October might seem like a typical month everywhere else in the world, in most countries it’s mostly known for Halloween. But especially in Peru, this month comes with a religious tint and a delicious taste enjoyed for many, many generations now. October is the month were the Procession of the Lord of Miracles is held in many parts of the world. This festivity involves seeing a lot of purple on the streets, a strong smell of incense, religious ceremonies dedicated to this saint-like figure and of course people eatingPeruvian turron everywhere.
If you’re just getting to knowPeruvian turron, you curious about this amazing dessert, it’s ingredients, how it was first prepared and how to enjoy it keep reading this article.
Peruvian turron is actually a tropicalization of a Spanish snack called nougat, or alba nougat. This Spanish nougat consists of a dough made from almonds, pine nuts, hazelnuts and walnuts mixed with honey and sugar. As for the Peruvian version of this dessert, it is made with wheat flour, butter, egg, milk and grained anise. This dough is slowly baked in long and thin layers.
Once the strokes or layers are cooked they are placed in a pile like Jenga pieces. After that the snack is bathed in brown sugar syrup, or “miel de chancaca”. This type of honey syrup is an important African contribution to Peruvian gastronomy, because it basically sets the characteristic flavor of the turron. Miel de chancaca is prepared not only with sugar cane but also with other ingredients such as pineapple, orange, quince, cinnamon and clove.
To wrap upPeruvian turron, the dessert is decorated and sprinkled with several types of candy. Among these candies we find colored hard candies, toffee balls, sugar sticks, little assorted figurines like stars, hearts, moons, etc and pieces of fig in syrup.
The actual full name ofPeruvian turron is actually “turrón de Doña Pepa”, and some people claim in the nineteenth Century it was also referred to as “turron de miel” or “turrón del Señor de los Milagros”
There are different theories or popular stories that tell the beginning ofPeruvian turron. The first one and possibly the most known one is about Josefa Marmanillo, a slave in the eighteenth Century who had great culinary abilities but began suffering from paralysis in her arms. Looking for a miracle from Christ Pachacamilla, she made a pilgrimage to Lima, where her devotion helped her recover. As a thank you she prepared the delicious turron to parishioners all the way to The Lord of Miracles; finally becoming known as “turrones de Doña Pepa”.
A second version ofPeruvian turron and its origins speaks of a contest held by a viceroy. This viceroy enjoyed sweets and wanted to find a snack that would last for days without losing its flavor. Doña Pepa entered the contest and of course won thanks to her turron dessert.
It doesn’t matter which version is true, bottom line is Peruvian turron is heavily associated with El Señor de los Milagros (Lord of Miracles) and it’s religious festivities held in October. For the past decades this dessert has been spread throughout this month and it makes people count the days to taste it again.
How to enjoy this dessert
Peruvian turron is, without a doubt, the most emblematic dessert of October (also known as the purple month in Peru). But ever since the days when people eagerly awaited for the festivities to arrive to get a taste of the delicious turron de Doña Pepa, this dessert has spread to many places and eaten at any time of the year. And if you consider yourself a total sweet tooth you can accompanyPeruvian turron with other sweets such as Arroz con Leche, Mazamorra morada and deliciousPicarones.