This, my friends, was my sustenance growing up. My grandma would always feed this to me, as evident from all the baby pictures that show me with a purple mustache. It’s a fruit pudding of sorts with the base consisting of chicha morada, the Peruvian purple corn drink, and studded with extra goodies like dried sour cherries, pineapple bits and green apple. Truthfully, I had this so much as a kid that I sorta got turned off by it as I got older, not really digging the whole jiggly, puddingy consistency to it. But, just last week with fresh pitcher fulls of chicha morada and a desire to do something else to it besides drink it, I was convinced to give mazamorra morada another shot when a family member gave me the idea on Facebook. And I’m so glad I did! Each spoonful brought back such wonderful memories growing up as a kid in Peru, with images of my grandpa cooking and baking at the forefront. It’s sort of amazing how food can do that to you you know?
I have to be honest with you though and tell you this recipe isn’t really really the way they used to make it for me when I was little only because they probably used sweet potato flour to thicken the pudding instead of cornstarch, which is a pretty traditional method of doing it in Peru. Buuut, since I’m so spastic and fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants sometimes and have horrible commitment issues when it comes to planning my food, I didn’t have the foresight to order the special sweet potato flour until yesterday which means it won’t get to my doorstep until Wednesday which means I couldn’t have made this for you this weekend which means the chicha morada would’ve gone bad by then. Makes sense, right? So, long story longer, I did just go ahead and use the cornstarch and it did the trick too but if you can get your hands on this magical, special sweet potato flour, I highly recommend it. If you do use it (and props to you because you’re more awesome than me for actually having planned this stuff), I would wager using slightly more of it than cornstarch to thicken the porridge.
Mazamorra morada // Peruvian purple pudding
Serves about 10-12 people
8 cups chicha morada, cut in half and divided so you have 2 – 4 cup measurements
1/3 cup prunes
1/3 cup dried apricots
1/3 cup dried sour cherries
2 cups diced pineapple
2 cups peeled and diced Granny Smith apple (about 2 apples)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
8 tablespoons corn starch
1 cup cold water
Ground cinnamon, for garnish
// In a large pot , pour in 4 cups of the chicha morada, the prunes, dried apricots, and dried cherries and let this come to a gentle simmer and cook for about 15 minutes or until the fruit has plumped up and softened. Add the remaining 4 cups chicha morada and toss in the pineapple, apples, and sugar, stirring, and then letting this come to another simmer, cooking for an additional 10 minutes.
In a small bowl whisk together the corn starch and water and then add this in a thin stream to the pot, stirring wildly to make sure the corn starch slurry gets quickly incorporated to the pudding. Let this come to a slight boil and continue to stir until the pudding has thickened slightly, just a few minutes. At this point, you can make a judgement call and add more cornstarch slurry to it if you like it thicker.
Take this off the heat and let it cool slightly before enjoying or let cool completely to room temperature (it’s how I eat it). Sprinkle on some ground cinnamon to make it pretty. Provecho!
Me eating mazamorra morada, circa 1980 in Peru