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The 7 Churros of Peru and Picarones recipe

Posted on October 25 2014

Churros are a favorite of all Latin American countries but churros are not the only fried doughs that exist. In Peru I found the most variety of  fried sweet doughs of any country I have every travelled to. Which makes sense since Peru claims to have the most variety of everything; corn, potatoes, fish, passion fruits, etc. Below are the versions that I found and I will leave you with a recipe for Picarones which are the most famous fried dough snacks of Peru. Technically it’s not a churro but it is a sweet fried dough and all this falls under the Spanish family of “frutas de sartén” or fruits of the skillet also known as sweet fried doughs. 

1. Churros Caseros

These are a flour, oil, and water mix sprinkled with sugar or bathed in a sweet syrup. The shape is often long and thick. 

churros peru

2. Churros

Classic star shaped without  any pronounced flavor or spices. This churro is something you would dip in chocolate hence the plain flavor of the fried dough. 

churros manolo peru

churros manolo

3. Anise Churros

With egg, anise and sugar. Anise is a popular spice for flavoring desserts in Peru. You can find these only from street vendors. 

Anise churros peru

4. Stuffed Churros

You can find churros stuffed with dulce de leche/arequipe, chocolate sauce or fruit jam. In Lima, Manolo is the place to buy them. 

stuffed churros peru

5. Camote Churros

The orange tint of these churros comes from sweet potatoes. I only found these from street vendors in Cusco and they were constantly running away from the local police since they didn’t have sellers permits. So if you see them you need to buy them quick!

sweet potato churros peru

Sweet potato churros peru

6. Yuca Churros:

Called Yuquitas locally, these have yuca flour, wheat flour, egg, sugar, yeast, and salt. These are incredible! These are very difficult to find, I found mine in the San Salvador district of Lima. You can’t find them in Miraflores. When I search for recipes on the internet I get a version that is fried yuca root. These are nothing like fried yuca. These are more like dense doughuts made with yuca flour. 

yuquitas peru

7. Picarones

This is the most famous fried dough of Peru, even though fried doughs were introduced by Spain, Peruvians adopted this recipe and added native zapallo and camote (pumpkin family)These are the most ubiquitous and also served widely in fine dining restaurants around Lima. These are always topped with a panela (piloncillo or chancaca) syrup that has been spiced with cinnamon, cloves, and fig leaves. 

picarones peru

picarones miel peru

  

Picarones Recipe

2  lbs of sweet potato
1 lb  of zapallo (or pumpkin with green skin)
1 cinnamon stick
1 tblsp of whole anise
2 cloves
3 tblsp of sugar
2 oz of instant yeast
3 cups of flour (1 lb 5ounces)
oil for frying
 
For the sauce:
400 grams of panela, piloncillo, chancaca
2 cinnamon sticks
1 orange (zest only)
1 fig leaf (leave out if you can’t find one)
6 whole cloves
Boil all ingredients with 2 cups of water until it thickens and becomes a syrup. Strain and set aside. 

Steps:
1. Boil the sweet potato, pumpkin, cinnamon stick, anise and cloves. Remove the pumpkin and sweet potato and puree. Reserve 1.5cups of the liquid. 
2. Use 1 cup of reserved liquid and add the instant yeast and sugar. Let sit for 10 minutes until it grows. 
3. Mix the liquid/yeast with puree and flour and remaining half cup of liquid. Mix well. Place in a bowl, cover with towel and let sit for 2  hours. Make sure bowl is big enough to support the growth of the dough. 
4. Heat oil to 330F (165C). With moist hands take a bit of the dough and form a ring; drop in the oil and using a wooden chop stick rotate from the center. Flip once it turns light brown. Remove from oil and let sit on a plate lined with a paper towel.  Watch this video for frying technique.

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