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Buñuelos de calabaza, or fried pumpkins fritters, are shaped like doughnuts and usually served with a generous dusting of sugar. The best ones are piping hot, giving you that satisfying crunch on your first bite, and crescendos in taste if you dip them in a cuppa hot chocolate, too. This is what we Valencians love during the cooler months, especially during our most important annual festival, Las Fallas, which happens in March. This is when you’ll find these pumpkin buñuelos freshly fried up at almost every street food stall and horchatería (café).
But what if you’re not in Valencia? No worries, we’ve got a locally sourced recipe that’s been passed down for generations since 1922.
- 1 kg all-purpose flour, sifted
- 250 g roasted pumpkin puree
- 50 g fresh yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- 500 ml warm water
- Granulated sugar to serve
- Olive-pomace oil for deep-frying
- In a large mixing bowl, mix the yeast with the warm water until it dissolves.
- Gradually add in the sifted flour, stirring with a fork, then add in the salt and pumpkin puree. Continue stirring until it becomes a sticky dough.
- Cover the bowl with a towel and let the dough rest and raise for 30 minutes.
- When ready for frying, pour enough olive-pomace oil 1/2-inch deep into a large, heavy bottomed frying pan and heat.
- To the side, prepare a bowl of warm water to dip your hands in as needed to keep them from sticking to the dough (during the frying process).
- When the oil starts to smoke (which means it has reached the right temperature), scoop up enough dough with one hand, forming a ball, then pass it to the other hand and thumb a small hole in the dough before swiftly dropping it into the hot oil. (Watch the video below to see how the locals do it.)
- Once the fritters are in the oil, use a strainer or long chopstick to move them around and flip them over so each side does not get too brown.
- After a few minutes, remove from oil and place on a plate lined with paper napkin to absorb the oil.
- Once you move them onto a serving plate, dust them with sugar and serve immediately.
- For that extra goodness, serve with a side of hot chocolate, dipping them as you would Spanish churros.
Watch to learn how to perfectly fry your fritters!
“This is a simple recipe with basic ingredients, but the challenge is in mastering the technique to skilfully shape and drop the buñuelos in the scalding hot oil” says Claudia, owner of Bar Biosca — her husband’s grandmother is the originator of the family recipe above. The other secret is the use of the olive-pomace oil (aceite de orujo), which makes them lighter on taste and “easier to digest for our health-conscious customers,” Claudia adds.
Before you let the sweet smell of fried dough lead you to the first buñuelo street stall you see, #localsknow the buñuelos at Bar Biosca are worth seeking out for during Fallas time. Located at the corner of Carrer de Dénia and Carrer de Sueca in the barrio of Russafa (Ruzafa), Bar Biosca is a traditional family-run tapas bar that’s been serving generations of loyal customers since 1922. It started out as a bodega selling beverages, but evolved over the years into a tapas bar, and has always been famous for its homemade buñuelos de calabaza — evident from the many black-and-white family portraits you’ll see hung on the restaurant walls.
Today, fourth-generation owners Claudia and her husband, Javi, carry on this family business with their treasured hand-me-down recipes. They only offer these buñuelos during Las Fallas, when you’ll see the frying station set up on a corner outside the bar, with the lovely buñuelo expert helper, Señora Virginia (who comes only to help out during the hectic festival season), serving up hundreds of piping hot treats to eager customers.
Bar Biosca’s buñuelos are available from March 7 to 19, the last day of Las Fallas. Order some for takeaway (say “Buñuelos para llevar, por favor”) if you cannot get a table during their busy times. Whether you want to try some of their genuinely delicious buñuelos or tapas, come on by and say hola! to Claudia and Javi.
And of course, if you want to explore more local culinary delights, let us take you on our Valencia food tour!
Paella may be the dish that Valencia is most famed for, but if you’re only eating rice when you’re in town, you’re seriously missing out. That’s why we’re taking you deeper into the city’s culinary traditions on this flavour-packed food tour.