Picarones are Peruvian spiced sweet potato and pumpkin donuts. They’re also served with a warm sauce that you’ll want to drizzle all over yourself, too.
1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into medium-sized cubes
1/2 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon anise seed
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 tablespoon active dry yeast
Oil for frying
For the syrup: 3/4 cup light brown sugar 2 tablespoons molasses 1 cinnamon stick 4-5 cloves 1/2 one navel orange 1/3 cup water
In a pot, add sweet potato, anise seeds, cinnamon stick, and water to cover. Boil and cook until the potatoes are soft. Drain the potatoes and reserve 1/4 cup of the liquid. Mash the potatoes and mix with pumpkin puree. In a mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast and sugar the warm (not too hot) reserved liquid. Let sit for about 4-5 minutes until foamy.
To the foamy yeast mixture, add sweet potato and pumpkin mixture, and egg. Then slowly incorporate the flour with a dough hook. After 5 minutes, the dough should be slightly elastic and sticky. Cover with a clean kitchen towel, and let rise in a warm spot to double in size.
Meanwhile, make the syrup: in a saucepan, combine water, sugar, molasses, cinnamon stick, cloves, the juice of half an orange and its peel. Bring to a boil and then lower heat to simmer for about 10-15 minutes. Once thickened, strain to remove the orange peel and spices. Set aside.
Once the dough has risen, heat oil to 350°F. Wet fingers in some water and grab a small handful of dough. Create a hole in the center with your thumb and stretch the dough into a ring. Carefully place in oil and use the handle of a wooden or chopstick to spin and fry the donuts. Remove once golden brown and crispy, and drain on a paper towels.
Serve immediately and drizzle with the syrup.