Sep. 25, 2012 at 11:06 AM ET
From creamy arroz con leche to velvety rich flan, Latin American desserts are known for being insanely rich and extremely delicious. And while Latin American cookery places a lot of emphasis on slow-cooked savory specialties like labor intensive tamales or a simmered sopa de pollo, desserts have earned a very special place within Latin cuisine whether served alongside a cup of perfect cafecito after a meal or served up by the slice at a birthday party. So think beyond American-as-apple-pie for your next sweet craving and try one of five quintessentially Latin desserts: classics like dulce de leche, flan, churros, arroz con leche and tres leches cake, all tasty treats enjoyed in households and restaurants throughout the Caribbean and Latin America.
For tres leches, sponge cake is elevated with the addition of milk, condensed milk and whipped cream for an elegant and timeless dessert that’s a favorite at birthday parties, weddings and family celebrations in Mexico and throughout Latin America. Get the recipe here.
Dulce de leche – a sticky milk-based caramel – instantly makes anything taste better (we love it smeared on cookies, drizzled on ice cream and swirled into coffee) and our recipe for the creamy sweet is absolutely fool-proof.
Arroz con leche – otherwise known as rice pudding – is a traditional Latin dessert with roots dating as far back as Arab-ruled Spain. The dessert then was thought to ease digestion and when transported to the New World by colonizers, was transformed with the addition of fragrant spices in classic Latino style. Get the recipe here.
Sweet, caramel-topped flan – whose roots can be traced to Ancient Rome’s savory egg custards before it emerged as Spain’s beloved crema catalana – is one of the most common desserts throughout Latino cuisine. Get the recipe here.