This recipe comes to me from Fidelina Ledesma, one of my adoptive grannies. She's from Cuenca, where Quimbolitos supposedly originated. The recipe may be made with either corn or quinua flour; I prefer quinua simply because the flavour is fuller.
2 lbs Fine white corn flour or fine gold quinua flour
12 Eggs, separated
¾ lb Sweet butter, no other
¾ lb Lard, no other
1 lb White sugar
6 oz Wheat flour, white is best or golden pea flour (for the gluten intolerant)
1 TBSP Baking powder
1 oz Anise liqueur
¾ lb Fresh white cheese, shredded
Seedless raisins (optional)
Dessert bananas (optional)
50 Entire canna leaves, scrubbed.
Push the corn flour (if that's what you're using; with quinua this isn't necessary) through a canvas sieve, until what remains in the sieve is the grits. These can be discarded or reserved for other meals, but they should not be part of the Quimbolitos. Separate the eggs, reserving the yolks.
Beat the butter and lard together, adding the sugar bit by bit. Once the mixture is homogenous, add the egg yolks, cheese, and the liqueur. Sift the wheat flour with the baking powder, then fold both flours into the wet mixture and stir until homogenous. Add raisins at this point if you wish. Beat the egg whites to the point of stiffness, and fold these in to the batter.
Scrub the canna leaves gently to remove any traces of dirt. Pat dry with paper towels, then crack the spines of the leaves with a rolling pin. Drop two tablespoons of batter onto the back of a leaf. If you are adding a slice of banana to the quimbolitos, now is the time.
Fold the edges of the leaf inwards. Finally, fold the top and bottom of the leaf backwards. This forms the package in which the quimbolito will be steamed. Repeat until you run out of batter.
Pack the quimbolitos into a large dumpling steamer (these are available in most Chinese markets) or tamale pot. Steam for about 30 minutes or until the packets on top are firm to the touch and the steam that comes off them does not feel sticky when grabbed. Peel back a wrapper to check the consistency of the bread inside - it should be firm and fluffy.
Quimbolitos are best when eaten hot; those that aren't consumed at the first sitting keep well in the refrigerator and are easy to reheat in either the steamer or the microwave. They make a great, fast breakfast.
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