There is no denying that in our family Christmas time is all about the food. For instance, this year Chris had in his stocking an assortment of gourmet olive oils and vinegars from O’Leva Oils & Vins. This store opened early last month and is packed with delicious luxuries items such as the black truffle and the walnut olive oils I purchased. The best is that you can try them all before buying. I also had a very special treat in my stocking: butter made by Chris with organic cream! Butter must be one of my favourite ingredients and I am known to put “too much butter” on everything – like that is even possible!
This season, I wanted to incorporate some Portuguese Christmas sweets for Samuel to try for the first time. My initial plan was to make Bolo Rei, Rabanadas/Fatias Douradas (a deep fried version of Canadian’s French Toast), Pumpkin Filhoses, and Sweet Potato Azevias. This was of course way too ambitious and when, at midnight of the 23rd, I was troubleshooting the recipes on Skype with my mom and sister (who were baking the exact same things) I decided to just make the Filhoses and Azevias. The Azevias turned out so delicious that I thought I should share the recipe with you. It takes a bit of work; especially because the dough is so elastic that it is hard to roll but the result is worth it, trust me!
- 500 g flour and extra 100 g kneading
- 1 cup of olive oil (next time I would use ¾ cup) warm
- 5 g salt
- 300 ml water
- juice from one 1 large orange
- cinnamon to taste
- 500 g of sweet potato (about 1 large potato)
- 200 g sugar
- 1 cinnamon stick or a pitch of ground cinnamon
- zest of one lemon
- 100 g roughly grated almonds
- Sugar and cinnamon for dusting
- For the dough, add the salt and warm olive oil to the flour and mix well. Slowly add the water while mixing. Incorporate the orange juice and cinnamon. Knead until the dough is elastic, dry, and smooth. More flour will likely need to be added to reach this consistency.
- Place the dough in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let it rest for at least an hour. Mine was resting for over 24h so I placed it in the fridge.
- For the filling, cook the sweet potatoes with skin on until a fork can easily pierce them (15-20 min). Remove the pot from stove, drain the water and let the potatoes cool a bit before peeling them. Puree the potatoes with a fork. Add the sugar, cinnamon, lemon zest, and almonds. Let it cool.
- Roll the dough on a flat surface to about 2 mm thick (no flour is necessary because the dough has so much oil!). If it is too elastic and difficult to roll, let it rest for another 10-15 min on the flat surface. Cut 10 cm circles and place 1 Tbsp. of filling in the centre of each circle. Dip your fingers in water and wet the edges of the circle. Fold in a half moon shape and with a fork press the edges of the dough.
- Fry in hot oil (sunflower, safflower or grapeseed) until the azevias have a gold colour. You might have to turn them. Once they are fried place them in a plate with paper towels to remove excess oil.
- In the meantime, fill a large plastic bag with sugar and cinnamon and while the azevias are still warm place 3 at a time in the plastic bag to easily dust them with the sugar and cinnamon.
Enjoy! They will not last long!