Every country has desserts based on fried dough. Italians have crostolis, Greeks have diples, the French have beignets, and Spaniards, particularly from the South, have pestiños.
Well, in truth Spain has a lot more than pestiños. Churros are our most commonly known variety of fried dough sweets, and we also have buñuelos, porras and rosquillas, but pestiños have a history of their own. They are most common in Andalucía, where they can be purchased year round, although they are usually reserved for Christmas and Holy Week.
As we all know, anything fried is almost always delicious. What I love about pestiños in particular is that they have a hint of anisette, which I believe really elevates their taste. It is common practice to prepare the oil for the dough by first cooking matalahúva, or anise seeds in the oil, and then removing them prior to adding the oil to the flour. However, in this recipe we are simply going to add anisette into the dough to flavor it. Some pestiño recipes also call for anjojolí, or sesame seeds, but I have opted to make this one without it.
I hope you like them!