Saturday, April 12, 2008

Piccarones a Peruvian Treat

Peru happens to be one of my favorite countries. It has such varied terrain, including lakes, mountains, rain forests and delicious food! One memory that especially stands out is my visit to Lake Titicaca and an overnight stay on the island of Amantani. Since our next stop after Lake Titicaca was going to be the four day Inca trail, our guide made sure we got in some walks on Amantani island that would help us acclimatize to the high altitude.

Soon after we landed on the island by boat after visiting Taquile island, we were greeted by our "Mum" who was hosting us on the island. Our 'Mum' showed us our room and after we had settled in and freshened up, we met our guide. We then began a short hike up to Pachatata which was one of the two highest peaks on the island. Pachamama was the other highest peak. Pachatata means Father Earth and Pachamama means Mother Earth and each of the sites have temple ruins that can be viewed. While it was a short walk up, we were breathless because of the high altitude.

Close to the top, we were delighted to be treated to Piccarones! Piccarones look like donuts, but are made with pumpkin and served with a bitter sweet syrup. This made for a delicious snack along with some Cocoa tea which is known to help with altitude sickness. In addition, the 360 degree views we were rewarded with were amazing. This was something I wanted imprinted in my permanent memory.

In Cuzco, I managed to buy a box of Piccarones mix, which also included the syrup. Back home, one lazy Sunday afternoon I followed the instructions on the box and made this lovely treat. I then started looking up recipes to try and recreate the Piccarone. Here is a link to a recipe I found. I am hoping to try it out soon and will be sure to report back!


1/2 cup pumpkin cooked and strained
1/4 cup water in which the pumpkin was cooked
1 tablespoon yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
3 cups flour
1 cup milk
Frying Oil


In a beater mix the pumpkin puree gradually adding the milk. Then add the flour and cornstarch beating constantly. Add the yeast (Which has previously been dissolved in the hot pumpkin water with the sugar). Mix to a smooth paste and place in a bowl. Heat the oven to 300 F. and place the bowl inside the oven for a minute. Turn the oven off and leave the dough inside the oven for 45 minutes giving time to raise. In a large skillet or deep frying pan add plenty of oil to heat. Dip the fingers into the mixture and drop it into the hot oil trying to shape them as a doughnut. Fry until golden and well puffed up. Serve with a syrup made of sugar loaf, orange peels and cinnamon sticks.

Approaching Pachatata

Piccarones being made on an outdoor stove.

Views of Lake Titicaca from our Mum's house.

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