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Alejandra Cendra: the secrets of the success of the famous Peruvian confectioner and her homemade desserts

She grew up among lemon ice cream, pot fudge and the infinity of delicious desserts and dishes that her maternal grandmother Consuelo cooked at home. Alejandra Cendra, the renowned Peruvian pastry chef who owns three dessert shops that bear her name and surname, influencer and host of the program Three minutes of sweetness in América Televisión, he learned good cooking in his childhood, although he never imagined that it would become his profession. Soon, he will open his fourth store and it will be in Madrid.

“I wanted to be a flight hostess, because my dad was a pilot, or a preschool teacher, because my mom was too, but because of things in life and among so many doubts about what to study, I enrolled in the current Le Cordon Bleu and studied hospitality” Alexandra recalls. She liked to interact with people, she was easygoing and she imagined herself serving tourists. However, when she did her first internship she chose pastry making and the memory of her childhood flavors was stronger. This reunion with candy, milk, sugar, the oven and the blender was decisive for her life. She did not know it yet, but from that moment the universe conspired so that desserts and business success would not be far from her life.

A young businesswoman

At the age of 21, Alejandra had her first store in San Borja. She was called Alejandra and period. New Andean pastry. “After the first store, she also supplied some companies. I have always been very salesy, a businessman like my father, who is of Catalan origin. My grandfather, Manuel Cendra, had the Cendra House of underwear for many years and I carried the business in my veins. I started supplying various companies such as Sarcletti, the San Borja Clinic and later we were the first suppliers of all Starbucks baked goods in Peru”, Alejandra tells us as she relives those unforgettable moments when her desserts with Peruvian ingredients began to expand to a lot more people. It was the year 2003 and the growth was brutal.

“We had to move because I couldn’t do all that production at home. We set up a production plant in La Molina and began to supply different companies. The growth was great and we had a good experience at the work level, but the charm of home-made pastries was being lost”. Some time later and after her first child was born, Alejandra decided to only produce for herself and dedicate herself to her own stores. “I ended up where I started and I am very happy. I believe that the success of my business is that I make desserts as if they were for me, with love and I know what the client wants, that is why we have stayed together for so many years and have even survived covid.”

Desserts as an opportunity to undertake

Although they were difficult times for the business, Alejandra tells us that her career as an ‘influencer’ was consolidating. She currently has more than 100 thousand followers of her recipes on Instagram with whom she can interact: they send her photos of her desserts, they tell her about her experiences. “They write to me, for example, to tell me that they have started an alfajores company because her husband lost his job or a relative died of COVID”, alfajores that they learned to prepare from Alejandra Cendra.

Alejandra Cendra uploads her recipes and preparations on her Instagram and YouTube accounts.  (Instagram: Alejandra Cendra)

For three years he has been leading the sequence “Three minutes of sweetness” on the program “In everyone’s mouth” on América Televisión and from this platform he has also witnessed the growth of fans of desserts and home ventures as a result of the pandemic: “As soon as the pandemic began, the opportunity arose for this sequence and hit a lot to this day because many people who were at home, confined, unable to go out, watched an inexpensive and easy-to-make pastry program. It has helped many people a lot to get ahead and have entrepreneurship. It is a great satisfaction”.

Alejandra Cendra conquered television screens many years ago. She first as a guest on different programs of Panamericana Television, TV Peru (such as the Lorena and Nicolasa program), and even she had culinary adventures with Gastón Acurio. In 2006 she participated as a host in the magazine “Sale Caliente” on Canal Fem and, in parallel, when her first child was born, she was signed as part of the team of “Utilísima”, a program that was recorded in Argentina and broadcast in many speaking countries. Hispanic. “At that time my first child was 3 months old. My husband supported me and we went to Buenos Aires for a month with my son. I recorded many programs, it was a nice experience that lasted 3 years. I was the only Peruvian, there were colleagues from Mexico, Costa Rica, Guatemala. I carried my Peruvian supplies in my suitcase, such as cherimoya or purple corn, everyone was impressed with our products, so I did several programs with them.”

Alejandra Cendra (second from left) with the Utilísima team.  (Photos: Alejandra Cendra Personal Archive)

love for peruvian

“My love for pastry is great and what keeps me current are the recipes. I calibrate the sugar very well so that it is not so cloying and I reformulate them until they are as for me, this is my trick”, Alejandra tells us about her proposal as a pastry shop. “It is an artisan pastry shop, with well-calibrated recipes in terms of sweetness, flavor, moisture, texture, so that in the mouth we always feel that explosion of flavor and live the positive, rich flavor experience, that you enjoy it and do not leave halfway. My pastry is from home, made with love. I don’t have the business seeing it for the lucrative part, I do it because I love pastry, it’s my passion “.

The value of Peruvian ingredients such as cereals, quinoa, kiwicha, purple corn, cherimoya and our fruits are extremely important in Alejandra Cendra’s pastry shop and she always recommends them in her recipes. At the same time that it revalues ​​our desserts of yesteryear such as ranfañote and suspiro de limeña and custard apple, or desserts with quinoa, papaya jam from Arequipa and many more: “They are our origins, it has not been free nor did they appear out of nowhere, they are from our ancestors”, emphasizes the expert as a fair tribute to Peruvian gastronomic history, as well as to our ingredients, the same ones that she always maintains in her sweetest creations.

Lemon ice cream recipe, by Alejandra Cendra

Although among her favorite desserts are the suspiro a la limeña, the traditional pot delicacy, rice pudding and lemon pie, Alejandra Cendra will teach us how to prepare the traditional lemon ice cream with her grandmother Consuelo’s recipe. Here are the ingredients and steps to follow:

“I love desserts with milk because I love dairy. When I was little, my mother used to say that we were children of the cow because we loved milk. This recipe has become a boom in networks because it has only three ingredients and is super cheap:

  • A can of frozen evaporated milk
  • A cup of white sugar
  • juice of 7 lemons
  • lemon zest (optional)

My grandmother always liked good cooking, she was called Teresita Ocampo when she was younger. This is her recipe. You freeze the evaporated milk overnight. Once frozen, you pour it into the mixer bowl and beat it until it triples its volume. Then the sugar is added in the form of rain. As it is beating, so that the sugar granules dissolve, you put the juice of 7 freshly squeezed lemons and the zest. It is poured into a bucket and that’s it. Yields about a liter and can last up to a month, nothing happens while it’s frozen. Just as it is done with lemon, you can do it with mango, coffee, strawberry, vanilla, etc. just changing the fruit. It is the mother recipe for ice cream thanks to my grandmother”.

More information

  • Alejandra Cendra announces that this 2022 will open a new Alejandra Cendra Pastelería store in Madrid: “The Peruvian pastry market is virgin there. What Spanish pastries have are churros, pastries, the typical Spanish cake, but not a sigh, tres leches, chocolate cake. It is a virgin and very important market, the Spanish is also sweet and we are very excited about this fourth store”.
  • Alejandra Cendra Pastry Shops: Calle Punta Pejerrey 134, Surco / Av. Las Artes Norte 753, San Borja / Av. Pedro Venturo 520, Surco.
  • Central orders 936799135
  • Instagram: @alejandracendra.oficial

Source: Elcomercio

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