This issue’s recipe, in honor of Hanukkah, comes from Ph.D. candidate Hélène Jawhara Piñer of the European Institute for the History and Cultures of Food in Tours, France. Helen writes:
Bimuelos have different names as everybody knows (bimuelos, buñuelos, etc.), but this recipe here is directly related to the Sephardic cuisine and particularly the Sephardic Spanish cuisine. Nowadays, in the south of Spain, Spanish Andalusians (without knowing their Jewish roots perhaps) are used to preparing "borrachuelos" for the holiday winter season and they connect it to Christmas. However, I am almost sure that in fact "bimuelos" are the origin of the "borrachuelos." The only difference is that borrachuelos do not have yeast and include white wine. Another reason could be that when the Jews had to hide, they modified their dishes so as not to arouse suspicion. Let's investigate!”
If you are in the Bordeaux area and wish to hear Hélène in person, she will be giving a talk at the Grande Synagogue on January 17, entitled “Jewish Spanish Recipes of the 12th Century: A Hidden Heritage.”
Vegetable oil (to fry)
20 g (0.8 oz) fresh yeast
177 ml (6.2 oz) warm water
½ orange (to make orange juice, with pulp and zest)
½ tsp kosher salt
1 tbsp white sugar
300 g (11 oz) all-purpose flour
3g (0.2 oz) anise seeds + 3 tbsp olive oil)
2 tsp blossom water
In a pan fry the anise seeds with the olive oil during 30 seconds (be careful, it burn very quickly)
Then add the fresh orange juice with his zest and mix with a spoon during 1 minutes, and then wait until all is cold.
Take ½ of the quantity of water and heat it at 95 °F (just a little hot), and add the yeast. Mix 10 seconds.
In the KitchenAid, mix the flour and the sugar first. Then add the yeast in his water, the food preparation of anise, the blossom water, and the last ½ part of the hot water. Mix slowly 4 minutes.
Let it rise the double (over 3 hours) covering with a kitchen towel. If you let it more (a night) it will be better.
Finally, oil your hand and remove quickly the dough to get the air out. It is sticky.
Heat vegetable oil like sunflower. It needs to but hot but not smoking.
With oiled hand take small piece of dough and make small balls and put them in the oil. Remove the balls all time during 3 minutes. They have to be like gold.
In another pan heat slowly the honey until hot and dip the bimuelos inside. Remove all. They have to be immersed. Then put them in a plate and eat !