Welcome back to the Christmas Around the World Series on The Storied Recipe Podcast!
This series began as a crowd-sourced post titled Christmas Desserts Around the World. As the Storied Recipe community shared their cherished Christmas recipes and the memories surrounding them, I really wanted to hear MORE. So I decided to expand on a few of these with a little mini series about Christmas traditions all around the world. You can find the entire series here.
We begin the 2023 Christmas Around the World series with Sofie Alarcon, sharing all about Christmas in Ecuador.
This is actually an interview I tried to get last year, after Sophie shared her recipe for Pristiños, the famous Ecuadorian Christmas pastry we’ll discuss today. Sofie recalls very cold December nights high in the Andes mountains making the warmest memories with her large extended family who gathered to sing and pray, sharing blankets and hot citrus drinks to guard against the chill in their unheated homes.
As for Sofie’s recipe, these crispy Ecuadorian fried pastries shaped like a crown, this is the only recipe in the history of The Storied Recipe that I really, truly failed to properly produce!! Fortunately, Sophie’s recipe is very easy - and of course, very delicious. As a citrus lover, Sofie’s Pristinos dough gets a zest lift. The real genius is in her Piloncillo syrup, made from Panela - a dark brown evaporated cane sugar - lots of citrus zest and all the warming Christmas spices, like cinnamon, anise, and cloves.
- Growing up in Quito, 9000 feet above sea level in the Andes Mountains, and no heat
- Why Sofie loves the change in seasons now
- 8 hours from beach to mountains to Amazon
- Praying the Novena 9 nights in a row, with each night representing a month of Mary’s pregnancy
- The best Christmas snacks Sofie and her family included each night
- The most popular Ecuadorian Christmas drink Canelazo
- The HUGE meal they ate on Noche Buena for Christmas
- Why Sofie loves to make personalized gifts and table settings
- All about Piloncillo/Pinela syrup
- Making Pristiños all together with her 12 cousins
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Sophie's Storied Recipe
Melissa and I laughed a lot as she shared many stories of her life in Ecuador, from chewing on sugar cane to making pristinos to going to Nationals as a triathlete! She also educates us on the processing of sugar. I was grateful for some of her best frying tips. We also learn from Melissa how her grandmother raised 9 children on very little money and Melissa's mother taught her how to do with less. Finally, Melissa discusses the experience of living in America as a second culture and the very simple thing we can do to welcome others to our home culture.
More Christmas Around the World Recipes
- 161 Christmas in Indonesia with M. Aimee Tan
- 160 Christmas in Bruderhof with Diana Rutherford
- Christmas Traditions Around the World (Podcast Interviews)
- 146 Christmas in Norway with Alexandra Taylor
- 145 Christmas in South Africa with Kate Jack
- 144 Christmas in the Valley of the Kings, France
- 143 Christmas in Alicante with Mar Lozano
- 142 Christmas in Palestine with Mai Kakish
More Christmas Desserts Around the World
- Indonesian Butter Cookies with Pandan, Cheese, and Coconut
- Traditional Mincemeat Tarts 3 Ways (British Christmas Pies)
- How to Make Povitica Bread with Walnut Cinnamon Swirl
- Best Vegan Frosted Cookies (Vegan Christmas Cookies)
- Zabaglione (Zabaione): Easy Italian Custard With Eggs
- Chocolate Covered Rich Buttery Toffee
- South African Peppermint Crisp Tart
- Easy Christmas Truffles: Chocolate Mint Balls from Norway
Thanks to Parmigiano Reggiano for sponsoring the Christmas Around the World episode!
- Thanks to Parmigiano Reggiano, THE cheese of the holiday season, for sponsoring this Christmas Around the World series.
- Parmigiano Reggiano is not just another parmesan, it is in a class all its own - beginning with its own Storied Recipe.
- You see, almost 900 years ago in 1254, Benedictine monks, living in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy, created this cheese to extend the shelf-life of the large quantity of milk their healthy cattle were producing.
- During the 1300s and 1400s, these monks had a monopoly on this exact parmesan cheese and exported it to different regions of Italy. As the cheese became more popular, it spread to the rest of Europe -
- And now, almost a millennia later, you can be part of this storied tradition at your own holiday gathering - as long as you choose Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
- If you choose any other cheese, you won’t be guaranteed a part in this Storied Recipe. Only when choosing Parmigiano Reggiano are you guaranteed a cheese made from just 3 simple ingredients, made and aged in this exclusive region of Italy, using ancient techniques developed by monks, and from cows fed ONLY with natural products - without the use of silage, fermented feeds, or animal flour.
- Find Parmigiano Reggiano cheese at Albertsons, Kroger, Meijer, Food Lion, Wakefern, Publix, & Shop Rite and look for Parmigiano Reggiano
- I’m so proud to be sponsored by Italy’s finest cheese and this season, you can also be proud to feature this exclusive cheese to pair with any of the global desserts my guest’s are sharing, with your holiday spirits, or as an appetizer to your own favorite dish.