Upon arriving to South America, I began researching extensively the sweets that this continent has to offer. I was thoroughly enjoying my daily postre until one day Dan was folding clothes and confused his jeans for my jeans! Horrified, my dessert belly went hungry that evening. I wasn’t discouraged for too long, however. Here is what I’ve learned so far:
Orginally of Arabic origin, Alfajores can be found throughout South America. The light, buttery wafers crumble in your mouth, while the dulce de leche in the middle is sinfully sweet. The toasted shredded coconut on the sides adds crunchiness.
Dulce de leche and Bolivia’s version, Manjar Blanco, are ubiquitous in South America. Dulce de leche is made by bringing milk to a boil, adding sugar and vanilla bean, and allowing the mixture to simmer until thick. Manjar blanco is similar, although it also contains cinnamon. We’ve tried manjar blanco empanadas, dulce de leche cake, and dulce de leche ice cream, and Dan likes to spoil me with dulce de leche crepes on Saturday mornings.
One of the simplest desserts to make, arroz con leche is comfort food to me and can be served hot or cold. It also evokes memories of my grandfather singing the playful song based on this postre. Arroz con leche, me quiero casar, con una señorita que sepa bailar…
Another dessert that’s easy to prepare, flan, is one of my favorite summertime desserts. The egg-based fluffiness of this treat make it light and hearty simultaneously.
Picarones are a popular Peruvian dessert, tradionally enjoyed after anticuchos. Origianated from the colonial period, picarones are basically donuts made out of sweet potatoes. We first tried these at a fantastic food festival in Lima.
Churros con chocolate bring back memories of Barcelona. In Lima, one can find cafés that exclusively specialize in churros with hot chocolate served for dipping, a perfect dessert to share on a cold evening.
It turns out that Brazilian desserts aren’t that great for you. I discovered this after a night spent as a sous chef with our Brazilian neighbor Shirli. The making of the chocolate cake involved a lot of sweetend condensed milk, butter, and cocoa powder. Still, one little Brazilian Brigadeiro can’t hurt too much!
Tropical Fruit dessert masterpieces abound in South America. We recommend maracuyá cheesecake and chirimoya ice cream.
Queso Helado is an artesian Peruvian dessert. The ice cream must be continually stirred, keeping it smooth and creamy.