France and Italy have always been on the top when it comes to desserts. I mean one couldn’t resist the smooth and burnt flavor of creme brulee or the soft choux pastry filled with decadent vanilla custard or the bittersweet flavor of tiramisu or the tiny cream-filled zeppole, right?
But today, Latin America, usually known for its vibrant, spicy and sexy food, has also emerged as a major contender when it comes to desserts.
So are you ready to face the sweet side of Latinos?
Majarete, Dominican Republic
Majarete is a corn pudding made from fresh corn, milk or sometimes coconut milk, vanilla, spices like cinnamon and nutmeg and is often eaten in countries like Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Venezuela and Costa Rica.
Blan manje, Haiti
Blan manje or, let’s say, Haitian panna cotta, is a cold, light and creamy dessert made from coconut milk, thickened with gelatin or corn starch, flavored with nutmeg, vanilla, or other spices and floral essences, and garnished with almonds or shredded toasted coconut.
Quesadilla Salvadoreña, El Salvador
This soft, moist and sweet Salvadoran cheese pound cake is a dessert cake often found in the local bakeries and can be enjoyed with a cup of tea or coffee. The secret ingredient for making the quesadilla rich and flavorful is the queso duro, a Salvadoran Parmesan cheese. But if you are not able to visit El Salvador, you can also bring the Salvadoran flavours to your kitchen by getting your hand on the good old regular Parmesan cheese and baking yourself a Quesadilla Salvadoreña.
Suspiro de limeña, Peru
This caramel-liqueur and poetic parfait is a famous Peruvian dessert which hails from the city of Lima in Peru. This dessert dates back to the 19th century and was created by Amparo Ayarza, wife of the poet Jose Galvez. It is said that Galvez named the dessert Suspiro de limeña or sigh of a Lima lady because it is sweet and light.
This dessert is prepared by making manjar blanco which is similar to dulce de leche (caramel spread) by boiling whole milk with sugar and egg yolks until it becomes thick and caramel-like. Later, it is topped with meringue which is made by whisking egg whites till soft peaks form with a splash of port wine and sprinkled with cinnamon dust.
It is just your regular crème caramel or your very own caramel custard that travelled all the way to México and bought itself a fancy name.
This Uruguayan cake gets its name from the Southern screamer, a bird usually known as chajá which is native to central and southern South America. This dessert has alternate layers of fluffy sponge cake, meringue, cream and fruits like strawberries or peaches. Other variations of this cake include additions of chocolate or dulce de leche (caramel spread).
This bite-size and bright yellow colored glistening custard is a baked Brazilian dessert and is chiefly made from sugar, egg yolks and shredded coconut.
Chocotorta or chocolate cake is an Argentine dessert made with chocolinas (chocolate cookies) dunked in milk and layered alternately with queso crema (cream cheese) and dulce de leche (caramel spread) mousse.
Tembleque, Puerto Rico
Tembleque means wobbly (in English) and is a Christmas special Puerto Rican coconut pudding made from coconut milk, sugar or sometimes condensed milk, corn starch, vanilla and topped with coconut flakes and cinnamon.
Cuajada con melao, Colombia
Cuajada con melao is a Colombian dessert where fresh curd is dunked in a pool full of brown sugar and water syrup called molasses.