen, if you follow my recipe below.

I made these yesterday in honor of Chilean Independence Day which is this Sunday, September 18th.  Sopaipillas are a pretty traditional Chilean dish normally prepared on cold or rainy days and certainly whenever pumpkins are in season (so a perfect fall dish in other words).  Before you make this recipe, be forewarned: sopaipillas are not figure friendly.  Do not try to convince  yourself that because there's a vegetable in it, that these are in some way good for you.  Furthermore, you will be tempted to eat around 30 of these before they make it to the table.

On to the recipe!

You will need:

  • 1 butternut squash (in Chile they use a squash called zapallo but that's pretty hard to find in the U.S. You can also use pumpkin for this but NOT the pumpkin that comes in a can!)
  • 1/4 cup of melted butter 
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 6 cups of flour + more for rolling
  • vegetable, corn, or canola oil for frying
  • confectioner's sugar, cinnamon, or your favorite jam to serve

1.  Peel the butternut squash and chop it into small cubes. Remember that the smaller you chop them, the faster they will cook. Your squash should look like this:


2.  Put the cubed squash into a pan and add just enough water to cover them.  Cook the squash until you can pierce it easily with a fork.
3.  Drain the cooked squash in a colander and allow it to cool for a few minutes.
4.  In the meantime, melt the butter and set aside.
5.  Once the squash has cooled slightly, mash with a potato masher. It will look like this:

6.  Add melted butter, salt, baking powder and flour.  DO NOT dump all the flour in. Add the flour in cup by cup. If you see that your dough is so wet that you can not roll it, add more flour.  You may need less than six cups, you may need more. Use your judgement.
7.  Once you feel the dough is ready, turn it out onto a flat surface and roll it out into about 1/2 inch thickness.
8.  Once the dough is rolled out, use a cup to cut out little discs and pierce the discs a few times with a fork.  It will look like this:

9.  Heat the vegetable, corn, or canola oil on medium high heat. Once the oil is hot CAREFULLY place the discs inside the oil. Don't crowd the pan. If there are too many, not only will they stick to each other, but the temperature of the oil will drop and your sopaipillas will just end up soaking up more oil.  Have a plate with a paper towel waiting nearby.  These babies fry really quickly.  When you see the edges of the sopaipilla get a little golden, flip and fry the other side.  Once both sides are golden yellow, place the hot sopaipilla on the paper towel to absorb any excess oil.
10.  While the sopaipillas are on the paper towel, dust them with as much confectioners sugar as you like. It is important to do this right away so that the sugar can stick to them.
11.  Serve with an extra dusting of sugar, cinnamon, or your favorite jam and a cup of coffee.

Buen provecho y feliz dia de independencia!

(Photos: Kiana @ The Barcelona Story)


  1. Um, these look amazing. I just took a bite out of my monitor.

  2. I can NOT wait to try this recipe! miss u!

  3. Fantastic photos. The colors really pop and inspire.

  4. @no other way: The most popular jams in Chile are mora (blackberry) or membrillo (quince) but I love these with strawberry or raspberry jam as well.