Puff Puff Clusters


Puff Puff remains one of Nigeria's most favourite snack...! Every where up and down different places you find Nigerian families, puff puff balls are featured one way or another. They are great as snacks at home, starter or canapes at parties, and increasingly, they feature in dessert dishes...!

I have posted a couple of exciting puff puff recipes, which actually demonstrates how versatile it really can be. One of the most common questions I get from my readers when it comes to making puff puff is that, they are unable to get perfect round shaped ones....!



Making Perfect Puff Puff 
  1. My number one all time fail proof tip for making perfect puff puff is......the yeast. Yes, the yeast. A crucial step in the making of puff puff is the proofing step, i.e., the stage where you allow the puff puff batter to ferment / proof, usually for a short time (between 30-60 minutes depending on the volume of the batter). You must ensure you buy/use active baker's yeast. It could be tricky to know for sure if your yeast is active. So what I do is to put the yeast into a bowl with some sugar and warm water. The warm water will help to activate the yeast. Set this mixture aside for about 10 minutes, by which time, you will see some evidence of yeast frothing. If your yeast is not active, it will not froth, and if you add yeast which is not active to your batter, you will never get a good outcome. 
  2. You cannot rely on all the different brands of yeast sold out there. What you want to look out for is 'baker's yeast'. Some, when bought, do not become active even when you add sugar and warm water. If after about 10-15 minutes of adding sugar and warm water, and you do not see any evidence of frothing, you should know that the yeast cells are not active, so do not use.Try out a couple of different brands and settle for the one which gives you the best result.
  3. Another tip is, you need a lot of oil to fry your puff puff. The traditional process of making puff puff requires deep frying. So you have to ensure you use a deep base pan, filled with enough oil that will allow the puff puff balls to float to the surface. This condition also allows the puff puff to form round ball shapes without any obstructions from the base. 
  4. You can add any flavouring or seasoning of choice to your batter, and frankly they should not really have that much impact on the shape but will certainly have a lot of impact on the taste. 
  5. One final tip is..., the temperature of the oil. This is really quite important because if the oil is not hot enough, then the puff puff can soak up so much oil, or if too hot, it can lead to puff puff being burnt on the outside but still raw on the inside. In order to be sure, put a small portion of the batter into the hot oil. If the batter floats to the surface almost instantly, then the oil is hot enough. If it sinks to the bottom of the pot, that shows the oil is not hot enough.
Over the holidays, my nieces came visiting and they were delighted by my puff puff clusters, which I made by sticking them together with some hot sugar syrup with a drizzling of a rich chocolate sauce. They loved it.....


What you need
  • Plain flour
  • Baker's yeast
  • Sugar
  • Nutmeg
  • Chocolate syryp
  • Fruit of choice (here I used bananas)

What to do
  1. Start by adding some baker's yeast into a small bowl, then add couple table spoons of sugar, and warm water. This process is to activate the yeast. If after about 10 or 15 minutes you do not see any frothing (or foaming) action, then you know the yeast is not good and cannot be used otherwise the puff puff will not rise.
  2. Next combine the sugar and flour in a separate bowl and nix well. The quantity and ratio of flour/sugar should be to your preference. Add a small quantity of nutmeg as required. Aim to achieve a soft sticky dough which is not too thick nor runny. 
  3. Then add the dissolved and activated yeast mix. Incorporate into the dough. Cover with a tea towel and keep in a warm place to proof. Give it about 30 minutes to proof, by which time the dough would have risen double its size. 
  4. Then heat up oil in a deep base pan and deep fry dollops until evenly brown.

To Make the Clusters:
  1. To make them into clusters, dissolve some sugar in water and heat up gently until it turns into sugar syrup. 
  2. Pick one puff puff piece at a time, dip a side into the syrup and stick onto one another to form a cluster.
  3. When the syrup cools, it will harden and stay in place.


CONVERSATION

3 comments:

  1. Thanks for the tips. I also find that if I leave my dough for more than 25 minutes, it becomes watery and the resulting puff puff is flat and oily, so what I do now is to fry once it rises for 20 or 25 minutes.

    Have you ever experienced that?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. hhmmm, I have not had that exact experience....the longer you leave the batter to proof, the more it swells up and it will get to a point where the yeast becomes "spent", that is, it becomes unable to continue with fermentation. I imagine that perhaps at that time, some by-products of fermentation (e.g. alcohol) will build up.

      Leaving the batter to proof for too long is not good for taste development. The longer it proofs, the puff puff develops a rather yeasty smell and sour taste. Hope this helps..

      Delete
  2. I guess that explains it. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete

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