Mexican bunuelos with fennel-and cinnamon syrup

Mexican bunuelos with fennel-and cinnamon syrup

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  • 4
  • 35 minutes
  • 45 minutes
  • Tierhoek Straw Wine 2007


  • 250 ml water
  • 50 g butter
  • 150 g cake flour
  • Salt a pinch
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 4 free-range eggs, lightly whisked
  • Canola oil, for deep-frying
  • 50 g icing sugar
  • 1 T gold powdered food colouring
  • 2 t brandy
  • For the syrup:
  • 60 g treacle sugar
  • 1 T fresh lime juice
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 T fennel seeds
  • 170 ml water
  • For the vanilla custard:
  • 4 free-range egg yolks
  • 100 g caster sugar
  • 25 g cornflour, sifted
  • 1 vanilla pod, split
  • 375 ml milk

Cooking Instructions

Bring the water and butter to the boil in a medium-sized saucepan, then remove from the heat. 

Sift the flour and salt, then stir into the butter-and-water mixture. Cook over a low heat, stirring continually, for 2 minutes, or until the mixture thickens and comes away from the sides of the saucepan to form a ball. 

Add the vanilla extract and eggs, then beat using a wooden spoon until the mixture is wellcombined, smooth and shiny. 

Heat the canola oil in a deep saucepan. Using 2 dessertspoons, shape rounds of dough and carefully place into the oil and cook until golden, turning as required. Remove using a slotted spoon and drain and cool slightly in a dish lined with kitchen paper. 

To serve, pipe the vanilla custard into the slightly cooled bunuelos, drizzle with syrup and dust with icing sugar. Mix the gold food colouring with the brandy and drizzle over the bunuelos. 

To make the syrup, place the treacle sugar, lime juice, cinnamon stick, fennel seeds and water in a small saucepan over a medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Once the sugar has dissolved, bring to a rapid boil and cook undisturbed for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. 

To make the vanilla custard, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until light and thick, then stir in the cornflour. Place the vanilla pod in a saucepan with the milk and slowly bring to the boil. Remove the vanilla pod and pour the milk into the egg mixture, whisking continually. Return the mixture to the saucepan and stir over a medium heat until it comes to a gentle boil. Continue cooking, stirring continually (use a whisk if it looks lumpy), for 2 minutes, or until thick. Remove from the heat and pour the custard into a bowl. If the mixture goes a little lumpy while cooking, remove the saucepan from the heat and whisk well. If it is still lumpy when cooked, strain it through a sieve. Press a sheet of clingwrap directly onto the surface of the custard and allow to cool.

Abigail Donnelly Recipe by: Abigail Donnelly
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Nothing excites Woolworths TASTE's Food Director quite as much as the challenge of dreaming up recipes with innovative new foods – or the thrill of creating deliciousness on a plate with the humblest of ingredients. With Abi by your side, you’ll be a cooking expert in no time at all.

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