Cooking with Mom: Leonard’s Malasadas

You might be saying, “When the heck is Plynn going to get back in the kitchen?” And I say, “Soon, my friends, soon.” But for the moment, I am on hiatus from my everyday life … not because I don’t like my life.  I adore it. I truly do. I cook, I write, I offer energetic support to others, I garden, I walk, I meditate, I read, I study, I love … my husband, my sons, my family, my work. What more could a person ask for?

Still, there are times when each of us needs to step back, review, relax and restore. Just as I help others do this at Your Liminal Space retreats, I do this for myself as well. It’s the gift I give to “me” when I come to Hawaii … along with partaking in some really wonderful eating adventures.  For a foodie, this is a must – no matter what. So bear with me a while longer as I share my culinary experiences in Honolulu. It you have the delightful opportunity to visit the island of Oahu, then you will have a little reference guide to a few of the “Must Eats” of this magical, friendly place.

So, today I want to tell you about Leonard’s Bakery. Leonard’s is not just any bakery, thought they offer fine regular fare such as doughnuts, cookies, cakes, pies, coffee cakes and bread. This bakery is known throughout the island for its gorgeous, melt-in-your-mouth, hot-from-the-kitchen malasadas.

Malasadas are made from yeast dough, formed into egg-sized balls, deep fried in oil and then rolled in sugar. The confection was created in Portugal as a way to use up lard (or butter) and sugar in preparation for Lent. Traditionally, they are eaten on Shrove Tuesday (or Fat Tuesday), the day before Ash Wednesday, which signifies the beginning of Lent in the Catholic faith. It makes me smile to imagine families making large batches of these delectable treats and gorging themselves before going into the Lenten period of restraint.

The history of malasadas in Hawaii dates back to the late 1800s, when many Portuguese came to the islands to work in the sugar cane fields. Leonard, the grandson of workers Arsenio and Amelia DoRego from San Miguel Island, opened his bakery on Oahu in 1952 and, on the urging of his mother, added malasadas for Shrove Tuesday. Thus ensued the love affair with this confection, to the point that Shrove Tuesday is officially called “Malasada Day” on the island.

These days, malasadas not reserved for any particular season or day of the week. Locals and visitors from around the world make their pilgrimage to the little bakery on Kapahulu Street – open seven days a week from 5:30 am to 10 pm – and stand in long, salivating lines for the hot confections. Leonard’s also adds the option of filling malasadas with flavored cream – vanilla, chocolate, mango, coconut, etc., all of which are very tasty. But my favorite is the traditional – no filling, just rolled in sugar or cinnamon sugar.

It is not unusual to see people collecting outside the store with Styrofoam cups of coffee in one hand and malasadas in the other, as they are best eaten hot and fresh from the fryer.

So good are these treats that it is our tradition to rush to the car and immediately eat them right out of Leonard’s signature pink box. It’s a little embarrassing, but to partake of the freshest, doughiest, perfectly sweet orbs of goodness you can imagine, we leave our pride in Leonard’s parking lot and indulge.

Check out Leonard’s Bakery at:

Now if you will excuse me, after all this talk, I think I need to go see a man about a malasada.

Eat well. Be happy

Author: Plynn Gutman

Plynn Gutman is a certified coach with a refreshing and holistic approach to achieving an Integrated Life. Specialized retreats, workshops and classes are all a part of Plynn’s wide array of resources that she offers along with useful life lessons, tips and advice through her blog. A writer at heart, with several titles available, Plynn's variety of work appeals to everyone.

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