Pionono is a delicious spongy cake with different variations of ingredients depending on the household, the chef who is preparing it, the region of origin, or the occasion to serve.
This sweet dessert is all about the filling. Most pionono recipes include manjar blanco, dulce de leche, Chantilly cream, or pastry cream. In this recipe, we’ve gone with thick and dense pastry cream. So, while this is not the most common Peruvian recipe for pionono, it’s a crowd-pleaser and one that only the most critical of guests will raise an eyebrow at.
Many versions of pionono incorporate manjar blanco (also referred to as just ‘manjar’), which can be loosely translated as blancmange. It’s the Peruvian cuisine equivalent of dulce de leche, a popular sweet spread or cake filling in Latin America and Spain.
Manjar blanco is also the filling we use in the popular Peruvian dessert or biscuit known as alfajores.
In our slightly altered Peruvian pionono recipe, the filling is just as thick and caramel-like, but has a unique flavor worth trying.
Be in no doubt that this is definitely not a dish to be taken lightly. It’s packed with calories, so go light on the servings. We have first-hand experience that this is a tricky thing to go. It’s one of the tastiest desserts we’ve ever published on Eat Peru.
And while it requires some preparation and attention to detail, it’s worth the effort. If you’re entertaining guests and want to impress them, this is a showstopper.
Pionono not only looks impressive, but it also tastes divine.
How to make it
Gather all the ingredients
Heat a saucepan over medium heat and add egg yolks and sugar. Use a hand mixer to stir until the sugar dissolves completely.
Pour the milk in steadily while stirring. Slowly stir in the flour and corn starch to avoid making lumps.
Add vanilla essence and orange zest and stir until the mixture thickens.
Remove from heat and transfer the mixture to a glass or plastic bowl. Cover the mixture with plastic wrap and let it cool.
Gather all ingredients
Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F.
In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs with an electric mixer until foamy. Add sugar and continue beating until the sugar dissolves.
Mix in sifted flour and baking powder, followed by milk and honey. Stir.
Pour the mixture into the lined tray.
Spreading evenly with a spoon.
Bake the cake at 200°C/400°F for eight minutes until it’s golden brown.
Remove from the oven and let sit for about ten minutes. Sprinkle two tablespoons of sugar or powdered sugar evenly on top.
Cover with a second piece of wax paper.
Flip the tray over so the cake is on top of the new paper. Very carefully peel off the paper used for baking and sprinkle two more tablespoons of sugar on top of the cake.
Evenly coat the cake with the cream filling, use the paper to roll the cake, and remove the paper gradually while rolling.
Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Let it cook until it turns light-yellow and bubbles appear on the surface. Don’t use cutlery.
Beat the egg whites until stiff.
Gradually add the caramel to the egg whites in a fine thread, while continuously beating at maximum speed.
Beat for another three minutes after adding all the syrup. The cream will have the right texture when the container is cold.
Fill a pastry bag with the cream and use it to decorate the pionono to your liking.
Tips and Notes
Use a dense and sticky cream filling, such as Chantilly cream, dulce de leche, or pastry cream. Use enough filling to adhere the pionono completely while rolling.
For this recipe, we chose pastry cream, which is denser and thicker than usual.
Use a plate or tray that’s at least 3 cm high. Have kitchen paper on hand to help with rolling.
Pionono Jelly Roll Cake
- 6 eggs at room temperature
- 2 ½ cups flour 250 g.
- 2 ½ cups sugar 200 g (optional: powdered sugar)
- ⅛ cup milk (25 ml)
- ½ tablespoons honey
- 4 tablespoons sugar
- 2 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
- 4 egg yolks
- ¾ cup sugar
- 3 cups milk
- 8 tablespoons cornstarch
- 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoons vanilla essence
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- ½ cup sugar 120 g.
- 3 tablespoons water 40 ml approx.
- 2 egg whites
- Gather ingredients for sponge cake filling
- In a saucepan, over medium heat, place the egg yolks and sugar. Stir very well with a hand mixer until the sugar is completely diluted.
- Then add the milk, stirring constantly. Little by little, incorporate the all-purpose flour and the sifted corn starch. If you don't have a sieve, you can pass them through a strainer. No lumps should remain.
- Incorporate the vanilla essence and the orange zest, stir until the mixture thickens. Stop when you can see the bottom of the pan as you stir. After ten minutes, the pastry cream should have reached this desired point.
- Remove from heat, place the mixture in a plastic or glass bowl, and cover the mixture with plastic wrap. The plastic wrap should be in contact with the mixture, this will prevent a thick layer from forming on the surface.
- Note: If your mixture is lumpy, at any point in the preparation, it is best to stop for a moment and liquefy the mixture and then return it to the pot and continue cooking.
- Gather ingredients for sponge cake. Use plate or tray, largest 3 cm high. It is also essential to have kitchen paper that will help the rolling of the pionono.
- Preheat oven to 200 ° C / 400 ° F.
- Place the eggs in a mixing bowl, and beat them with the electric mixer until foamy. Then add the sugar and continue beating until the sugar dissolves.
- Remove the mixer and add the sifted flour together with the baking powder. Integrate with enveloping movements. Add milk and honey. Stir with a large spoon until all the mixture is homogeneous.
- Cover the tray with a little butter so that the paper adheres completely. Then cut the edges of the waxed parchment paper, so the tray is completely covered by the paper, and there is approximately 3 cm on each side. Make sure the parchment paper is well attached to the tray. Place the mixture on top.
- Place the mixture on top
- Spread the mixture, with a spoon it evenly on the lined tray.
- Bake the cake at 200°C/400°F for eight minutes until the cake is golden brown on top.
- Remove from the oven and let sit for about ten minutes. Sprinkle two tablespoons of sugar or powdered sugar evenly on top.
- Place a second piece of wax paper like the one used for baking on top of the tray as a cover. Flip the tray over so the cake is on top of the new paper. Very carefully peel off the paper used for baking and sprinkle two more tablespoons of sugar on top of the cake.
- Evenly coat the cake with a thick layer of cream. With the help of the paper, proceed to roll the cake on itself. Gradually remove the paper at each turn.
- In our case, we had some egg whites, so we decided to prepare an Italian meringue to decorate our pionono.
- In a small saucepan, place the sugar and drizzle the three tablespoons of water on top. Let this mixture cook over medium heat until it turns a light-yellow color with abundant bubbles on the surface. Do not remove or insert cutlery.
- Meanwhile, beat the egg whites until stiff.
- Incorporate the caramel little by little, in a fine thread to the beaten whites, while continuing to beat at most speed.
- When you have added all the syrup, continue beating for three minutes more. When the container is cold, the cream will have the necessary texture.
- Place the cream in a pastry bag and decorate the pionono to your liking.