Typical Peruvian Desserts & Cakes
Peruvians love their "dulces". Relatively unknown in pre-Hispanic times Peruvian desserts are heavily influenced by its Spanish and other foreign equivalents. In Colonial times quite often expensive and unavailable ingredients used in the Spanish cuisine were replaced by typical Peruvian ones; later foreign cooking techniques were used creating unique local sweets. Even if it's difficult, always leave a little room for one of the numerous sweet (!) temptations to end your meal. You won't regret it. Below find some dessert common and popular in Lima.
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Tres leches has become a typical dessert in Peru over the last years. It's a simple sponge cake soaked in a milk syrup made of three different kinds of milk: sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk and whole milk (or cream). Tres leches is an extremely sweet and heavy dessert more a pudding than a cake, but absolutely delicious and addicting. And, even though it looks complicated, it's really very easy to prepare.
Even though picarones are often referred to as a kind of donut, they are actually something quite different and unique Peruvian. Most probably developed from the Spanish buñuelos in Colonial times, African slaves created an addicting, delicious sweet by adding sweet potato and a local squash to the yeast dough. Today picarones are still quite often sold by street vendors. The deep fried picarones served with a cane syrup called chancaca are surely a must eat.
Lemon Meringue Pie is mostly found in Anglophone countries around the world. The Peruvian version uses instead of lemons the characteristic small limes. Pie de Limon or Tarta de Limon is a very popular and extremely sweet dessert. On top of a thin pastry a lime custard or pudding is put, covered with a thick layer of meringue and baked.
Crema Volteada, literally meaning "upside down cream", is probably better known as the Peruvian version of Crème Caramel. Sweet and rich while at the same time being so simple and somehow light, this addictive dessert is loved around the country. And even though it originally isn't Peruvian, it became one of the most popular comfort foods in the country.
Chocolate Cake might not originate from Peru, but the Peruvian version is truly sensational. The extremely sweet and rich Torta de Chocolate is full of the exceptional Peruvian cacao flavors and aromas. And if this wouldn't be enough the cake is covered with a heavy and creamy fudge. A cake to die for - at least if you like to indulge ...
Mazamorra Morada is a typical Limeñan dessert. Made from Peru's unique purple corn which gives Mazamorra Morada not only its color but also its unique flavor, it's like a thick jelly with lots of different fresh and dried fruits.
A Pionono is just like a jelly roll cake: a sponge cake made of eggs, sugar and flour, but filled with plenty of Manjar Blanco (a reduction of milk and sugar). Pionono is a delicious sweet treat for in between, as a dessert or cake. For some (like us here at LimaEasy) Pionono is heaven on earth and absolutely addictive. And the good thing: it's really easy and quick to prepare.
Leche Asada, Peru's "roasted milk", is a very old Peruvian dessert and might already have been prepared during Colonial times. Being probably the poor people's version of the famous Crème Brûlée, this creamy, sweet and delicious dessert is surely simple, but leaves a lasting impression on everyone who tried it. Peruvian comfort food at its best!
Arroz con Leche, the Peruvian version of rice pudding, is a popular and extremely sweet dessert. Brought to Peru by the Spanish conquerors, it's made with simple ingredients like rice, sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk. A delicious and simple to prepare goody.
Alfajores have their origin in the traditional Arabic confection "alajú" found in some Spanish regions and found their way to whole South America in colonial times. Back then some ingredients weren't available or too expensive, so adaptations to the original recipe were necessary; and by now nearly each Latin American country has its own way of preparing them. In Peru Alfajores consist of two layers of fine and crumbly cookies filled with Manjar Blanco.
Suspiro a la Limeña is a classic Limeñan dessert. The bottom layer is made of manjar blanco, a sweat, caramel like, sticky reduction of milk and sugar, and egg yolks which is covered by a huge portion of meringue.
Turrón de Doña Pepa is a typical dessert and treat traditionally prepared for the religious festivities of Señor de Milagros in October, but today available all year round. This extremely sweet and sticky treat consists of layers of anise cookie sticks bathed in cane syrup, called chancaca, topped with caramels and candies.
Manjar Blanco, also known as Dulce de Leche isn't a dessert for itself. But as it's popular throughout South America and used in numerous cakes like Pionono, pastries, cookies like Alfajores and even ice cream in Peru, this sweat, caramel-like, sticky reduction of milk and sugar just belongs here.
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