Quimbolitos, or sweet steamed puddings, are a snack favorite of mine in Ecuador.
They are sold on the streets and in restaurants and are immensely popular among Ecuadorians.
Especially because many people do not own ovens and they can be made on a stove top.
But people do appreciate them for their taste alone.
Quimbolitos are the sweet tamales of Ecuador and can be found also in Nariño, Colombia, which was part of Ecuador in colonial times.
They are served as snacks, desserts, or for breakfast with a cup of coffee.
The recipe varies from region to region, most often in the proportion of cornmeal to wheat flour.
The ratio of lard to butter also varies.
In Ecuador the Quimbolitos are cooked in achira leaves, the leaf of the taro plant, perhaps better known as dasheen or yautia.
Some people cook them in banana leafs also but nothing seems to be lost by cooking them in parchment or foil, however.
Banana leaves can be found in the produce or frozen section of most market that carry Latin foods.
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
- ¾ cup + 2 tbsp sugar
- 6 eggs yolks
- 6 egg whites
- 1/2 cup Chihuahua, mozzarella, muenster or parmesan cheese grated
- 1/2 cup cornmeal
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/2 cornstarch
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tbsp lemon zest
- 1/2 tsp anise sedes (optional)
- 2 tbsp brandy or anise liquor (for soaking the raisins)
- Pinch of salt
- banana leaves, thawed if frozen and cut into 10x14 inch rectangles
- Cream the butter and ¾ cup of sugar.
- Add egg yolks one at a time, beat until the mixture is light and fluffy.
- Stir in cheese, cornmeal, flour, cornstarch, baking powder, zest, and anise.
- Mix egg whites with a pinch of salt.
- Beat the eggs until you have soft peaks, then add 2 tbsp of sugar and continue to beat until you get glossy, stiff peaks.
- Fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the butter and cheese mixture to lighten, then gently fold in the remaining egg whites.
Place a banana leaf down with the grain running left to right
Spread 3 heaping tablespoons of mixture in center of leaf about 3.4 to 1 inch thick
Place 3 or 4 raisins on top of batter
Bring sides of leaf together over filling
Fold other ends under and place on a cookie tray until ready to steam.
Place quimbolitos in steamer, top loosely with leaf pieces and cook 30 - 40 minutes.
Many cooks prefer to make them with wheat flour only, while others prefer a combination of flour and cornstarch.
Yet others use cornmeal, and you can even use quinoa flour instead of the wheat flour in the recipe for gluten free effect.