A Christmas staple in Robert Ortiz's native Peru, picarones make a wonderful dessert or tasty snack for a party. In this picarones recipe, the sweets are made from pumpkin and sweet potato purée, flavoured with aniseed and served with chancaca syrup, made from grated raw sugar and honey.
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Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4
Cut the pumpkin into large chunks and place into the oven with the whole sweet potato. Cook until soft and tender for approximately 60-75 minutes but do not allow to colour
400g of sweet potato
500g of pumpkin, puree
Remove from the oven, allow to cool slightly, then remove and discard the skin. Separately, add the soft pumpkin and sweet potato to a ricer or mouli and pass through until smooth - the purées will be used for step 5
Reduce the oven temperature to 76°C
Dissolve the yeast in the water with the sugar and salt. Measure out 300g of the sweet potato purée and 300g of pumpkin purée, then add to a bowl with the flour, anise seeds and eggs, blending and mixing well to form a dough. Place in the fridge to rest for 1 hour
50g of yeast
60g of sugar
3g of salt
400g of plain flour
5g of anise seeds
100ml of water, lukewarm
Use a mandoline to slice the blue potatoes as thinly as possible. Lay out onto a baking tray lined with white parchment paper and sprinkle with icing sugar. Cover with another sheet of parchment and bake in the oven for 2 hours
150g of blue potatoes, washed
50g of icing sugar
Meanwhile, make the chancaca honey. Combine the grated chancaca with the remaining ingredients in a pan. Boil for approximately 20 minutes until it reaches a syrupy consistency, then whisk well and pass through a fine sieve
250g of chancaca, grated
250ml of water
1 orange, peel only
2 dried figs
cinnamon, 1 very small piece
To form the picarones, rub your hands with a little oil (this will stop them sticking to the dough) and form small balls of the dough. Deep-fry in the oil at 160°C until golden brown, then turn over so they achieve a nice even colour. Drain on kitchen paper and drizzle with the chancaca syrup
1000ml of vegetable oil, for frying
Serve hot with some ricotta and crispy potatoes
200g of ricotta, or other fresh cheese
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