Hot-Water Dough

Appears in
Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

  • About

The final group of fried dough products is made from hot-water dough, produced by the addition of flour to a hot liquid, most often water and a fat. This type of fried dough is not as widely distributed as products made from leavened or unleavened dough. Nonetheless, recipes are described in the fifth-century collection of Apicius, indicating that this is an ancient method of making fried dough. Hot-water dough can be either a simple flour paste or enriched by the addition of eggs and butter to form a choux-type dough, as in the case of Italian zeppole di San Giuseppe, certain French beignets, and pets de nonne. Because these doughs are very wet, when they are fried, the outside of the dough forms a hard shell before the interior sets, resulting in a crisp-shelled, open-textured pastry that has given rise to such names as the Spanish buñuelos de viento (“wind doughnuts”). Fried hot-water dough products were common in European texts from the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries, when recipes often called for extruding the wet and sticky dough from a culinary syringe to produce long, thin “syringe fritters.” Modern examples of syringed hot-water-dough fritters are Portuguese farturas, Spanish and Mexican churros, and Turkish tulumba.