The Portuguese Rooster loves Coscorões!

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Desserts and sweets cannot be missing from a Portuguese table when it's Christmas. The list is long, but the Portuguese Rooster loves Bolo Rei, similar to brioche cake, not too sweet, covered with nuts and candied fruit, which are also mixed inside.) aletria, (Portuguese Sweet Pasta dessert, sugar, noodles, eggs, butter, cinnamon...), and coscorões (a fried pastry, sugar, eggs, brandy, flour, orange zest ). In addition to being a national symbol, it looks like he is also a good cook! The bolo-rei recipe was imported from another country, France, it’s the king of the Portuguese Christmas sweet table. It’s there before, during, and after Christmas and New Year, and certainly a must for Dia de Reis (Epiphany) on January 6. The table is turning out to be very pretty, don't you think? Let's take a close look at Coscorões!

Coscorões, also known as Angel Wings, are deep-fried pastries that hold a special place on the Portuguese Christmas table. They come in various shapes, including square, round, or triangular, and are deeply ingrained in our tradition. These sweets are believed to have Moorish roots and were likely introduced to Europe by Crusaders. As they had good preservation qualities, coscorões were specifically crafted for long journeys, especially during the Middle Ages. 

Early recipes probably didn't include sugar; instead, they might have been drizzled with honey or seasoned with salt. Today, they are a cherished Christmas treat found in various regions of Portugal, such as Alentejo, Beira Baixa, and Trás-os-Montes. Ingredients may vary slightly, and when reading about old or traditional coscorões recipes, it often means they were made using baker's yeast. Modern recipes commonly employ self-rising flour and forgo the dough's rising time. 

Understanding the origins of Christmas sweets sheds light on why they consistently grace the holiday table, even though uncovering the history of a particular sweet or dish and its precise origin can be challenging, with numerous claims found across the internet.

- 500 g of flour without wheat 
- 50 ml of water
- 3 eggs 
- 75 ml of orange juice
- 25 g of baker's yeast ( 8-10 g of dry yeast)
- 50 g of sugar
- 3 soup spoons of spirits (aguardente)
- orange zest
- 50 g of melted butter 
- 1 coffee spoon of salt
- frying oil 
- 4 soup spoons of sugar for sprinkling
 - 1 coffee spoon of cinnamon powder for sprinkling

Preparation mode: 

Begin by placing the flour, sugar, and salt in a bowl, and thoroughly mix them.
In the center, add the spirits, water, orange zest, and juice.
Break the eggs into a separate bowl, beat them, and then incorporate them into the main bowl.
In a small bowl, warm up some water in the microwave or on the stove. Dissolve the yeast in this warm water. If you prefer, you can use milk instead of water. Add this yeast mixture to the primary large bowl and combine all the ingredients either with an electric mixer for about 5 minutes or by hand.
Sprinkle the work surface with some flour, and transfer the dough from the bowl to the floured surface. Add more flour as needed and knead the dough until it reaches the right consistency. The dough is ready when it no longer sticks to your hands. So, knead it thoroughly until it no longer adheres to your hands.
Take a new bowl, dust it with some flour, and form the dough into a ball. Sprinkle some flour on top and cover it with plastic wrap. Wrap a cloth around it and let it rest for an hour until it doubles in size.
Heat up the oil in a frying pan or a deep pot.
Dust your work surface with flour, and lightly knead the dough to remove any air.
Divide the dough into two portions for easier handling. Roll out small sections of the dough with a rolling pin. Create long rectangles and make two lengthwise cuts in each one. You can use a dough cutter for this, and remember to sprinkle the rolling pin with flour.
When the oil is hot, fry the dough. You'll know the oil is ready when you drop a small piece of dough into it, and bubbles form around it. Fry the coscorões on one side and then the other. Depending on the size of your frying pan, you can fry one or two at a time.
Combine sugar and cinnamon in a container, and dip each coscorão into this mixture one by one. Place them on a plate and serve them at the table.

Bom apetite!