Have you heard of picarones, thought that they sound like something delicious, but not sure what they actually are, or how to make them? You’re not the only one.
When I first heard of this sweet Peruvian dessert traditionally dipped in syrup, I thought, I really want to know what that is.
As someone who loves all things sweet, any type of sweet treat is definitely something I want to know more about.
Does this sound like you? If so, you’ve found the perfect place to find all of this out. In this article, I’m going to be telling you everything there is to know about picarones.
I’ll be writing a little bit about their history, what they are, how to make them, and what to do with it.
Read on for an all you need to know guide about this tasty Peruvian dessert.
What Are Picarones?
Picarones are a traditional dessert that come from Peru. They are similar to bunuelos, which is a type of Spanish doughnut.
Its main ingredients you need to make them are squash and sweet potato. They are shaped in a ring like a doughnut.
In Peru, they are traditionally served with anticuchos. Anticuchos are another type of dish originating from Peru.
This delicious sweet treat first began being made in Peru at the time of the colonial period.
They were invented to replace the aforementioned bunuelos, a type of doughnut popular in Spain.
The reason they began to be made more in place of bunuelos iis because bunuelos had become very expensive to make.
Therefore, Peruvians were looking for something tasty which would cost less to produce.
As Peruvians began to replace more and more of the expensive ingredients used to make bunuelos with squash and sweet potato, they accidentally invented picarones.
Picarones are very important to Peru’s cultural history. This beloved sweet treat is mentioned in all different types of Peruvian music, poetry, and novels.
Traditionally, these sweet ring shaped pastries are usually served along with chancaca syrup.
The syrup is usually poured over the picarones, or put in a bowl on the side in order to dip them in. The sweet flavor of the picarones go perfectly with the sugary syrup.
What Is Chancaca Syrup?
If trying different food from different cultures is your thing, then you might want to try picarones in the traditional way in which Peruvians eat them.
If this is the case, then you’ll need to learn what chancaca syrup is, and how to make this as well as the picarones.
Having been invented and popularized during the colonial period, picarones have been around in Peru for a long time. They come with a long history of how to make them, serve them, and eat them.
Traditionally, they are served either with chancaca syrup poured over them, or with chancaca syrup served in a side dish. You dip the picarones in the sweet syrup.
Chancaca syrup is a sweet syrup originating from South America, where it is widely popular. Variants of this syrup can be found all over South America, including in Peru, Bolivia, and Chile.
In Latin America, the word chancaca also means panela. Panela is the raw unrefined sugar, which comes from sugarcane, which is used to make chancaca syrup.
Chancaca syrup is sweet tasting and traditionally served warm. Since there are different variants in different parts of South America, it comes in all different shapes and sizes.
You might have it flavored with orange peel. Other times, however, it might come with a hint of cinnamon.
Chancaca syrup is also often served with sopaipillas, a type of fried pastry popular in South America. However, I would highly recommend that you try picarones with chancaca syrup.
Eating them with chancaca syrup poured over them, or dipping them in a side bowl of the syrup, is how they are traditionally eaten by Peruvians.
How To Make Picarones
So, now you know all about picarones in terms of what it is, where they come from, their history, and what they are traditionally served with.
There is only one obvious piece of information left to tell you: how to make this delicious dessert.
To make picarones is easy. With the right ingredients and correct cooking equipment, anyone can do it. It is really easy. The process takes about 2 hours and 30 minutes.
Making picarones is a simple process. However, as with any recipe, you need to make sure you have the correct ingredients.
Before you start the process of making the picarones, make sure you have the following ingredients.
To make picarones, you will need: 1 Tbsp of baking yeast, 1 tsp of sugar, 1 Tbsp of corn meal of ground corn, ¼ cup of water, ¼ Tbs of anise, ½ tsp of salt, 1 cup of beer, 3 cups of white flour, 1 to 2 cups of brown sugar, and another 1 cup of water.
You will also need two more ingredients which need to be a bit more specific.
The first is 1 cup of butternut squash, however this must be cooked and pureed in order to fit with the recipe.
The second more specific ingredient you will need is three shreds from a citrus fruit.
These can either come from a lemon, or an orange. Make your choice depending on what sounds more delicious, or go for a mix of both.
Personally, I would opt for the lemon, because I think the bitterness pairs perfectly with the sweetness of the picarones.
You won’t need too much lemon or orange shreds, as you don’t want the powerful flavor to overwhelm the tastes of the other ingredients.
Go for about 1 or 2 shreds. If you really want to, you could push this to 3 at the most.
You get a lot of reward for your efforts, as all this makes about 52 doughnuts. This is perfect if you want to share what you’ve made with a few friends, or family.
The Cooking Process
Now that you’ve got all the ingredients you need to make picarones, you can start cooking them.
Once you have everything you need, making them is the fun part. It should take about 2 hours and thirty minutes.
- Firstly, dissolve the yeast and sugar in a bowl of warm water.
- In a large bowl, mix together the cornmeal, anise, and salt. Also mix in 1 cup of the flour, and the beer. Add in the contents of the small bowl of yeast and sugar mixture.
- Next add the squash and 2 cups of the flour. Mix together until a dough is formed.
- Cover the mixture with a towel. Leave it in a warm place for two hours to let it rise. If you have more time, you could leave the mixture in a refrigerator for up to 12 hours to let it rise. If you choose this option, make sure the mixture is protected with film covering it.
- Next, heat the oil in a pan. Drop small pieces of the dough into the hot pan. Let them fry until they turn a golden color and look crispy.
- Drain excess oil from the picarones with a paper towel.
- Serve up on a plate, with a side bowl of chancaca syrup, and dig in.