Now we get to what some would argue is the best part of your culinary experience during your Peru trip: what to eat for dessert! With its typical Andean dishes, delightful, unique ingredients, and creative melding of various cuisines, it’s not surprising that Peru offers an abundance of preparations to satisfy your sweet tooth. We’ll discuss some of the most popular and luscious, and include a few recipes. DO try this at home!
Alfajores: Perhaps one of the most popular sweet treats you’ll find in Peru is alfajores. This is a type of sugar-dusted cookie sandwich filled with manjar blanco, a creamy and thick caramel sauce. Loosely based on an ancient Arabic dessert known as alajú, these crumbly cookies of Spanish origin have been popular in Peru since colonial times. They make a great accompaniment to your post-prandial coffee, and can be found at most bakeries in Lima and Cusco. Here’s a recipe for the cookie, followed by another for the creamy filling.
Picarones: Some people have compared picarones to deep-fried donuts, but that description does not do them justice. Picarones are a doughy, deep-fried melt-in-your-mouth treat made with sweet potatoes, pumpkin, and spices like cloves and cinnamon. They are believed to have been invented by Afro-Caribbean slaves that were brought to Peru in the 18th century.
Warm and crispy, picarones are served with sweet chancaca syrup, a type of raw cane syrup made from chunks of raw sugar, or panela, which can be found in Peruvian traditional markets like Mercado San Pedro. You can find picarones vendors on busy street corners in Cusco and Lima. What a heavenly way to get your veggies in! Be sure to ask your Kuoda tour guide to help you find some to snack on during your Peru holiday!
Here is a recipe to try.
Crema volteada translates as “upside-down cream,” and if you gravitate towards lusciously sweet, creamy desserts, this flan-like custard is for you. Made with cream, sugar, eggs, and vanilla, crema volteada is drizzled with burnt sugar syrup and served at many Peruvian panaderías (bakeries) and cafés to accompany a coffee drink, or by itself as a luscious, creamy dessert. You can add nuts, raisins, fruits, and other items to create a contrasting crunchy or chewy texture.
Want to make it yourself? Here’s a recipe.
Mazamorra Morada: The ideal dessert to eat on a cold, gray, rainy day in Lima or Cusco is a warm and comforting serving of mazamorra morada. This is another pudding-like dessert based on the popular Peruvian chicha morada, or purple corn drink.
Thickened with cornstarch, dotted with bits of fruit, and spiced with cinnamon and cloves, this warming dessert goes down easy and is especially delicious when accompanied by arroz con leche, or rice pudding. Here’s a recipe.
Maracuyá Cheesecake: If you read our last blog about the fruits of Peru, you may remember my mention of maracuyá, or passion fruit. One of the most mouth-watering desserts you can find is a delicious passion fruit cheesecake. The contrast of the creamy, sweet cheesecake topped with the crunchy, tangy maracuyá fruit and seeds will delight your palate. It’s a dessert that pleases the eye as well as the stomach, with its lovely tangerine-colored glaze dotted with black passion fruit seeds. During your travels through Peru, you will be able to find great maracuyá cheesecake at better cafés and panaderías in Lima and Cusco. Here’s a recipe.
One thing is for certain; your sweet tooth won’t lack options on your next journey to Peru!