1cupQueso Blanco (white hard cheese)grated *see notes below
Corn oil for deep-frying(you can also use any other oil with a neutral taste)
Prepare the syrup: Add all the ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, and cook for 2-3 minutes or until the papelon is dissolved. Remove from heat and cover for 15 - 20 minutes to steep spices and cool. Once cool remove spices from the saucepan and discard.
Prepare the dough: Wash your hands. In a medium bowl stir corn flour and syrup together with your hands. Knead until mixture comes together and has no lumps. Add cheese and continue kneading until fully incorporated. The dough should be firm enough holds its shape without cracking when molded, soft and kneadable (like playdough), but not sticky. If it is too soft add a little more of corn flour; if too hard add a little more water. Let dough rest for 5 minutes. Divide the dough into 20 equal-size balls. Set aside.
Assemble fritters: Take a ball and place it over the countertop. Roll, with the palms of your hands, into a cylinder until dough is 5-6 inches long. Bring ends together and overlap them to form a tear- loop. Press ends together. Repeat until you finish with all the dough.
To fry: Add oil to a medium heavy pot. Heat it over medium heat until reach 375º F. Carefully add the shaped dough to the oil, 4 – 5 at a time, and fry until golden about 2 minutes, turning once. Drain on paper towels.
Serve immediately with cheese if desired.
I used Queso Aserrin. This most seems in texture to Venezuelan white cheese that I’ve found in the area where I live. It’s sold in Latino stores and it comes already grated in a bag. If you don’t find this brand you use can use any other white cheese with a hard/firm texture, like cacique queso Blanco.Don’t overcook the syrup or it will thicken too much. For this recipe, we need very watery consistency syrup.Papelon is also known as piloncillo, panela, or rapadura, it’s unprocessed cane sugar sold in hard, flat discs or cones in most groceries stores. Look in the international aisle.Looking for more Venezuelan recipes?