When my kids were young, the evening before Thanksgiving was a night of spaghetti and bolognese sauce, mainly because it was simple and easy. But THEN my daughters discovered wine as they grew up, and spaghetti just didn’t cut it anymore. That’s when we moved on to An Evening of Tapas. After sampling tapas in San Diego, San Francisco, and, later, Spain, there was no turning back. All those little morsels and bites were perfect for our new pre-Thanksgiving tradition.

So this year we’ll nosh on lamb lollipops, tortilla with a spicy Spanish chorizo, croquetas, along with some sherry and Spanish cava. An addition this year is bunuelos, a cheesy and savory puff which is so easy to make. (Mexican Bunuelos are a different beast). Bunuelos use the same type of dough as French choux pastry, and when cheese is added, manchego for Spanish bunuelos and gruyere for French gougeres, they make a delicious little bite of cheesiness!  The classic pate de choux pastry, minus the cheese, is the same dough used for sweet cream puffs or  profiteroles. So many uses!

Following is the recipe I use for my bunuelos:

(Makes about 20 bite-size puffs)

1/4 cup butter, diced

1/4 tsp. salt

1 cup water

1 cup flour, sifted onto wax paper or parchment

2 whole eggs plus 1 egg yolk, cracked into one bowl

1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

3/4 cup finely grated manchego cheese

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place butter and salt in small pan, then add the water. Bring the liquid to a boil.
  • Working quickly, tip the flour into the pan of boiling liquid in one go and stir it in immediately. Beat the mixture VIGOROUSLY with a wooden spoon, 1/2 minute to 1 minute, until it forms a thick paste that binds together and leaves the sides of the pan clean. Remove the pan from the heat.
  • Gradually beat the eggs and yolk into the mixture, once again beating VIGOROUSLY, until thoroughly incorporated. Then add the mustard, cayenne, and cheese and mix until blended.
  • Please teaspoonfuls of mixture onto parchment paper on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, THEN lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue cooking for 15 minutes or until well browned. May be served hot or cold.

If you want to make them ahead, they can be baked, then frozen for up to one week. The dough can also keep in the refrigerator for 1 day is you want to bake them fresh.

Try these delicious little cheesy morsels for a quick appetizer anytime. But they’ll especially look good on your tapas table!

Btw, we are re-imagining our Tapas Theme Dinner Experience. Details will be coming soon!


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