October is almost here and “Turrón de Doña Pepa” starts popping up in Lima’s grocery stores, pastry shops, local markets and street food stalls. It is a never-ending tradition that Limeños love it. Actually, it is quite common seeing Peruvians eating “Turron de Doña Pepa” in every season of the year, due to the special flavor of this dessert adn the fact that you can always find it in the big stores, but just that you know this is a dessert traditionally eaten in October, which is considered the “purple month” (literally mes morado) in Lima. During this month Peruvians celebrate the Lord of Miracles (Señor de los Milagros), which is one of the most prominent religious festivals in the country. In October you will see the purple color everywhere, you will bump into people dressed with traditional purple clothes adn purple decorations in the streets of Lima, as well as folkloristic religious parades. “Turrón de Doña Pepa” is a sticky anise-flavored pastry, filled with “chancaca” syrup (a sort of honey) and topped with colorful candies and sprinkles. I can ensure you that the explosion of flavors in your mouth is worth the experience. Be careful…this dessert is addictive, spooon after spoon you will finish an entire block of “Turrón de Doña Pepa” without even noticing it!
Here the recipe for this delicious and traditional dessert:
For the dough:
5 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup butter
3 egg yolks
5 spoons of anise extract
1 teaspoon of salt
For the syrup:
1.1 lb Chancaca (it is a sort of solid Molasses)
½ cup of water
For the decoration:
To make the dough, swift the dry ingredients and mix them with butter. Add the egg yolks and anise water. Knead the pastry until it is soft. Then make rolls of ½ inch diameter and 9 inches long approximately. Place the anise cookie rolls in a baking sheet previously greased placing them about an inch from each other. Preheat the oven to 350° F and bake for 25 minutes, until they are golden brown and let them cool.
To make the honey, simmer all the ingredients together approximately for 40 minutes until the mix reaches 238° F, we suggest you to measure the temperature with a thermometer. If a thermometer is not available, fill a glass with cold water and toss a drop of the honey and see if the honey becomes a soft ball. If ready, let it cool. On a tray, place a layer of rolls, once they chill enough, one next to each other and pour the cold honey. Repeat layers of rolls and honey and finish with honey and cover the top generously with colorful candies and sprinkles, you can also add prunes if you like.
Before serving the “Turrón” in slices, wait for at least a couple of hours until it is completely cool.