Bunuelos with Vanilla Ice Cream and Cactus Berries


These Spanish fried dough cups are topped with cinnamon sugar and served with ice cream and caramel sauce.


  • 1 ¼ pounds cactus berries or 1 ½ pints raspberries

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • ¼ cup vegetable oil plus 3 quarts for frying

  • 1 cup hot water

  • ½ cup sugar

  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon

  • 2 pints vanilla ice cream

  • Cajeta Sauce


  1. Cut away skin of cactus berries. Slice half the cactus berries into 1/2-inch pieces (if using raspberries, leave whole); puree remaining berries; toss puree with reserved berries. Cover and set aside.

  2. Sift together flour, salt, and baking powder. Add 1/4 cup oil and just enough hot water to bring dough together, kneading until smooth and silky. Cover with plastic wrap.

  3. Slowly heat frying oil in heavy saucepan or Dutch oven to 365 degrees. Thoroughly combine sugar and cinnamon.

  4. Meanwhile, divide dough into 12 2-inch balls. Roll out each on a lightly floured work surface into a 7-inch round. Keep dough you're not working with covered.

  5. Carefully drop rolled dough one piece at a time into oil. Dough should sink to bottom of the pan, then float to surface. Using tongs, gently press down on center of dough, about 20 seconds, to create concave shape; fry until crisp and lightly golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Lift bunuelo from oil with tongs, allowing oil to drip back into saucepan.

  6. Transfer bunuelos to a baking sheet lined with several paper towels. Sprinkle liberally with cinnamon sugar.

  7. To serve, scoop ice cream on bunuelos. Top with cajeta sauce and cactus berries.

Cook's Notes

Cactus berries, often called cactus pears, have prickly skin and sweet flesh. Look for them at specialty food stores. If cactus berries are not available, use raspberries.

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