What are calzones rotos?
Calzones rotos are traditional small Chilean fried beignets that are generously sprinkled with icing sugar. They are usually eaten warm during winter by the fire. Calzones rotos are reminiscent of the delicious French bugnes.
What is the origin of calzones rotos?
Etymologically, calzones rotos means “broken panties” in Spanish. Funny name for donuts! According to the legend, this name dates back to colonial times. A lady used to sell pastries at the Plaza de Armas in Santiago. One winter’s day, the wind blew vigorously, so much so that it pulled up her skirt, revealing her torn underwear in the sight of passers-by. Since then, the residents of Santiago nicknamed her “the lady with the broken panties”.
Among the pastries she offered, she sold small typical donuts which were later called “calzones rotos”. These sweet little donuts warmed hearts in the winter. Also, Chileans usually enjoy them during very cold days or at tea time.
The particularity of the calzones rotos lies in their shape: using a knife, you have to create a notch in the rectangle of dough and then, pass one of the ends of the rectangle through. The result is a nice knot in the middle of the donut that characterizes the typical shape of these beignets. In Chile, calzones rotos are generally sold on the street during winter by mobile trucks and served in paper bags or in newspapers.
Formerly, these donuts were called zorritas. This word referred to the diminutive name of the female sex in popular culture. If you look closely at this pastry, it is not difficult to understand why this name was used. Over the years, the name of zorrita was changed to become a “broken underwear”. However, it continues to be called zorrita in some cities in Chile, because through the “broken panties” name, it is easy to understand what past generations have alluded to.
The evolution of the name of these donuts in the culture clearly shows one of the most characteristic traits of Chilean idiosyncrasy. Indeed, in Chile, several linguistic studies have reported that it is common to design the same thing by two different words.
Calzones rotos and bugnes around the world
There is a wide variety of bugnes and such little beignets around the world. Calzones rotos are found on the other side of the globe in Iceland. Over there, they are known as kleina. These donuts are identical to the calzones rotos in their shape and the ingredients. They appeared in Iceland less than 200 years ago. They are also served at the Paris Café in Reykjavik and are the pride of the Icelanders.
Calzones rotos are known as bugnes in France. However, the origin of bugnes dates back to ancient Rome. People tasted these specialties at the time of Carnival and Mardi Gras. Traditionally, in Saint-Étienne in the Loire department of France, charcuteries offered bugnes just before Mardi Gras to remind the residents who were going to begin Lent and therefore abandon their establishment. People also used to make it, so as not to spoil the fat (cooking oil), which was forbidden during Lent. Today, bakeries in France offer them at the time of Mardi Gras. In Italy, those bugnes are known under the name of chiacchiere.
You can also taste bugnes (calzones rotos) in Poland, where they are called faworki. Just like in France, they are prepared for Mardi Gras. Faworki are the calzones rotos of Poland. However, they are thinner and crisper than the Chilean beignets. Etymologically, the Polish word faworki comes from the French word for favor (faveur). In the Krakow region, they are named chrust.
These bugnes will delight children as well as busy moms. Indeed, the dough for calzones rotos does not need to rise, unlike most donuts.
- 1½ cup flour
- ½ cup icing sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 6 tablespoons soft butter
- 1 egg
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon pisco (rum or vodka)
- 1 orange zest (or lemon zest)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons warm water
- Vegetable oil (for frying)
- Icing sugar (for the decoration)
- Mix the icing sugar and flour and sift into the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the salt. Mix.
- Start kneading by adding butter, egg, yolks, pisco, zest.
- Finally add the water, one spoon at a time until obtaining a firm dough.
With a rolling pin, roll the dough on a lightly floured work surface, to a thickness of about ⅙ inch (5 mm)
Cut the dough into rectangles of about 4 x 2 inches (10 x 5 cm) then using a small knife, split the center of each rectangle and pass one of the two ends of the rectangle inside the slot. Stretch it gently.
In a pot, heat a large volume of oil to 350 F / 175 C.
- Fry the calzones rotos for 2 minutes on one side, then 1 minute on other side.
- Calzones rotos should be golden.
- Place on a large dish lined with paper towel and sprinkle with icing sugar immediately.
- Serve hot with tea or hot chocolate.