A deep-rooted traditional recipe
The borrachuelo is a traditional sweet from Málaga known for having a similar dough to another sweet from Andalucía, the pestiño. It is usually filled with cabello de ángel, —a mixture of fruits turned into a thick jam—, although some people prefer to add some sweet potato to the mixture. It should be noted that this tuber, brought from the tropical areas of America after the Discovery, is especially related to Málaga, and more specifically to Axarquía, where there are a lot of lands growing tubers. In fact, sweet potatoes from Vélez are claimed as one of those historical products of the province. It is also common to find two type of borrachuelos according to what is used to cover their outside. We can find some covered with sugar and, on the other hand, some that use honey instead.
In this later case, honey is diluted with water to reduce the sweetness. In both cases, the dough is covered once it is filled with one of these two sweeteners. Among the basic ingredients used to prepare the borrachuelo we can find wheat flour, extra virgin olive oil, lemon, sesame, aniseed, sugar, sweet anise or anisette, sweet wine and sugar or honey. There are more alternatives such has using orange instead of lemon or adding cinammon to give it a singular taste. Yeast can also be added to give the dough a better texture. For the filling, two other important options should be added: cabello de ángel (made with pumpkin and sugar) or sweet poptato.
This recipe is today very known thanks to some Sabor a Málaga blogs, like ‘Al Sur del Sur’, by Reme Reina; ‘Me sabe a Málaga’, by Ana Abellán; or ‘Kesito’, by Ángeles Ballesta.
The dough is made with flour. To the flour we should add extra virgin olive oil, that has already been spiced in the pan with the aromas or lemon or orange, sesame and anise (these ingredients will also be added to the dough). We knead everything together until the result comes out of the hands easily. After letting it rest, we strech it and cut it in circular shapes, that will be filled with cabello de ángel or sweet potato and closed. Now they will be ready to fry. The last touch will be to cover it in sugar or in honey diluted with water.
Nowadays, the recipe of the borrachuelo from Málaga is very well spread through the province of Mñalaga, without having an area that stands out more than another for its production. But, depending on the area, the ingredients used in the recipe may vary to give the sweet a different nuance, like the extra virgin olive oil used to make the dough, the type of citric (orange or lemon) or even the type of wine, although the one usually used is the one made with muscatel grapes.
The origin of the borrachuelo as a sweet is very old and its exact origin is still unknown. The place where it was first prepared is not clear either. It can probably be in the province of Málaga, although some think it was in Córdona. In any case, it is in the province of Málaga where its production has had a greater development. What seems clear is that is name seems to have a relationship with the usage of alcohol drinks, such as white and sweet wines and anisette, both dried and sweet. The fact that it has these ingredients eliminates the possibility of it having an arab origin.
The borrachuelos from Málaga are especially linked to Christmas celebrations, although they are not the only time people eat them. In fact, it is becoming more and more common to find it in bakeries and homes in spring and autumn. Today they are not only made in bakeries and homes of the pronvice but are also sold through companies especialised in pastries from Málaga that, in some cases, distribute their products outside Andalucía.