As we get close, its scent overwhelms us. It makes us think of its dark color and the rhythms of the rhythms of drums as it dances on our tongue with every bite. Peru’s African American tradition gives us its full splendor with this delicious dessert.
Pudding (mazamorra) is a popular dessert in various Latin American countries. Its name comes from Spanish cuisine even though the dishes themselves are generally considered to come from the vairous Pre-Columbian, native cultures in the regions where the puddings are found.
This sweet has been eaten sin Pre-Hispanic times. In the highlands it was given the name of api which included drinks and desserts made from purple corn, pumpkins, opr other fruits. The key was the thickening of the dessert with corn. In Lima, the custom is to use potato starch (harina de chuña). In fact pudding is so popular in Lima that its people are called mazamoreros (pudding makers) becaue of the great pleasure they take in their puddings.
The most wellknown of the puddings is made from purple corn. Though especially popular in Lima, the sweet is known throughout Peru. Its great taste pleases anyone who tries it.
Besides this great pudding, called mazamorra morada. We have another great pudding, the mazamorra de calabaza, or pumpkin pudding. This pudding is very different from the other in its texture, flavor, color, and scent because of the ingredients from which it is made. It dark brown color comes from the chancaca (molasses sugar or raw sugar) that is mixed with the pumpkins. The union of all is unbelievably tasty. The pudding has a perfect balance that desserts should not have. They should not be too sweet so that they do not overwhelm you with sugar.
Its origin comes from the Inkas and goe through African American hands. The Black cooks who created this dessert by adding to it the fabulous chancaca, just as they did with a whole variety of other desserts created by them such as our picarones, arroz sambito, and many more. These all became very popular quickly because of their delicious flavor.
Pumpkin pudding has won many prizes. It is always present in gastronomic festivals and forms part of the cannon of our Peruvian desserts, those most important in our history. Today you will find it in many coffee houses and in the classic carts found on many street corners. We recommend you try it since it is a dessert you should never miss.
Pumpkin Pudding (Mazamorra de Calabaza)
1 ripe pumpkin
1 Cup water
1 Stick cinnamon
½ ball of chancaca
1 cup of light brown sugar (azucar rubia)
raisins (if you wish)
1.- Open, peel and cut up the pumpkin.
2.- Cook it in water with cinnamon, cloves, and the chancaca, stirring constantly.
3.- When it is cooked, rectify the sugar and if necessary add a little more.
Tips from the Chef
The best kind of pumpkin with which to prepare this dessert that is typical of the Department (State) of Junin is that which is yellowish and has black seeds.
It is a good source of fiber that gives you the sensation of being full. It is also rich in Vitamin C and beta carotene that your body transforms into Vitamin A. Both are antioxidants that slow the processes of aging.