This morning I was all set to make a batch of hot malassadas when I remembered that I was out of yeast. Malassadas, in case you didn’t know, are probably the #1 pastry/bakery item in Hawaii. It is like a soft donut minus the hole and rolled in granulated sugar. Sometimes you can find them filled with vanilla pudding, chocolate pudding, or apple filling, but the original is always plain. In the islands, the portuguese are always the butt-end of jokes, but them clever Portuguese brought over their secret malassada recipe when they immigrated to the middle of the Pacific. Ever since then, the delicious treats have expanded to become big business for Hawaii bakeshops, fundraisers, and individual entrepreneurs. It is one of those foods that is so engraved into our culture that a baby will probably know what it is BEFORE birth, especially if his mom is inhaling those things down during the last trimester. A good example of how local influence mixes with big corporation is at the favorite shopping destination for residents and tourists alike. Where else but Hawaii can you find a kiosk selling hot malassadas just outside the entrance of WalMart or Kmart?
I can still recall those days when my dad would be making them all the time. If there was a family gathering, he’d make them. If there were people coming for dinner, it’s on the dessert menu. But most times he made them to feed us kids and the neighbor kids too, as the blonde in the photo shows proof. I swear, this image must be almost a quarter century old.