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Chilean Sweets or Homemade Chilenitos Recipe
Chilean Sweets or Homemade Chilenitos Recipe

Chilean sweets, also known simply as “chilenitos”, are century-old desserts that were traditionally made in the areas of Curacaví, Melipilla, or La Ligua. Here we share a wonderful recipe from Chef Daniela Pizarro that will bring back unforgettable memories and help you create new ones with your family.

How to make Chilenitos or Chilean Sweets?

Chilean sweets, chilenitos, or sweets from La Ligua, along with príncipes and alfajores, use a common base of hojarascas (crumbly pastry) and manjar (dulce de leche), traditionally accompanied by meringue and jam. They are made with very simple ingredients but yield astonishing results.

Nutritional Information

Category: Typical Desserts
Cuisine: Chilean
Calories: 400
Preparation Time: 45 minutes
Cooking Time: 90 minutes
Servings: 6 people

Chilean Sweets or Chilenitos Recipe

Ingredients

Hojarascas

  • 125 g of flour
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon of Chilean pisco
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon of orange zest

Meringue

  • 200 g of white sugar
  • 100 g of egg whites

Preparation

Hojarascas

  1. Prepare all ingredients measured and separated in small glass bowls before starting (mise en place).
  2. In a large bowl, add the sifted flour, orange zest, and mix with your fingers. Incorporate the egg, egg yolks, and mix again. Add the pisco, vanilla, and stir gently to integrate all ingredients from the edge towards the center, without kneading.
  3. Sprinkle some flour on the dough, transfer it to a clean surface, and knead with your hands for a couple of minutes until you get a smooth, homogeneous mixture that doesn’t stick to the table, adding more flour if necessary. Wrap in cling film and let rest at room temperature for about 10 minutes.
  4. Divide the dough in half, keep one wrapped in cling film, and roll out the other half on a floured surface to about 2 to 3 mm thickness. Cut discs with a 10 cm diameter mold and repeat with the rest of the dough.
  5. For flat hojarascas, prick each disc with a fork 3 to 4 times. For coiled hojarascas, just gently press the center of the disc with a moistened index finger. Reserve everything on a baking tray covered with kitchen paper, bake in a preheated oven at 180°C (356°F) for 7 minutes until lightly golden. Remove and cool to room temperature.
  6. Lower the oven temperature to 100°C (212°F) and maintain until assembly.

Meringue

  1. For the bain-marie, fill a medium pot with water up to one-third of its capacity, heat without boiling, and place a medium bowl on top without the base touching the hot water.
  2. Add the egg whites and sugar to the bowl, stir gently for a couple of minutes with a spoon to dissolve the sugar and pasteurize the egg. Check with your fingers to make sure no sugar crystals remain.
  3. With a hand mixer, beat at high speed in circular motions without removing from the bain-marie until the meringue begins to gain consistency. Remove the bowl and continue beating for another 4 to 5 minutes until the meringue acquires a creamy and stable texture that adheres to a spoon without falling when turned upside down.

How to assemble Chilenitos with Manjar?

  1. To make chilenitos, fill a pastry bag with manjar and cover the surface of one hojarasca. Top with a second hojarasca, cover again with manjar, and close with a third hojarasca. Gently press to settle and align.
  2. Hold the chilenito with your fingers and fill the edges with meringue using a small spatula or blunt knife. Cover the top with meringue and level. Reserve on a baking tray covered with kitchen paper. Continue with the príncipes.

How to assemble Chilean Príncipes?

  1. For príncipes, take one of the curved hojarascas and cover with a tablespoon of raspberry jam or alcayota (Chilean squash) sweet. Hold with the fingertips and cover the jam with meringue using a soup spoon, forming a sort of shell.
  2. Optionally decorate with colored sprinkles and reserve on the baking tray with the chilenitos.
  3. Place the tray with chilenitos and príncipes in the oven at 100°C (212°F) for 20 minutes to dry, without browning the meringue. Remove and cool to room temperature.

How to assemble Chilean Alfajores?

  1. For alfajores, cover the surface of one hojarasca with manjar, top with another hojarasca, cover again with manjar, and close with a third hojarasca.
  2. Gently press to settle, fill the edges with manjar, spread with a spatula, and coat with ground hojarascas crumbs or grated coconut.

Did you Know?

Chilenitos or Chilean sweets experienced their heyday in the 50s and 60s, sold by “palomitas”, women adorned with a basket and a characteristic white apron that made them unmistakable.

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