Crispy, warm buñuelos prepared with homemade tortillas has always been one of my favorite Mexican antojitos (snacks) ever since I was a child. As soon as that hot, crisp tortilla hits that cinnamon and sugar, I have instant memories of the holidays we would spend in Mexico. Even when not visiting family in Mexico, my mom would prepare a big batch of buñuelos for us on New Year’s Eve. It is a great tradition that I still follow to this day. Even us older kids love a fresh, warm buñuelos with a hot cup of Mexican chocolate. For this recipe, I gave it even more of a holiday touch by filling it with a spiced pumpkin filling. This filling is a quick version of the one I use for my empanadas during the holidays. The addition of slightly salty Mexican cheese plays well with the sweetness of the pumpkin and crispy buñuelo. Try this recipe for your next family gathering or office party. Make it a new tradition.
In a sauce pan, add all of the ingredients for the pumpkin filling. Cook at medium/low heat or at a low simmer. Cook stirring often until most of the liquid has been absorbed and pumpkin becomes very thick like a paste. Taste for spices as it cooks down and adjust to your liking. Remove from heat and let cool.
While pumpkin is reducing, prepare the tortillas. Melt the shortening in a medium bowl. Add the water, salt and baking powder. Gradually add the flour a little at a time until dough forms. You want a slightly tacky, but not sticky dough. Roll 10 to 12 dough balls, transfer to a plate and cover loosely with plastic. Roll out tortillas on a lightly floured surface to about 6 inches in diameter. Cook for a few minutes per side on a preheated griddle or comal. Keep them covered with a clean towel as they cook. You may have to adjust the heat slightly so tortillas don’t burn.
When ready to assemble stuffed buñuelos, preheat a large skillet to medium heat. In an 8×8 baking dish, mix the 1/2 cup of sugar with 2 teaspoons of cinnamon and 1/3 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice. Stir to combine and set aside.
Add two to three tortillas to the hot skillet. To each tortilla spread about 2 full tablespoons of pumpkin filling, leaving a 1/2 inch border all the way around. Add a slice of cheese to one side and sprinkle with some of the cinnamon/sugar mixture. When the tortilla is warm enough and softened, fold over like a taco. Brush with melted butter and flip over to brown and crisp.
Once brown and crispy on the one side, brush top side and repeat to brown and crisp the other side. While it’s still warm, dredge it through the cinnamon/sugar mixture to coat completely. I use a small spoon to scoop sugar over the top of buñuelo. Transfer to baking sheet lined with parchment paper while you finish assembling the rest of the buñuelos. To serve, slice in half with a serrated knife.
When cooking the pumpkin filling, you will know it’s thick enough when a wooden spoon will stand on its own in the center of puree. Any pumpkin filling not used can be stored in the freezer for another time. Great for empanadas or on toast!
If you have buñuelos left over, store them on a plate, loosely covered. They will have to be eaten within a day or two.
Prepare a small batch of flour tortilla dough, roll into small balls and keep stored in refrigerator for freshly made tortillas at any meal.