I know what you’re thinking — what the heck is a speengie? Well, if you grew up where I did (Monterey, CA) you may be familiar with these gorgeous, pillowy fried discs of happiness from county fairs and farmer’s markets. Similar to elephant ears and funnel cakes, speengies are an Americanized version of sfingi, Italian, ricotta-based donuts coated in honey. But speengies are a little different — just simply fried yeasted dough (I use pizza dough) sprinkled with cinnamon sugar and piled high with juicy, sweet strawberries. I made these recently after not having one in almost 10 years, and the first bite was like Proust’s Madeleine — a flood of childhood memories rushed over me: slumber parties, sticky fingers, and summer. They are so simply wonderful (and a great vegan dessert if you use the right dough) that I just had to share. –Megan B. Click for the speengies recipe!
Speengies with fresh strawberries
1 lb pizza dough (I like to use Trader Joe’s premade dough), divided into 8 rounds
1 lb strawberries hulled and cut into 1/4 inch chunks
1 cup sugar plus 1 tablespoon for the berries
3 tablespoons cinnamon
Corn, peanut, grapeseed, or safflower oil for frying
Large heavy pot for frying
Fill the pot with oil (only fill 1/2 up for safety’s sake) and preheat to 350. While the oil is heating, toss the berries with the tablespoon of sugar and set aside. Mix the remaining sugar and cinnamon together in a large bowl. When the oil is ready, stretch out the rounds and drop them gently into the oil. Fry no more than 3 at a time to prevent crowding. Flip after about 3 minutes and fry for another 3 or until golden brown. Remove with a strainer and toss liberally with the cinnamon sugar. Mound generously with berries and consume immediately with the unrestrained joy of a child!