Welcome to The Storied Recipe, a podcast about food, culture, and love! This recipe for Pristiños and Piloncillo Syrup comes from my podcast guest, Sofie Alarcon. Make sure you listen to her episode, Christmas in Ecuador, while you make her delicious Delicious Ecuadorian Pristiños with Miel de Panela (Piloncillo Syrup)!
These delicious Pristinos & Syrup from my podcast guest, Sophie Alcaron are an Ecuadorian Christmas (and New Year's) tradition that the rest of the world will love!
Pristiños are made from a simple (and delicious!) dough, rolled very, very thinly, then cut into long strips, and shaped into circles. Slits are cut all around the circle, making the Pristiños in the shape of a crown.
In my opinion, the real magic comes from the Piloncillo syrup, which is made from Panela (see below for more on this amazing sugar), lots of zested citrus (at least in Sophie's recipe), and all the warming Christmas spices - cinnamon, anise, and cloves.
Before Sofie shared this traditional recipe (infused with her love of citrus), another podcast guest, Melissa Sampedro, gave me a Vegan Pristinos recipe with Mango Black Sugar Sauce. You can read hers here!
- Sofie's Memories of Pristiños
- Listen to Sofie's Episode: Christmas in Ecuador
- Follow The Storied Recipe in Your Favorite Player
- History and Meaning of Pristiños in South America
- What is Panela?
- Top tip
- Serve With
- Frying Safety
- More Central or South American Recipes
- More Christmas Desserts Around the World
- Pristiños with Piloncillo Syrup Recipe
Sofie's Memories of Pristiños
Here's what Sofie said about her love of Pristiños, which her grandmother made any time of the year:
Because the first thing that comes to mind when we talk about Christmas is Pristiños are deep fried crunchy pastries in the shape of a crown, served with panela syrup (piloncillo or brown sugar syrup). I remember that as kids, my grandma, my mom, my aunts, and cousins always gathered to make 'pristiños.' It's a recipe that brings everyone together, and anyone can join and have fun. And since they are fried and crispy, who doesn't love them, right? They are delicious when freshly made. In my home, we make them every Christmas when the whole family gathers at my parents' house. Now that the family is spread out, we don't make them as often, but I've made them here for my husband.
I love the smell of Kitchen when we make the spiced syrup, it smells like Christmas (the cinnamon , cloves, and anis seeds).
Listen to Sofie's Episode: Christmas in Ecuador
Follow The Storied Recipe in Your Favorite Player
History and Meaning of Pristiños in South America
The first time I tried a recipe for Pristiños, it was this Vegan Pristiños recipe shared by my podcast guest Melissa Sampedro, who shares memories of gathering with her cousins in the cold room of her grandmother's house with a brick oven. Together in that room, they would talk and laugh and roll batches of these pristiños. Melissa explains that the crown is in celebration of the kings that brought gifts to the baby Jesus. This is why pristiños are made for Christmas Eve (Nochebueno) and New Year's Day in Ecuador.
What is Panela?
- Panela is a type of sugar made from boiling sugar cane until all the moisture evaporates.
- The result is a very, very hard cone (or sphere, in the type that I bought) of flavorful sugar that hasn't been stripped of the nutrients that naturally occur in sugarcane.
- Pristiños is a traditional Andean pastry made at Christmastime, usually for large family gatherings, and coated in a simple, spiced syrup. Both podcast guests that shared this recipe had memories of sitting around a table with lots of cousins, shaping the dough in whatever shapes their imaginations gave them.
- Pristino dough is a very simple dough to make.
- Even better, Melissa assured me that there is no right or wrong way to make Pristinos. In fact, she says that you may receive a different version of Pristinos from every home in Ecuador!
- Some recipes call for spiced water, but Sophie leaves all the spice to the syrup and flavors her dough with orange zest alone.
- Don't do what I did! I shaped the dough, then cut the slits once they were formed into circles.
- Instead, it will be easier if you cut the slits along the side of the dough before you shape them into circles.
This traditional Andean pastry made at Christmastime is served with other classic Ecuadorian Christmas favorites:
- Canelazo: According to Sophie, this "Is a popular Ecuadorian beverage made from naranjilla fruit, which is native to the Andes region of South America. This refreshing drink is prepared by blending naranjilla pulp with water, sugar, local sugar cane alcohol called punta or aguardiente and cinnamon. It has a tangy and slightly sweet flavor, often likened to a combination of pineapple and citrus. It's a popular choice to warm up during the Christmas season."
- Dulce de Higos - Figs in syrup
- Everything goes with a cup of coffee 😉
- In general, as with all fried dishes, these should be made and eaten fresh.
- If you're in a hurry, you can mix the dry and wet ingredients for the dough separately in advance, then mix the day you'll be shaping and frying the Pristinos.
Frying yields delicious results, but it can be quite dangerous. Here are a few tips:
- Never, ever allow water into the fryer or the hot oil. It will splatter dangerously. Make sure your utensils are quite dry.
- Don't Overfill the Pot or Pan: To prevent hot oil from overflowing and causing a fire, avoid overfilling the frying pot or pan. When food is added, the oil level may rise, and overcrowding the pot can lead to dangerous spills. It's generally recommended to fill the pot or pan no more than halfway with oil. This precaution helps maintain control over the frying process and reduces the risk of accidents.