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  • Writer's pictureCecilia Tupac

Peruvian Picarones Recipe

Peruvian Picarones Recipe

Picarones may resemble your average doughnut at first glance, but these deep-fried delicacies are truly unique! In this article, we'll delve into everything you need to know about this beloved Peruvian street food and share a step-by-step guide on how to prepare delicious Picarones in your own kitchen.

What are Picarones?

Peru is renowned for its vibrant street food scene, but if there's one sweet treat that epitomises the country, it's Picarones! Crafted from an unexpected blend of squash and sweet potato, these delectable doughnuts are infused with aniseed flavour and served piping hot, generously drenched in a luscious syrup known as "Chancaca."

Inspired by Spanish buñelos, the roots of Picarones can be traced back to Peru's colonial era. Over time, indigenous Peruvian ingredients such as sweet potatoes and squash were incorporated, giving rise to the beloved and distinctly Peruvian dessert we cherish today!

Nowadays, these sweet and indulgent doughnuts can be found in bustling markets and city centers across Peru, especially during the nation's festivals and special events, such as Peruvian Independence Day.

What is Chancaca?

Also known as "Panela" or "Piloncillo" in other Latin American countries, Chancaca is an unrefined cane sugar commonly utilized in Peruvian cuisine. To produce it, sugar cane juice is boiled and evaporated until it condenses into a dense, dark brown block or cone.

Characterised by its rich, caramel-like flavour and subtle hints of molasses, chancaca serves as a versatile sweetener in a multitude of dishes and beverages. It pairs particularly well with Picarones, adding a decadent touch when drizzled over these delightful doughnuts.

Where can I find Picarones in Lima?

Picarones Recipe

With its vibrant culinary scene, Lima is the perfect place to indulge in Picarones, and there's no shortage of venues where you can savor authentic and delicious offerings.

  1. Street Vendors: While exploring Lima's popular districts like Miraflores or Barranco, keep an eye out for street vendors offering fresh and crispy Picarones. Often found along bustling streets or in parks, these vendors serve up these delightful treats throughout the day and night. You'll easily spot their food carts adorned in Peru's red and white colours, especially in "Parque Kennedy."

  2. Traditional Markets: Lima boasts numerous bustling food markets, such as Mercado de Surquillo or Mercado Central, where you can discover homemade Picarones along with a myriad of other vibrant culinary delights. Immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of these markets while indulging in these beloved fritters.

  3. Restaurants or Cafes: If you prefer a sit-down experience, many restaurants and cafes in Lima offer Picarones on their dessert menus. Look for establishments that specialise in traditional Peruvian cuisine for an authentic taste of these delectable treats.

  4. Food Festivals and Events: As a bustling metropolis with over 11 million residents, Lima hosts numerous food festivals and events throughout the year. Keep an eye on online listings for upcoming festivities, as you're likely to find vendors serving up Picarones alongside a diverse array of culinary delights. Don't miss the opportunity to indulge in these beloved Peruvian treats during your time in Lima!

How to make Picarones

How to make Picarones

Making Picarones does take a bit of patience (and practice!), but the end result is well worth the effort! Here's a step-by-step guide to preparing Picarones:

  1. Prepare the Dough: Boil and mash squash and sweet potato until it becomes a smooth puree. Mix this with flour, yeast, sugar, anise, and water to form your dough. Leave the dough to rest for at least an hour or two until it doubles in size.

  2. Shaping and Frying: Once the dough has risen, we need to shape it. Picones look a lot like giant onion rings, and whilst it looks easy enough to get this ring shape, it can take. a bit of practice. Deep fry the dough rings until golden brown and crispy on the outside, while remaining soft and fluffy on the inside.

  3. Make the Chancaca: Chancaca is typically prepared by boiling chancaca, cinnamon, cloves and orange peel in water until thick and syrupy. If you can't find chancaca, have a look at Indian/Asian supermarkets for "Panela".

  4. Serving: Serve your Picarones hot, drizzle the chancaca syrup on top and enjoy!

Picarones Recipe

For a full step-by-step recipe, check out the full video below:

Ingredientes to make Picarones

Picarones Dough:

  • 600 gr of plain flour

  • 1 cup of sweet potato or pumpkin water or more normal. It depends on the flour you use, some absorb more water, others do not.

  • 40 g of fresh yeast (To activate the yeast you will need 100 ml of sweet potato or pumpkin water) or 15 g of dry yeast (50 ml of sweet potato or pumpkin water)

  • 3 tablespoons of anise grains (to taste)

  • 100 gr of pumpkin puree

  • 500 gr of sweet potato puree

  • 40 gr of granulated white sugar

Chancaca Syrup:

  • 1/2 cup of chancaca

  • 1 cup of water

  • 1 cinnamon stick to taste

  • 4 units of cloves

  • 1/2 orange (juice)

  • 1/2 fig leaf

  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar

  • 1 unit of star anise or 1/2 teaspoon of anise grain


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