If you’re stuck with a cold and harsh winter that seems to have no end, these Dominican desserts will surely brighten up your day and shine some Caribbean light into your kitchen. You’ll discover everything from fresh fruits simmering in sweet liquids to classic corn-containing sweets.
Corn is a big staple in Dominican cuisine, so of course we had to make it into a sweet dessert as well! Majarete is a silky corn pudding sweetened with condensed milk and coconut milk; eggs are used as stabilizers and this pudding is gently baked. Dominican bakers also tend to replace the eggs with gelatin and, instead of baking it, they’ll let it set overnight in the fridge. Either way, it’s served cold and with a dash of cinnamon on top, the perfect end to a Caribbean meal. It’s a versatile dessert that can be made into a pie, like this mango corn pudding pie.
Habichuelas con dulce
Only made during Lent, this dish is made from red beans and coconut milk, stewed with sugar and cinnamon sticks. Although an odd combination for many, this is a sweet stew that’s pureed and strained, and all you’re left with is a velvety smooth soup with an earthy flavor and a tropical flair thanks to the coconut milk. Habichuelas con dulce are served cold and with tiny sweet cookies (a take on oyster crackers) this dessert isn’t for the faint of heart, unless you don’t tell your guests what the main ingredient is!
Casquitos de guayaba
Guava trees populate the Dominican Republic like no other, so there had to be a dessert to showcase this gorgeous fruit. Casquitos de guayaba mean “little guava helmets” in Spanish and look just like them! The fresh fruit is simmered for hours in a simple syrup and whole spices mixture. It’s served like a fruit preserve, normally over ice cream.
Pudin de pan
Literally translated to the common bread pudding but with completely different flavors and textures. In the Dominican version of this recipe, day-old bread is soaked with milk, eggs and rum, with the addition of raisins. The texture is dense and usually served cold, unlike the warm American version. Topped with a glaze made from dried plums and sugar, it’s a treat!
Deditos de novia
Dominican children grew up eating these “girlfriend’s fingers” — yes, that’s the literal translation! A shortbread crust envelopes a slice of guava paste and, after being baked, these are coated in powdered sugar. Thin as a delicate finger, these little cookies pack a combination of sweet crust and tart guava filling. The perfect accompaniment to coffee or tea, they’ll inject a bit of tropical flair into your day. Try filling deditos de novia with any other of your favorite fruit pastes, like fig or quince.
Whichever dessert you choose to grace your table, whether simple deditos de novia for your coffee break or a more elaborate majarete pie, remember that somewhere the Caribbean is smiling, happy to be sharing her desserts with you!