Malassadas – Portuguese Doughnuts

Malassada derives from the Portuguese word “mal-assada” which means “under-baked”,  although they are not baked at all! These are deep fried!

Malassada is a Portuguese confection, made of egg-sized balls of yeast dough that are deep-fried in oil and coated with granulated sugar and cinnamon. They were first made by inhabitants of the Madeira islands. Traditional malassadas contain neither holes nor fillings, although some varieties of malassadas are filled with flavoured cream or other fillings.

Malassadas are traditionally made in February for Carnival or Mardi Gras – the day before Ash Wednesday.


2 1/2 lbs. flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
6 eggs
150gr. butter
1 1/2 tbsp. lemon zest
2 cups milk

Sugar and cinnamon mixed together for dusting
Oil for deep frying

To make yeast you need:

1 1/2 tbsp. flour
1/2 tsp. sugar
1 1/2 tbsp. yeast
1 /2 cup warm water


Make the yeast by mixing the dry ingredients together and then adding the warm water. Stir until yeast is dissolved and set aside.

In a saucepan heat milk and butter until butter melts. Remove from heat immediately, do not boil.

In a very large bowl, mix the eggs, salt, lemon zest and sugar. Beat with an electric mixer for 2 to 3  minutes. Add the milk mixture and mix for another minute. Add the yeast and stir by hand.

Add the flour,  knead for about 5 to 10 minutes, until you get a smooth dough. Cover and let rest for about 30 to 45 minutes. Using your hands and starting at the edges of the dough, fold the dough towards the middle until all sides have been brought to the centre. Cover and let rest until double in size.

In a deep fryer, heat the oil take some pieces of the dough stretch it and put into the oil. Fry until golden brown, turning the doughnut with the aid of two forks. Drain on paper towels and dust with sugar and cinnamon while still warm.

You can also fry them in small round balls or in doughnut shape.

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