Searching for Malasadas

One of the wonderful things about flying is that one gets a different perspective on things, from above.  This year, the promise of better weather remains elusive longer than usual, but above the clouds, you realize that it’s always sunny.

On a recent trip to Hawaii, we delighted in one of our favourite, but decadent and not-to-be-eaten-too-often, kind of doughnut:  The Malasada.  A Portuguese icon (mal-assada, meaning under-cooked), this denser version of its sister was introduced to the Hawaiian islands in the late 1800’s by the Portuguese workers who emigrated there to work in their plantations.  Originally a recipe from the islands of Madeira, malasadas are usually eaten during Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday, or more specifically, on the last day of the Carnival of Madeira.

My first bite of a malasada was during my childhood, when my mother had brought home this scrumptious chewy sweet from the local Portuguese grocery store.  It was not until years later, on my trips to Hawaii, that I came across these doughnuts again.  They tasted just like the ones I had eaten when I was growing up.  While regular American doughnuts are ubiquitous, malasadas are rarer to find.  For me, it is the ultimate doughnut treat.

Though Easter has passed, we can still indulge a little in this irresistible and unforgettable dessert, but only a little.  Deep-frying anything is not a good idea, but one can forgive oneself (or convince oneself) for doing so when using this recipe.  So, if you love doughnuts, try my “Madeira-Hawaiian Buttermilk Malasada.”  I think you’ll feel as though you are in Hawaii, or perhaps Portugal.

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