October is synonymous with Procession, it is the Lord of Miracles. October wears purple, smells of incense, and tastes like turrón or nougat, one of the most traditional Peruvian sweets, which until now the source was not accurately known of, or even the name of its creator.
The full name is Turrón de Doña Pepa, though it is not always called that. Many historians have argued that in the nineteenth century the dessert was also known as “turrón de miel” or “turrón de Señor de los Milagros.” The recipe was a “peruvian adaptation” of the classic Spanish nougat or alba nougat (a dough made from almonds, pine nuts, hazelnuts or walnuts, all mixed with honey and sugar).
The Peruvian nougat is more floury, rectangular, made with butter, sugar, milk and anise, which is cut in long strokes before baking. “They settle in crossed layers bathed in brown sugar syrup flavored with fruit, and once assembled, is covered with multicolored tablets and candies,” says Aida Tam Fox in her book “Vocabulario de la Cocina Limeña.”
The name “Doña Pepa” came later, in the twentieth century, perhaps for commercial reasons and by way of recognition. It was renamed after its creator. All agree that her name was Josefa, even though there possibly exists another creator. Both were dark, slaves or cooks in the colonial era.
The most famous story is that of Josefa Marmanillo, a slave of the eighteenth century and a specialist in culinary arts, who began suffering from paralysis in her arms. Hearing rumors of miracles of Christ Pachacamilla, she decided to travel to her native Lima Cañete.
“Such was her faith and devotion that she recovered from the evils that plagued her. In appreciation she prepared this colorful sweet and offered it to parishioners at each exit to the Lord of Miracles, becoming known as Turrónes de Doña Pepa” says Marleny Lopez, in her article “Doña Pepa y su turrón” published in El Comercio.
A second story, also very popular, speaks of a competition held by a viceroy, looking for a sweet, tasty, and nutritious treat that could be kept for several days without losing its flavor. Marmanillo was the winner of that event so her nickname ‘Doña Pepa’ was associated with the dessert.
The third refers to “a brunette cook, married to a Mr. Cobos, former employee of the Public Welfare. Her real name would have been Josefa and was a specialist in preparing snacks. She also had the ability to make ‘sango’, ‘ñaju’, and chicha. Josefa immortalized her name with an original turrón of wheat flour, butter, eggs and honey,” says Lopez.
Courtesy of http://www.peruthisweek.com/food-turron-dona-pepa-history-of-tenderness-dressed-in-purple-lima-peru-104348