Filhoses is a traditional Portuguese Christmas dessert of which there are many different versions, as far as I can remember my mum always makes them for Christmas. The dough used to make filhoses is a bread dough to which you then add other ingredients such as sugar or honey, orange zest, orange juice or Port, eggs, etc. This dough is then kneaded and left to prove until doubled in volume.
When ready the dough is cut into small portions which are then stretched thin and fried in vegetable oil. Once fried they can be dipped in a syrupy mixture or sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar.
A few days before Christmas it occurred to me how similar this dough is to that of the sweet brioches I often make and so with a few changes to the recipe I was able to make filhoses just like the ones my mum makes but with a lot less effort.
1 teaspoon fast action yeast
250g strong white flour
2 to 3 tablespoons honey (or you can use caster sugar instead if you want)
Pinch of salt
Pinch of cinnamon
2 tablespoons Port wine (you can replace this with orange juice, but I prefer the Port)
Zest of an orange
Put all ingredients in the bread pan in the correct order. Select the basic dough setting (2h 20 mins in mine). When the cycle is complete tip the dough out into a bowl, cover with clingfilm and put in a warm place to prove until doubled in size.
In a deep container mix some caster sugar with cinnamon, also pour a little vegetable oil into a bowl and place near the pan where you're going to fry the filhoses. This is used to grease your fingers so it's easy to stretch the dough without it sticking.
Cut small portions of dough and stretch them gently, I don't worry about any holes that might appear or about the shape. Fry 1 or 2 at a time, the oil should not be too hot or they'll fry too quickly. Keep turning them with a fork until golden on both sides and remove to a tray lined with a few sheets of kitchen paper towels to absorb any excess fat. Sprinkle each filhós with the mixture of sugar and cinnamon. Keep in an air tight container.
Enjoy with a nice cup of tea or coffee.