Given that the fall season is here with an abundance of pumpkin and sweet potato love, I would like to introduce a classic dessert that is near and dear to my heart, picarones. As a kid, my family and I use to go to the street vendors to eat these delicious morsels, as a Sunday treat. Finally, after many years living in the United States and two Peruvian superfood cookbooks, I finally decided to make picarones at home. A fried dough, in the doughnut family, picarones are anise-sweetened, deep fried pastries from Peru. Although they are deep fried, these bad-boys are made with pumpkin and sweet potato. How can you say “no” to that? In Peru, the word “picaron” actually refers to someone as a “flirt” or “tease,” and rightfully so since these doughnut shaped treats will tease your taste buds. Living in Peru, picarones are a must have dessert that everyone enjoys.

Servings: 12   Serving Size: 3 each (each one is 60 g)

Reboot Servings: Grains & Starches: 4.15, Fat: 2.35 (not including sauce)

Ingredients for Picarones

300 grams sweet potato, cooked
3 cinnamon sticks
5 cloves
1 tablespoon anise seeds
300 grams pumpkin, cooked or canned puree
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 package rapid rise active yeast
600 grams all-purpose flour
1 ½ cup cooking water (from sweet potato & pumpkin)
4-6 cups canola oil
2 cups water

Directions for Picarones

Peel and cut the sweet potato into ½ inch cubes. If you are not using canned pumpkin puree, cut and peel the pumpkin as you would the sweet potato. Place in a pot and fill it up with cold water. Add the anise seeds, cinnamon and cloves. Bring to a boil, cover and cook for about 20 minutes or until sweet potato is cooked through.

  1. Peel and cut the sweet potato into ½ inch cubes. If you are not using canned pumpkin puree, cut and peel the pumpkin as you would the sweet potato. Place in a pot and fill it up with cold water. Add the anise seeds, cinnamon and cloves. Bring to a boil, cover and cook for about 20 minutes or until sweet potato is cooked through.
  2. Drain sweet potato and discard the cinnamon and cloves. Leave the anise seeds and make sure to save the cooking water.
  3. Once cooled, mash up the sweet potato and pumpkin to remove any lumps. Use a handheld mixer to ensure smooth consistency.
  4. Add the sugar and yeast into the puree and mix it around.
  5. Add about 1/3 of the flour into the mixture and fold in the batter with your hand. Add about ¼ cup of the cooking liquid to help incorporate the flour. Alternate these two steps until you have used all the flour and the dough does not stick to your hands. You may not use all the liquid that was set aside.
  6. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it sit for at least 2 hours. The dough needs this time to rise.
  7. Once the dough is ready, heat up 4-6 cups of oil in a deep frying pan at high heat, then reduce to medium heat. Set up the 2 cups of water in a medium sized bowl. This will be used to dip your hands in before handling the dough.
  8. To make the picarone, wet your hands with water so that the dough does not stick to your fingers. Grab about 2 ounces of the dough and pierce a hole in the middle. This will create a doughnut shape. Be sure to shape the sides a little. Place in the oil and fry for about 2-3 minutes on each side. Serve with Chancaca sauce.

 

Ingredients for Chancaca Sauce

Chancaca

600 g chancaca, piloncillo, panela or brown sugar
3 cups of water
3 cinnamon sticks
4 cloves
1 tablespoon anise seeds
Peel of 1 orange

Directions for Chancaca Sauce

  • In a saucepan over medium heat, combine all of the ingredients with water to cover. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the syrup thickens lightly. It should have the texture of maple syrup. Strain and discard the spices and peel. Cool to room temperature before serving.

 

 

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