It is always difficult to compete with a gastronomic classic, but it is even more challenging in Christmas. It makes sense: most Peruvians wait twelve months to try a menu that is prepared only for a specific dinner or lunch; and that usually includes, in addition, a list of dishes that feed us -mainly- the memory. This is how we want it to be, and this is how we repeat it year after year.
That Arabian rice with the special touch, just like the grandmother prepared it. The Creole-baked turkey, the one that makes us feel that all time in the past was better. The sweet potato puree with marshmallows It doesn’t really go with anything but it’s there for the kids (and some adults). The panettone to eat before, during and after, no matter the selection of dishes in the middle. And so on. The Christmas menu is sacred, unshakable. But sometimes – it has to be said – it can get boring. Something.
Admitting it is the first step to change.
Of course, the idea is not to completely renew it, or to do without those snacks that make us feel happy and sheltered. What we can do is add certain touches to liven it up, add more color. Everything is in the details and this is where we come to the issue that concerns us. It may well be with a Christmas punch to start the night with enthusiasm; a couple of unusual sides (why not explore the delivery options?); or finally with a good dessert to close the meal in style.
Normally the latter are not usually included in dinner on the 24th or lunch on the 25th because the table already has enough dishes with flavors close to sweet, which also includes fruit salads that are mixed with salty. We find, however, many tempting and high-quality options in this niche, so it is inevitable not to leave a special place for dessert (in addition, this 2020 we deserve to have a share of consolation with the cakes, cookies and chocolates that we are fancy, right?)
In that mood, we have gathered here six innovative proposals of six talented confectioners, who share their news with us and tell us about the peculiarities of Christmas sweets. The saying goes well: life is uncertain; eat dessert first. Here we go.
1. Theory of the 6 coffees
“The difference between conventional desserts and Christmas desserts is that the latter seek to replicate traditional flavors that we have experienced before, as children. We long for that special moment where we are with the family, the feeling of being at home. That is why we consume so much panettone (as dessert), since it evokes that memory, be it commercial or artisanal. Ginger, cinnamon, rum … all those spices and aromas take us to specific moments. At Christmas the desserts make you feel at home, and I think that this year that has a more special meaning, since it will be difficult to be with the family. People are going to seek that closeness through flavors, so that coping with that date is less hard ”.
2. The Noni
Valerie La Rosa
“December is a month in which the consumption of desserts increases a lot; especially after the fortnight, since many choose to send them as a gift. The demand is varied: we find from whole cakes to smaller details. In my experience, what they ask me the most are the cakes of spices and fruits to give as gifts. Before there were meetings and lunches between friends distributed throughout the month, and there was an essential sweet. The difference this year is that most now ask me for smaller cakes but for 24 or 25. Although many do not usually eat dessert the same Christmas Eve, they do like to have it on the table (as decoration). So, they try it the next day at breakfast or lunch ″.
3. Alanya Pastry
“We never want our desserts to become cloying, but rather we try to have balanced flavors. Peruvian Christmas takes place at a hot time of year; If you respect the use of the ingredients, the desserts do not become so caloric. It is also important to substitute certain products – such as refined sugar – for other healthier ones, such as honey in the case of panettone. In December we always think of hot chocolate, fruits, ginger, cinnamon … all pastry chefs and confectioners have that very much in mind. European or American influence is inevitable in that sense, so we try to adapt it to our context “
4. La Catalía
“Desserts are not usually the star of the table on Christmas Eve. However, they are in all the other events of the month: lunches, breakfasts, exchanges, etc. For example, a tin of butter cookies each decorated with a design; or a spicy cake, super airy, glazed and decorated with Christmas sprinkles, they will always be beautiful and meaningful gifts that remind us of childhood. Spices such as cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and ginger are “hidden” in most preparations and are the most characteristic flavors of these dates. But the colors are also important: a cake red velvet with cream cheese; a pavlova with red berries; a carlota with strawberry mousse and other desserts that we eat throughout the year can be completely Christmas with a touch of creativity and color ”.
5. Miss Cupcakes
“Christmas is my favorite time of the year. There are flavors with this theme that lend themselves to different preparations, such as cupcakes: the flavor of panettone, hot chocolate, red velvet, sweet potato and orange, ginger, peppermint (mint) … the idea is that everything can be given to way of gift. This year we wanted to include things designed for the house, such as a mix of hot chocolate, knobs of manjar blanco and homemade fudge, and mixtures of coffee with specific flavors linked to this date “
“We in Peru have adopted Western customs a lot. The gingerbread cookies, the same Italian panettone, the little houses, the cakes with lots of candied fruit. All these extremely caloric ingredients, such as chocolate, are designed to reduce the cold. What we do in Fausta is try to present traditional or adapted sweets, but telling a story from our past, legends, something that evokes some childhood memory. We are taking advantage of these Christmas dates to tell the story of the Pucará bull: our houses this year are created according to the tradition of Puno “