Sonho (Brazilian Beignet)
Photo and Text by Cynthia Presser.
Sonho – which literally translates to Dream – is equivalent to a Brazilian beignet, except that Sonho is always shaped round and filled with something that is sweet and creamy. Sonho is very popular and it is available at every bakery in Brazil.
Sonho – pronounced “SON-yoo” – is crunchy on the outside, and fluffy in the inside. In this simple method, the dough is formed into golf-size balls that are deep fried until golden-brown to later receive a generous portion of sweet filling.
For this recipe, I chose dulce de leche, my absolute favorite, but the filling is totally up to you! Guava paste, Nutella, chocolate ganache, and coconut cream are some other popular options, and since it yields for about 35 to 40 units, it is perfect to be shared with friends!
This recipe turned out just like the Sonho I would get at the bakery down the street in my hometown. My craving is now gone, and I am happy that I was brave enough to take care of it!
1 cup lukewarm milk
3 ½ teaspoons instant active dried yeast
4 tablespoons sugar
2 large eggs
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon salt
Zest of 1 lime
4 cups flour
Vegetable oil for frying
Dulce de leche, guave paste, or Nutella for filling
Confectioner’ sugar for dusting
To a large mixing bowl, add the milk, dried yeast, and sugar. Mix well.
In a small bowl, mix the eggs and egg yolks.
Add the melted butter, salt, lime zest, and egg mixture to the large mixing bowl. Whisk to combine. Add the flour, 1 cup at a time, stirring until incorporated.
Place a dough hook attachment to an electric mixer. Transfer the bowl to mixer and turn on to medium speed. knead the dough until smooth; about 10 minutes. If needed, scrape sides of the bowl periodically so the hook gets all the dough.
Spray three muffin pans with vegetable oil (See Cook’s Note).
Using a medium fruit scoop, get small portions of the dough and roll it in between the palms of your hands, shaping the dough into small balls (about the size of a golf ball). Butter hands if necessary.
Place dough balls on the muffin pan. Cover loosely with plastic wrap or cloth. Let rise on a warm place for at least one hour.
Preheat oil in a deep-fryer to 350 degrees F.
Deep fry in batches, flipping regularly, until Sonhos turn into a golden-brown color. After fried, remove from pan and transfer to a platter covered with paper towels to drain the oil excess.
Once warm to touch, use a bread knife to cut a slit across the Sonho. Spread a generous portion of the filling of your choice – I used Brazilian dulce de leche (doce de leite).
Transfer Sonhos to a large plate and dust with confectioners’ sugar. Serve immediately.
The use of muffin pans is optional. You can use greased large cooking trays for the rising process, but be sure to leave a couple of inches in between the Sonhos to prevent them to touch each other once they rise.