Tube-Shaped Pastries with Meringue – Gaznates

Click here to go to printable recipe: Tube-shaped pastries with meringue – Gaznates

In my previous post, I described two street-food sweet treats made with beaten egg whites, and shared my recipe for round pink meringues, simply called merengues.  The other treats I mentioned were gaznates (more on the curious name at the end of this post), which are cylinders of fried pastry, filled with meringue paste.  Because round pink merengues are baked, there is no concern about bacteria when preparing the egg white paste for them, but in the case of gaznates, the fried pastries are filled, and there is no further cooking.  Stability of the meringue paste may also be an issue for raw paste.

There are three basic methods to prepare meringue paste:  French, in which the egg whites are beaten at room temperature (I used this method in my previous post); Italian, in which a hot syrup is added to the egg whites; and Swiss, in which the ingredients are beaten using a double-boiler setting (bain Marie) until warm and stabilized, then finished at room temperature.  Either the Italian or Swiss method will provide enough heat to pasteurize the egg whites; I think Mexican merengueros mostly use the Italian method for practical reasons for their large batches, and because it rends the most stable mix of the three methods, but at home, I have had good success using the Swiss method, and I like the somewhat dense, creamy texture.

For the tube-shaped pastries, I found that it is better to invest in a set of stainless-steel tube moulds, especially for deep frying; use 1 inch (2.5 cm) in diameter, stainless-steel tube moulds at least 3.5 inches (9cm) long (see bottom of this post for example).  However, I tried a homemade alternative for a one-time use:  Take an empty cardboard tube after emptying a roll of parchment paper or foil, and slice cylinders, approximately 3.5 inches (9 cm) in length; cut pieces of Aluminium foil 5 inches (12.5 cm) wide, and long enough to generously wrap the cardboard cylinders.  Roll a piece of foil, shiny side out, around each cardboard cylinder (photo below, left); once wrapped, twist the ends of the foil and the ends of each roll, so the cardboard is not exposed (photo below, right):

Tube-Shaped Pastries with Meringue – Gaznates

Printable recipe: Tube-shaped pastries with meringue – Gaznates

Ingredients (for 12 pieces)

1 cup flour, plus some extra for dusting
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1/8 tsp salt
2 tbsp pulque, Tequila, or vodka
¼ cup water, as needed
Oil, for frying, or to brush if air frying, and for greasing moulds

2 large eggs (only egg whites used in this recipe)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
½ cup powdered sugar
1/8 tsp cream of tartar

Stainless-steel tube moulds, 1 inch (2.5 cm) in diameter
Candy thermometer

Grease outer side of tube moulds with a little oil and reserve.

Prepare dough: Place flour, sugar, butter and salt in a mixing bowl (photo below, left).  Mix all together, breaking up butter, until grainy; add alcohol (photo below, right):

Continue mixing and gradually add water (photo below, left).  Use up to one quarter of a cup of water to obtain a soft dough (photo below, right):

Cover bowl and allow to rest for twenty to thirty minutes. 

Using a rolling pin on a lightly floured surface, extend dough to form a long piece, approximately 6 inches (15 cm) wide, and as thin as possible; trim the edges to make it a neat rectangle:

Cut segments every 4 inches (10 cm), and using the rolling pin, thin a little bit more if possible (photo below, left).  Cut dough into rectangles 3×4 inches (7.5×10 cm), as seen in the photo below, right:

Gather all the trimmings and repeat, to form a total of 12 rectangles.  Starting at a short edge, wrap dough around prepared tube moulds, and seal the other end by brushing very lightly with water before pressing to form a pastry cylinder (photo below, left).  If using an air fryer, brush the outside of each pastry cylinder with oil, to help browning (photo below, right):

NOTE FOR DEEP FRYING:  Omit brushing oil.  Prepare a pot with enough oil for a depth of at least one inch, heat up on the stove to 350-375ºF (180-190ºC); fry pastry tubes in batches, turning cylinders to evenly brown on all sides, then transfer to paper towels or a colander, to remove excess fat.

For the air fryer, place a few cylinders in the frying basket, trying not to crowd (photo below, left); set-up to 400ºF (204ºC) for 8 minutes, flipping halfway for even browning (photo below, right):

While still hot, remove pastries from the tube moulds.  As it can be seen in the photo below, air frying did a good job for a crispy, golden-brown pastry; the homemade tubes worked reasonably well, but the pastry did shrink unevenly at the edges, so the cardboard in the moulds had to get crumpled a little to extract the pastry tubes, and a few developed small cracks: 

I was able to continue cooking the rolls, but it became an arduous labour, and after the second round (I only made six moulds, so they were used twice) they were basically ruined.  In conclusion, if you are going to make this recipe more than once, it would be worthwhile getting the stainless-steel moulds.

Reserve pastry tubes.

Prepare Swiss meringue filling:  Separate egg whites into a clean and dry, metal mixing bowl (save egg yolks for another recipe).  Add granulated and powdered sugars, and cream of tartar and mix to dissolve (photo below, left).  Heat up water in a pot over high heat, then reduce to a simmer.  Place mixing bowl on top for a baine Marie setting, making sure the pot is not touching the water (photo below, left).  Beat egg white mix with a wire whisk to get it foamy and airy, and occasionally scrape wall and bottom of the bowl with a spatula, so the egg will not get cooked and stick to the bowl (photo below, right):

Continue cooking, vigorously beating, and scraping, until the mix reaches a temperature of 160ºF (70ºC) (photo below, left).  Remove from heat and continue beating, preferably with an electric mixer, adding food colouring (photo below, right):

Continue beating just until the paste is glossy and firm.  Transfer some to a pastry bag with a large nozzle (photo below, left) or use a large plastic storage bag and cut an opening at one of the bottom corners.  To fill the pastry tubes, take one at a time and hold vertically; place the bag nozzle or opening at the bottom end, and press to pump the filling up the tube, until it is visible at the top end (photo below, right):

Continue with the rest of the pastry tubes, refilling the bag with meringue as needed:

The pastry cooked in the air fryer is not as flaky as when deep fried, but still has a very pleasant taste and is much less greasy.  The filling is safe to eat, and will not dry out, but will remain deliciously creamy.  Keep treats in an airtight container at room temperature; consume within three days.


Fried pastries came to Mexico and the rest of the Spanish colonies mainly from Spain, where they are generically called “frutas de sartén” – “fruits from the pan”.  Some examples are: buñuelos (either discs, balls, rings, or fern-like, wispy shapes from moulds), churros (thin or stuffed), and gaznates (see next paragraph.)  Many are favoured around Christian holidays, such as right before the mourning Lenten season, or the joyous Easter and Christmas tides.

The Spanish word gaznate is a colloquial term for the neck or trachea, so the fried pastries received that name from their elongated, cylindrical shape.  In Mexico, gaznates are always filled with creamy meringue paste, and in other Latin American countries, other common fillings are pastry cream, or dulce de leche.  There are also other Spanish fried tube-shaped treats, such as canutillos (which are sometimes cone-shaped) and bartolillos (which have no filling). 

I have definitely added a nice set of stainless-steel tube moulds to my wish list, such as the one shown below, which also has coned and cannoli round moulds.  For your convenience, click on the highlighted text below for products available on Amazon™.  DISCLAIMER: Any reviews included in this post are my own, for items I have purchased, not provided by any company; as an Amazon Associates Program affiliate, I might receive a commission for any purchases originated from the links below, at no extra cost to you.  Thank you to readers who have bought other products starting with a click from my links!

I am joining Fiesta Friday # 459 with Angie @ Fiesta Friday.

I am sharing my recipe at What’s for Dinner? Sunday Link-Up #394 with Helen @ The Lazy Gastronome

I am bringing my recipe at Happiness is Homemade #454 hosted by Linda @ A Labour of Life, Sinea @ Ducks ‘n a Row, Beverly @ Eclectic Red Barn, Katie @ Love My Messy Messy Mess, Mel @ Décor Craft Design, and Niki @ Life as a Leo Wife.

5 thoughts on “Tube-Shaped Pastries with Meringue – Gaznates

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