This recipe for Pristinos was shared by my podcast guest Melissa Sampedro. In Episode 009 Melissa 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 Pristinos. After forming the pristinos into a ring, they cut slits through the edges. This way, the pastry resembles a crown. The crown is in celebration of the kings that brought gifts to the baby Jesus. This is why pristinos are made for Christmas and New Year in Ecuador. Melissa and her cousins would load the pristinos onto a tray, then give them to her grandmother to deep fry in the kitchen.
Pristino dough is a very simple dough. 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!
When sharing her recipe with me, Melissa also shared a recipe for a mango dipping sauce. She says her grandmother would be very upset to hear she makes a mango sauce to go with her pristinos. A more traditional sauce is simply made with panela, a South American black sugar.
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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.
One note on this recipe
Melissa observes a mostly vegan lifestyle, which she also discusses in the episode. However, she mentioned that pristinos are usually made with eggs. I included the recipe that Melissa gave me exactly as she shared it, which is without eggs. However, when making the recipe to take these photos, I did include one egg in the mixture.