After eating a generous lunch or dinner, no matter how full you are, there’s always room for a delicious dessert. I have to confess that after every lunch my stomach will not be happy until I eat something sweet and if it’s a Peruvian dessert, I will feel totally satisfied.
I would like to begin with a little bit of history about Peruvian desserts. Before Peru was conquered by Spain, our ancestors mostly ate fruits and honey as a dessert, very healthy by the way. When the Spanish people arrived in our country, they brought with them sugar cane, wheat, and cattle, in other words sugar, flour, and milk three main ingredients to prepare a dessert.
It was a very hard time for our people during the colony. However, even the most difficult time always bring something positive. The Spanish built hundreds of convents, monasteries, and churches to introduce the Catholic religion to our people. So, they also brought hundreds of nuns, who were known for their spectacular desserts. These sisters shared their cooking techniques with the indigenous, as well as, the native showed new ingredients. Together they created unique receipts that last until today. Some of these convents are still cooking desserts as a source of incomes.
Years ago, some families had a tradition, gathering during the afternoon to eat a dessert before dinner time. My family was not the expectation, so I will always remember those magic words from my grandmother “Sweetheart dessert time.”
Now, I will share with you the list of my favorite desserts. If you travel to Peru, please try one or as many as you can, believe me, you won’t regret it!
Arroz con leche: Peruvian rice pudding, it’s made with simple ingredients like rice, condensed milk, evaporated milk and cinnamon. You can find different versions throughout Latin America.
Mazamorra Morada: Typical purple corn dessert. Yes, in Peru we have a unique purple corn that only grows there. Mazamorra Morada it’s like a jelly spiced with cinnamon and clove and mixed with diced apples and apricots. You have to try with Arroz con leche.
Turron de Dona Pepa: a typical dessert for religious festivities in October, but today is available all the year. It consists of layers of anise cookie sticks covered by cane syrup, called chancaca, topped with caramels and candies.
Alfajores: Alfajores have their origin in a traditional Arabic confection call “alajú.” Back to colonial times some of the ingredients like almonds, hazelnuts, coriander seeds, were too expensive, so the original recipe was modified. Typical Peruvian cookies filled with a creamy caramel made with milk and sugar.
Queso helado: literal translation frozen cheese, but it is a traditional ice cream made with milk, coconut, sugar, and vanilla.
Suspiro a la Limeña: this one is a classic dessert; it’s fantastic but very sweet too. It’s made with condensed milk, sugar and egg yolks. All ingredients boiled into a thick cream covered with merengue mixed with a touch of port wine.
Picarones: kind of donuts. Picarones are made of squash or pumpkin dough and sweetened with chancaca (raw cane sugar melted into syrup).
This blog will not be completed if I don’t tell you about this particular fruit “Lucuma” fruit that grows in the Andes. This fruit has a special taste. Nowadays, it is used as an ingredient in different desserts like cakes, ice-creams, even there is a version of Suspiro a la limeña made with Lucuma.
Our lives wouldn’t be complete without chocolates. During the last years, the chocolate has gained a lot of importance in the Peruvian Confectionery, so I invited you to try our Tejas, chocolate candies that have inside dried fruit, nuts, and our special caramel at Helena Chocolatier and if you like bitter chocolate try this one La Iberica.
I hope you like this post, everyone needs something sweet in their lives right?