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These super-light doughnuts originated as a Christmas speciality. ‘Sonhos’ literally translates from the Portuguese as ‘dreams’ and these small cakes sure are little dreamy doughnuts. Because they’re so delicious, you can now get them year round, not just at Christmas. This recipe was taken from World's Best Cakes by Roger Pizey.


  1. Place the water, butter, sugar and salt in a pan and bring to the boil, making sure the butter is completely melted.

  2. Add the flour and stir in with a wooden spoon – it is important to cook the flour fully so don’t hurry this process. The dough should come away easily from the side of the pan.

  3. Place the dough in a food mixer and, while beating, add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Add egg until the mixture is suitable for deep frying – if it’s too wet you won’t be able to use it. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and leave to rest in the fridge for 1–2 hours.

  4. Pour the oil into a deep, wide heavy-based pan and heat it until it reaches 170°C/338°F. Have ready a baking tray or plate covered with kitchen paper.

  5. Deep-fry dessert spoonfuls of the dough until golden brown, then remove with a slotted spoon and drain on the kitchen paper. Cook the rest of the dough in batches.

  6. Serve the Sonhos warm, lightly dusted with some icing sugar.

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