Hello friends of Paulina Cocina! In this new installment we are going to talk about some sweets with a nice name that are typical of Peruvian gastronomy: picarones.

We are talking about sweets that resemble fritters, but they have some differences that we are going to tell you about in this note. Are fried, fluffy and sweet delightsare an invitation to the tradition of Peru, and if you are planning a visit to that country, you cannot stop trying them.

Meanwhile, for those of us at home, we leave you all the tips to do the picarones recipe in the home, in addition to its history and some secrets of its origin.

About picarones: A Classic Sweet of Peruvian Gastronomy

Los picarones They are Peruvian sweets that combine the best of two worlds: indigenous tradition and Spanish influence. These are rings of fried dough, made with native ingredients such as pumpkin and chancaca honey. These sweets, with their spongy texture and unmatched flavor, have become a traditional delicacy in Peruvian festivities and celebrations. They even have their own day, October 26, when celebrations are held and new varieties of this delicacy are presented.

4 Characteristics of picarones

  1. Incomparable fluffiness: The mixture of flour, pumpkin and yeast gives Peruvian picarones a unique texture, soft on the inside and crunchy on the outside.
  2. Irresistible aromas: The combination of spices such as anise and cloves, which are added to honey, create a delicious perfume.
  3. touch of sweetness: Bathed in chancaca honey, they are immersed in a sweet bath that highlights their authentic flavors.
  4. Cultural heritage: These fried rings are not just a delicacy, they are an integral part of the Peruvian gastronomic identity, transmitted from generation to generation.

The Peruvian Picarones: Origins and Secrets

Peruvian picarones have their roots in the fusion of cultures and traditions. Its origin dates back to prehispanic erain which the indigenous communities created sweets with pumpkin or sweet potatotwo abundant ingredients in the Andes region.

Then, during the viceroyalty and the Spanish influence that the tradition of classic wind buñuelos had, a fusion of ingredients was carried out and wheat flour, yeast, spices, and the addition of chancaca honey were added, a sweetener derived from sugar cane.

This sweet became popular especially in local celebrations and religious festivities such as the Lord of Miracles, considered one of the most important processions worldwide.

Today, picarones are an emblem of Peruvian food, as well as chaufa rice or Peruvian causa, recognized by locals and foreigners who cannot stop trying them when visiting the country.

Creative Picarones Varieties: explore flavors and textures

The versatility of this preparation allows you to experiment with different ingredients and presentations. Although the classic recipe is the most beloved, some creative chefs have explored variations, incorporating other ingredients.

  • Fillings: From melted chocolate to fresh fruit or even special creams, stuffed picarones offer an explosion of unexpected flavors in every bite.
  • Sweet potato: Instead of exclusively using pumpkin, some regions have experimented with sweet potato as a main ingredient. This adds a slightly different touch to the texture and flavor of the traditional recipe.
  • From quinoa: This variant provides a different flavor profile and adds a healthy component to the classic recipe.
  • From corn: Some regions explore the possibility of including corn flour in the preparation of Peruvian picarones, providing a unique texture and slightly more robust flavor.
  • Salty: These can include fillings such as cheese, meat or even seafood, offering a savory option for those looking for something different.
  • Of colors: For festive occasions and special celebrations, some places have introduced a touch of color. This is achieved by adding natural dyes to the dough, creating a visual spectacle that complements its characteristic flavor.

Unique Ingredients for Exquisite Picarones

Chancaca Honey: The base of this honey is chancaca, a raw, solid sugar obtained from sugar cane juice. To obtain the honey used in picarones, chancaca is dissolved in hot water to create a thick and sweet liquid (called syrup). This ingredient not only adds flavor, but is an essential part of the dessert.

The Picarones Mass: The spongy texture and unmistakable flavor of picarones come from its dough, which is made up of flour, pumpkin, yeast and a mixture of spices. The careful combination of these ingredients guarantees a perfect dough that will be transformed into delicious fried rings.

Use of Yeast: Incorporating yeast into the dough is a critical step. It facilitates fermentation, which is key for the picarones to acquire their characteristic lightness and sponginess. This process is essential for these fried sweets to achieve the perfect texture that makes them irresistible.

Each of these ingredients plays an important role in the picarones recipe, turning what could be a simple buñuelo into a true Peruvian gastronomic experience.

How to prepare perfect Picarones: 9 Tips

  • Fresh pumpkin: Use fresh pumpkin for a smooth texture and authentic flavor.
  • Oil temperature: The oil must be at the right temperature to achieve uniform and crispy frying.
  • Precise seasoning: Don’t skimp on spices; anise and clove are essential to achieve the characteristic flavor.
  • Hot chancaca honey: Heat the honey before dipping the sweets. This will help it adhere well to the surface of the picarones, providing a delicious glaze.
  • Homogeneous mixture: Make sure the dough is well mixed and homogeneous. This is achieved by integrating all the ingredients evenly, avoiding lumps in the dough.
  • Dough fermentation: Allow the dough to rest as long as necessary for it to ferment. This will contribute to the characteristic fluffiness.
  • Size control: By forming each they stung, control the size so that they cook evenly. They should not be too large so that the inside cooks properly.
  • Appropriate utensils: Chopsticks like those used for oriental food are usually used to make the central hole, manipulate and remove them from the hot oil.
  • Serve hot: Peruvian sweets are most delicious when served hot. This highlights its spongy texture and the chancaca honey glaze.

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Picarones Recipe

Portions: 8 servings

Preparation time: 2 hours and half


For the mass:

  • 2 cups pumpkin, peeled and cut into small pieces
  • 3 cups of wheat flour
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 1 cup of warm water
  • 1 tablespoon dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon anise powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • Vegetable oil for frying

For the chancaca honey:

  • 1 pan of chancaca (approximately 250 g)
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 bunch of cinnamon (optional)

How to make picarones step by step

  1. Cook the squash in boiling water until tender. Then drain, reserving the cooking water. Crush until it becomes a fine puree.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the flour, cornstarch, salt, anise and cloves. Separately, dissolve the yeast in warm water and wait for it to activate (approximately 5 minutes).
  3. Add the pumpkin puree to the flour mixture. Add the activated yeast and mix well with your hands until you obtain a homogeneous dough. If necessary, add part of the reserved cooking water. There must be an elastic dough. Cover and let it rest until it doubles in size.
  4. Meanwhile, in a pot, place the chancaca and the cup of water with a cinnamon stick. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until completely dissolved and a slightly thick mixture remains. Remove the cinnamon and reserve.
  5. To cook the picarones, heat enough oil in a deep frying pan over medium heat. Wet your hands and take small portions of dough. Throw them into the oil carefully and when they are cooking, make the hole with the help of a wooden toothpick.
  6. Fry until golden brown and remove with the help of a toothpick. Place them on absorbent paper to remove excess oil.
  7. Dip the picarones in the chancaca honey, making sure to cover them completely. Serve hot.
easy recipe for homemade picarones

Source: www.paulinacocina.net

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