What is a Malasada?
If you’re in Hawaii you must try a malasada. It’s one of those favorite treats among the Hawaiians that’s hard to find anywhere else.
A malasada is a fried doughnut with no hole. It’s golden brown and flaky on the outside generously covered with sugar. The inside is fluffy and warm. The original malasada is made plain while other varieties have different flavored fillings.
The Malasada History
The malasada is another one of those traditions born in Portugal and introduced to Hawaii.
In an earlier post, we learned about the ukulele coming from Madeira, a tiny island off the coast of Portugal. When the immigrants made their way to Hawaii in the late 1800’s, they also brought with them their tradition of foods.
Large batches of malasadas were often made right before Lent (Ash Wednesday), a season of ritual fasting. It was then they needed to use up all the butter and sugar they had left over, indulging in the many sweets and desserts. And so the day before Lent in Hawaii soon became known as Malasada Day.
The Story of Leonard
Immigrants continued sailing in to help with Hawaii’s labor shortage in the plantations. One couple, in particular, Arsenio and Amelia DoRego, came in from San Miguel Island to work in the sugar cane fields. Years later they had a grandson named Leonard who used his grandmother’s recipe to cook up malasadas the day before Lent. It was a big hit. And so in 1952, he opened his own bakery – Leonards Bakery.
Leonards malasadas became a huge hit in Hawaii. His bakery is the home of the original malasada. Over the years they’ve expanded their menu to include different varieties, as well as other pastries, cakes, cookies, and pies.
Other bakeries have sprung up around the islands creating their own versions of malasadas. It’s a very common dessert among Hawaiian households. You can also find vendors selling malasadas at various fairs and festivals.
Image by: thrillist.com