Christmas is my favourite time of the year. It's such a magical, festive time and the other half and I love it! We both grew up in Christmas loving houses, although it is fair to say Mexicans are a bit mad for Christmas. My mam likes her Christmas decorations up for her birthday, which is in November 22nd, and traditionally, we do not take Christmas decorations down until Dia de la Candelaria (Candlemas Day) in February the 2nd, so we do get some wear out of our Christmas decorations, so when I moved to Ireland, I found all this lark of waiting till December the 8th to put the Christmas Tree really shocking! Eventually we came to a compromise and now we decorate the house on the last Sunday of November and turn the lights up on the first day of December.
Christmas is huge in the social & religious calendar of a Mexican: we have posadas (9 days of street parties leading up to Christmas Eve). We hold our big Christmas family dinner on Christmas Eve and, in the North part of Mexico, Santa arrives sometime in the early hours of Christmas Day, so kids go to bed on Christmas Eve all excited! January the 6th sees toys arriving in many parts of central Mexico, but for us in the North, we welcome The Three Kings (Wise men), with incredibly stretched socks that we hang at the bottom of our beds the night before and that magically appear full of sweets in the morning!
We then cut our Rosca de Reyes (King's bread) which is a deliciously sweet, ring-shaped bread with crystalised & candied fruit that has little monos (dolls) hiding inside. Each person chooses to cut a piece from the rosca to eat, if inside the slice you cut you find a doll, you and your fellow doll finders will have to throw a party on Candlemas Day for everybody, which should include tamales and hot chocolate. So as you can see, Christmas and its consequent celebrations are food heavy. Throughout all this partying and eating there is one particular sweet dish that creeps up into every Christmas related celebration in Mexico: Buñuelos.
Buñuelos are a sweet tortilla traditionally made by hand and eaten during Christmas and new year celebrations. They are delicious and every time I have them, they bring me back to those Christmases long gone as a child. Making Buñuelos is an art by itself and quite laborious, but I found a cheat way to make them and when my Mexican friends have them, very few can tell the difference, I think it is because we haven't had them in such a long time that just to hold one in your hand gives you goosebumps! Enjoy my lazy take on the traditional Buñuelos!
Heat the oil in a deep, heavy pan (preferably non-stick) at medium to high heat. You'll need the oil pretty hot, but be careful not to heat it too much as it might burn and smoke.
While the oil heat, mix the sugars and cinnamon in a bowl that is big enough to fit a whole tortilla flat.
With a fork, prick every tortilla a few times randomly in several places, this will avoid tortillas bubbling up too much when they are fried. I find if I forget to prick them, there is a higher risk of hot oil splashing in my hands when I try to flat them inside the oil.
Once the oil is really hot, drop one of the tortillas gently using a fork and an egg lifter. Keep it flat on the pan for about 40 seconds, then turn the tortilla, which by now should be golden brown on that side and fry it for further 40 to 60 seconds on the other side. The aim is to have a crispy, golden brown wrap. Using your fork and egg lifter, take the fried tortilla out of the oil, holding it a few seconds over the pan to allow any excess oil to drip back into the pan.
Carefully drop the fried tortilla into the cinnamon sugar while it is still hot and with a spoon, pour sugar on both sides of it. Every bit of the fried tortilla must be covered with the golden sugar in order to become a buñuelo. Transfer carefully to a dish and leave it to cool while you move on to do the next wrap. You can pile them up on top of each other until you finish them all.
Your buñuelos are ready to eat! Serve them at room temperature with some hot chocolate. They are delicious! They keep well in an air tight container for up to two days.