Picarones is a classical dessert found in almost any Peruvian eatery.  They are wonderful donuts made with sweet potatoes and pumpkin. They have no sugar.  They are generally served with syrup, which provides the sweetness, so you can gauge how much sugar you eat it with making this a low sugar, high fiber, vitamin rich dessert.  I think they are also delicious, on their own!

1/2 pound calabaza  pumpkin
1/2 pound orange sweet potatoes aka yams
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground aniseseed
4 cups flour
1 envelope yeast

Fill a large pot with water to cover and the pumpkin and sweet potato. Cook until they are tender. Drain the vegetables and mash them until very smooth. Mix in the salt, aniseed, and flour.

Soften the yeast in 1/4 cup of lukewarm water for about 10 minutes. Mix the yeast with the flour, mashed vegetables, aniseseed and salt to make a firm dough, adding more water if necessary.  Knead the dough until it is smooth and satiny, about 5 minutes. Place it in a bowl, cover with a cloth, and allow to stand in a warm place for 2 or 3 hours, or until it has doubled in size.

Dough after it has risen

 With floured hands, pull off pieces of dough by tablespoons and shape them into rings. Deep fry them in hot oil until they are golden brown on both sides. 

 To make syrup:

2 cups piloncillo (used in Latin America and in India it is called jaggery.  It is a concentrated sugar made from pure sugar cane), chopped (alternatively, you can use brown sugar)
Frying Picarones
1 cup water
1 piece of orange peel

1 piece of lemon peel

Boil until sugar is dissolved and liquid has thickened to syrup consistency.  Remove citrus peels.

Drain donuts and serve hot with syrup.

Chef Mireille

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