Picarones-Styled Doughnut Holes

Picarones-Styled Doughnut Holes

Inspired by the Peruvian version of doughnuts, our chefs created these delicious doughnut holes with sweet potato and pumpkin for a unique veggie treat. They’re great on their own, but for the complete Andean experience, you’ve just got to drizzle them with warm syrup! With flavours like cinnamon, anise, cloves, and citrus zest, Picarones are the perfect seasonal snack. Peru-ve yourself in the kitchen with this international recipe!


42 pieces


1 hour 45 minutes


30 minutes


  • 4 cups (960 ml) water
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 2 tsp (5 g) anise seed
  • 1 (4 g) 3” cinnamon stick
  • 3 cups (423 g) sweet potato, peeled and cubed
  • 2 tbsp (25 g) Redpath® Granulated Sugar
  • 1 tbsp (10 g) dry active yeast
  • 2 cups (480 g) pure pumpkin puree
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp (3 g) orange zest, finely grated
  • 1 tsp (3 g) lime zest, finely grated
  • 3 cups (375 g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups (240 g) bread flour
  • 1/2 tsp (3 g) salt

For the syrup

  • 1 cup (240 ml) water
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) orange juice, preferably freshly squeezed
  • 1 cup (217 g) Redpath® Demerara Style Sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 cup (200 g) Redpath® Turbinado Sugar

  • 5 strips lime zest
  • 4 strips orange zest 5 whole cloves
  • 2 (8 g) 3” cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tsp (3 g) anise seeds

  • oil for frying (preferably canola or peanut)


Pour the water into a large pot. Place whole cloves, anise seeds, and cinnamon stick into a disposable tea bag or wrap in cheesecloth. Add the sachet d’epices to the pot. Bring to a boil. Add in the cubed sweet potato. Cover and reduce heat to medium. Simmer sweet potatoes until tender; about 15 to 20 minutes.

Strain potatoes, reserving the water. Remove and discard spices. Allow potatoes to cool in the strainer to remove excess water. Once cooled, mash sweet potatoes until smooth and creamy.

Place 1/2 cup (120 ml) of the reserved warm water (110°F to 120°F) into the bowl of a stand mixer. Sprinkle in the Redpath® Granulated Sugar and the active dry yeast. Stir to dissolve. Let stand for 5 minutes, or until foamy.

Using the paddle attachment, add in the mashed sweet potatoes, pumpkin puree, lightly beaten egg, and the zests. Blend on medium-low speed until thoroughly mixed.

Switch to the hook attachment.

Whisk together the flours and salt. With the mixer on medium-low speed, gradually knead in the flour mixture about 1/2 cup at a time until batter has absorbed all of the flour and becomes a smooth yet sticky dough; about 5 to 7 minutes. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, and place in a warm, draft-free location until dough doubles in size; about 1 to 2 hours.


For the syrup:

In a medium pot, combine the water and orange juice. Add in the Redpath® Demerara Style Sugar, Redpath® Granulated Sugar, strips of orange and lime zest, cloves, cinnamon sticks, and anise seeds. Bring mixture to a boil. Lower heat to medium and simmer until sugar dissolves and the syrup thickens; about 10 minutes. Strain syrup. Discard zests and spices.

To fry dough:

In a large pot or dutch oven, pour at least 2 inches of oil and heat to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with paper towels.

Have a small bowl of salted water near the pot of oil. With a small ice cream scoop, dip scoop into the water then scoop the dough. Release the dough near the surface of the hot oil to prevent splashing. Fry 4 or 5 pieces at a time, trying not to overcrowd the pot with dough as this will lower the temperature of the oil. Fry about 2 minutes per side or until deep golden in colour. Use a slotted spoon to remove the picarones from the hot oil; transfer hot picarones onto the paper towel-lined baking sheet.

Serve picarones drizzled generously with the warm syrup.


  • If desired, use the same amount of mashed/pureed butternut or acorn squash in place of the pumpkin puree.
  • Sweet potatoes can be mashed by hand using a potato masher, fork or even a handheld mixer. It can also be easily processed in a food processor.
  • For the syrup, lime juice can be used instead of the orange juice or a combination of both can be used.
  • If a small trigger-style ice cream scoop is unavailable, use 2 round tablespoons. Dip both spoons into the salted water, then use one to scoop the dough. Bringing the filled spoon close to the surface of the hot oil, use the empty spoon to gently push the dough off the spoon and into the hot oil.