Sweet recipes

Sweet recipes

People do not much eat sweet courses in Perú, and many recipes are therefore either "stand alone" items such as biscuits, or aimed at children. Here are some typical "postres" and "dulces".

Most restaurant menus will, however, offer nothing more than "flan" - caramel custard - and sometimes fruit salad. Ice creams - "helados" - are viewed as stand-alone snacks rather than a part of a sit-down meal.

Condensed milk figures largely in these recipes: this is unsweetened and rather more condensed than is typical in the US or Europe. One could use milk powered made into a paste. Another novel ingredient is the sweet pancake. This is exactly what it sounds like: flour, eggs and milk, ideally fried in butter...and then there is the omnipresent manjarblanco, described below.

Various commercial preparations based on manjar blanca

Boil the milk, adding sugar and vanilla. Turn the mixture continually with a wooden spoon, making certain that it does not burn. Take samples from the pot onto a dry, cool plate to see when it begins to set. (Many add a tin of condensed milk to speed up the setting process.)

Lúcuma manjarblanco

The lúcuma is a tropical fruit native to Perú that is described elsewhere. This recipe uses the fruit to flavour the manjarblanco. Peel and pit the fruit, and then puré it with some of the milk. Proceed as for manjarblanco (above), adding the puré last. Once again, both frequent stirring and managing the cooking time is critical to success. This manjarblanco is best set in the refrigerator.

Limones relleños

Chop the lemons and put these to boil in a saucepan. Add a pinch of salt to help remove the bitterness associate with the lemon peel. Sophisticates will replenish the water six or seven times to ensure that this occurs. Strain the lemons and cut them open to remove the seeds. Separately, make a sugar syrup that attains a thick but not caramelized consistence, using around half a cup of sugar. Drop the lemons into this for a short period, rolling them around to ensure that they are thoroughly penetrated by the sugar. Take the lemons out and set them aside to cool. Once they are easy to handle, split them open and fill them with manjarblanco.

Make a further syrup with a cup of sugar per half cup of water, adding the milk. Gently boil for around three quarters of an hour to reduce this to the thread-drawing stage, but before it caramelizes. Put the lemons in this one at a time, forming a white citrus toffee apple when they cool.

A typical Limeña cake, usually filled with cream or fruit A range of typical Limeña puddings
Crema Volteada

This is an item on every menu, usually called "flan". It is, essentially, a caramel custard but generated in an unusual way. Start with a metal mold, and wet it. Sprinkle sugar to stick and place this in a hot oven to caramelize. Beat the eggs, add the milk and the vanilla and pour this into the mold, which is transferred into a bain marie. Stir the mixture as it warms in order to diffuse the caramel, and remove once the mixture has set. When cold, the pudding is tipped out onto plates.

Rice pudding

This is a flavoured rice pudding. The rice is added to boiling water with the cloves, the cinnamon and the salt. It is cooked slowly until soft, when the vanilla, condensed milk and sugar are added. The mixture is stirred constantly until it thickens. It is then sprinkled with ground cinnamon and allowed to cool. Serve cold.

Rice Zambito

The anís, the cinnamon and the cloves are brought to the boil in water, and the rice added when it is fast-boiling. The heat is then lowered for slow cooking. Separately, the pancakes are chopped up and boiled in a minimal amount of water, with the aim of mashing them into a thick paste. This is added to the cooked rice, when the dried fruits are also added. The pudding is topped with ground coconut or cinnamon, to taste.


Boil the sweet potatoes, mash them and make a puré. Then bring the mixture gently to the boil and slowly mix in the egg yolks, stirring constantly. Add the cinnamon and stir until the mixture aggregates. Finally, take it off the fire and let it cool somewhat, before rolling it into little balls. Dust with sugar and serve warm.

Manjarblanco biscuits

Sift in the flour with the sugar, and blend in the butter and the lemon peel. Let the mixture rest, and then roll and cut out 3 cm circles. Put these on a baking tray and place this in the oven at 175°C (350°F), until lightly golden. Remove and wait for them to cool.

Manjarblanco - described above - is a fudge that is usually made from reduced condensed milk with sugar. It can be bought over the counter in Perú but foreigners will have to make it themselves. The balance of the two ingredients is a matter of taste, but the skill lies in reducing the mixture slowly so as not to burn it. Once both ingredients are ready and cool, therefore, stick the biscuits in pairs with manjarblanco between them. Sprinkle with caster sugar before serving.

Honey biscuits

Sift the flour with the sugar and beat in the oil. When the mixture begins to flake apart, add the milk and beat until the mix is smooth. Roll the mixture out and cut into biscuit-sized disks, and place on a baking tray. Traditionally, the top of these is decorated with a knife before baking. Bake at 160°C (375°F) until the biscuits become golden, when they should be set aside to chill. The honey is poured onto a tray and the underside of the biscuits is encouraged to soak it up before these are placed face-to-face in pairs.

Chocolate bullets

Melt the butter, and dissolve the chocolate slowly in it. Add the condensed milk and cook slowly whilst stirring constantly until the mixture thickens to a toffee-like consistency. Add three quarters of the coconut and stir before taking off the heat. After cooking, roll the mixture into little balls between the palms of your wetted hands. Dust each ball in the remainder of the ground coconut. Also served as Habanas, chocolate cigars.

Nuts bullets

Crush the biscuits and mix them with the chopped nuts (or put both briefly through a blender: maintain a rough texture.) Stir the vanilla and condensed milk together and pour over the dry ingredients. These happily takes up the liquid and, after some hours, can be formed into little balls. Dust with caster sugar before serving.


Boil the sweet potatoes together with the cloves until they are well-cooked. Mash them, and add the milk. This is set to cook on a slow fire whilst the sugar, the vanilla and cinnamon are added.

Separately, the egg yolks are whisked up with the wine, and then stirred into the mixture when it thickens. It is best to let it set in a dish for quarter of an hour before serving.

Confit of sweet potato

Peal and boil the sweet potatoes until they are soft. Cut them in segments and leave them to cool under a cloth. Meanwhile, make a syrup with the honey, sugar, clove and cinnamon, gently heating and adding water if the honey is thick and the mixture too stiff. Gently mix the potatoes and the syrup and let it stand to set. Serve cold.


Boil and then puré the sweet potatoes. Make a sugar syrup and add it to this, stirring over a slow heat until the mixture thickens. Take it off the fire and stir in the egg yolks one at a time, ensuring a good mixture. Finally, once again over a slow stove, stir in the spices and wine until the mixture stands firm in the pot. Take it off the stove and make little rolls with it, sprinkling these with anything decorative: crushed biscuits, brown sugar, commercial decorations. The rolls set as they cool, and are served cold.

Champúz de guanábana

The guanábana has come to fame in the West as a stimulant. Its seeds are indeed rich in alkaloids, but the flesh is not and it has a pleasant astringent taste. Supermarkets are beginning to stock it, but one could probably use sour pears or lychees to achieve the same effect.

Chop the fruit into even, small pieces and put them in water in a cooking pot. Add the whole cinnamon, cloves and sugar. Bring to the boil, and then add the mote and the pollenta. (Commercial maize flours have wetters added to them, but Peruvian country-milled material will need to be pre-wetted if it is not go form lumps.) Stir this over a very low flame until it thickens. Meanwhile, the guanábana should be peeled, chopped up and pitted and the resulting fruit covered with the juice of the lemon and its grated peel. The hot mixture is taken off the stove and the guanábana stirred into it. Pour into a flat pan and allow to set, sprinkling it with ground cinnamon.


Drain the coconut, open it and liquidise the meat. Return the coconut liquid. Add the sugar and the finely chopped pancakes, and bring slowly to the boil until it thickens. This takes only a few moments, and may be best done in a microwave. Add the condensed milk and vanilla, and again heat whilst stirring until it thickens. It is usually served cold, shaped into rolls, balls or cut-outs.

Frijol Colado

The beans must be soaked over night, without the customary salt. Tip off the water and add fresh, and bring them to the boil before mixing them in the blender with the condensed milk. Make a boiling syrup of sugar and water, adding the clove, and then stir in the material from the blender. Variations in bean texture may make the mixture set too rapidly: if so, add more milk. It should nevertheless set to a thick texture while cooking. Pour into a serving container and sprinkle the top with sesame seeds. Serve cold.

Cherry babarois Blackcurrant flan

These are little tubes filled with manjarblanco, and close to Arequipa's traditional tejas or "roof tiles". A 'guagua' is Andean slang for a baby.

Melt the lard. Sieve the flour and baking powder together and stir in the lard, the egg yolks and the Pisco. When the ingredients are thoroughly mixed, roll flat and rest it for 30 minutes. Cut into small rectangles and roll these around a thick pencil or similar object, sealing the edges with egg white.

Bring 5mm of oil to smoking heat in a frying pan, and quickly cook the cylinders so that they become rigid. (Do not allow them to wallow in the oil, as the result will be greasy.) When they are cool, fill with manjarblanco and sprinkle with caster sugar.

Chirimoya ice cream

The Chirimoya is a tropical fruit, often called the soursob in the Caribbean. It looks like a misshapen green hand grenade, and has a flavour somewhere between a sherbet and a strawberry ice cream. They are regularly available in Western supermarkets, but the trick is finding a ripe one, or one that has not gone off. This recipe is for a delicious ice cream.

If you prefer, use double cream in place of condensed milk. Peel and stone the fruit, and remove the seeds; then puré the flesh. Make a thick sugar syrup with water and cool this. Separately, whip the egg whites until stiff and then stir in the syrup and the egg yolks. Add the puré and the milk. Dissolve the gelatine in hot water, and stir this in before transferring the mixture to an ice cream maker. (If you do not have one, place in a metal container in the freezer, and remove every five minutes to stir until set. This will prevent large ice crystals from forming, but the texture will be decidedly crunchy.)

A chocolate and pancake layered confection pionono - a very rich cream cake
Lúcuma ice cream.

The lúcuma is a tropical fruit specific to the jungle-facing Northern Andes. It looks somewhat like a pear and tastes as much like a quince as anything. Either of these fruits would do as a substitute, but with a loss of flavour. This recipe is for an ice cream, as above.

Once again, peel, pit and puré the fruit with some of the milk. Make a thick sugar syrup. Beat the egg whites and add the syrup, yolks, milk and puré to form a cream. Melt the gelatine thoroughly in a small amount of water - it is always a good idea to microwave it for five minutes, as this ensures dissolution, but watch it to ensure that it does not froth up and boil over! - and stir the whole lot together. As above, transfer into an ice cream maker or put it in the freezer and periodically stir it yourself.

Mango ice cream.

This follows the precise direction so the two preceding ice creams. Use good, ripe mangos, as poor ones add a taste of turpentine.

Figs Abrillantados

Peel and halve the figs, and boil them in water. It is advisable to change the water twice as this gets rid of the bitter resinous taste that cooked figs can acquire. Make a syrup with the sugar, adding enough water to cover the cooked figs. Add them when the sugar is dissolved and allow them to continue to cook at a very low heat for several hours. Add the lemon juice after one hour. After cooking, cool and drain off the liquid. (It can be used for other things.) Dust the figs with sugar before serving.

Figs Calados

Soak the figs overnight, and then bring them to the boil. Add the spices and the fig leaf, which provides a characteristic flavour of its own. After an hour of cooking at a low heat, gradually add the sugar and boil for a further hour. Serve cold, and ideally with cream of anything similar to cut through the rather bitter - but not disagreeable - undertaste.

Stuffed figs

Boil in water, together with the cloves and the cinnamon for around an hour. Add the sugar slowly, at a low heat, whilst stirring continuously. Leave the mixture to cool and lift out the figs. These can be cut open and stuffed with manjarblanco. Replace them in the liquor and serve chilled.

A coffee flan A chocolate musselina, or pancake layer cake
Sweet humitas

Choclo is a maize variety which is grown for eating, rather as is sweet corn. However, the choclo corn is ripened, dried and normally eaten boiled as a vegetable with meat dishes. It adds a distinctive taste to the traditional humita, or stuffed pancake.

Puré the grain choclo with the milk, melt the butter and stir this in. Add the sugar, cinnamon, salt and raisins. Place on a slow heat and stir constantly until the mixture begins to thicken. Lay the pancakes open on a table an add alternating teaspoons of the mixture and manjarblanco. Wrap the pancake around this combination and place each on in a pot, to which a little hot water is added. Bring to a slow simmer for around twenty minutes to set the ingredients. The humitas can be taken out separately and dusted with sugar when cool, or served in a mass.

Quince jelly

Peel and core the quinces, and chop into small pieces. Boil with the sugar and cinnamon, in a minimal amount of water, until the fruit are soft. Remove the cinnamon stick and then liquidize them. Re-boil, testing small amounts on a cold plate to see when it is ready to set. The mixture can be poured into oven-sterilised glass bottles, or, if it is going to be used quickly, set in a pan and cut into chunks for cool storage.

Manjarblanco layers

Melt the butter. Sift the flour, and carefully stir in the egg yolks and salt, the water and the melted butter. Let this mixture rest for 30 minutes, and then roll it out to around 3mm thick. Cut squares of circles around 30cm across and place these on a greased baking tray, cooking them until golden in as hot an oven as possible. Make four such layers, which you are going to arrange in a stack.The top and bottom layer should be coated with manjarblanco on one side only, the other two on both. Sandwich chopped fresh figs (or other suitable fruit) and quince jelly between these layers. Dust with castor sugar before serving.

Milk Asada

First, whip the eggs and stir in the milk, adding the sugar whilst continuing to beat strongly. The beating continues as the vanilla, Pisco and nuts are also added. Pour the mixture into molds and place in a hot oven, with the molds standing in a bain marie, until the ingredients set and the surface becomes golden. Allow to cool. The molds are normally turned out before serving.


Horchata is a sweet, milky liquor made from almonds. You could probably use almond essence mixed with sweet wine. Boil the camote until soft and mash them, stirring in the horchata. Add the sugar and place on a low heat. When the sugar is well-dissolved, add salt and the clove, cinnamon and wine. Stirring strongly, take it off the fire and add the egg yolks. Continue beating until it gains a pale colour, when it can be turned out into a serving pan and sprinkled with cinnamon.

Maní Confitado

Combine the peanuts, sugar, water and colourant. Boil the mixture over a slow heat, making sure that it is well stirred. As the water boils off, so the peanuts become caramelized. Spread them out on a flat surface to cool, making sure that they do not touch or they will stick together.

Almond bread

Finely grind or liquefy the almonds and mix with the egg white. Then add the sugar to make a uniform mixture that is sufficiently sticky to form balls or little biscuits. This can be eaten as it stands, rather in the manner of marzipan, or it can be quick-fried in hot butter. Either way, dust with caster sugar.

Mazamorra Morada

Pit the cherries and chop them into quarters. Crack the pits and extract the kernels, washing these and then crushing them with the blade of a knife. Boil the maize until soft, strain (keeping the water) and mask the maize. Replace the water and put back on the heat. Add the sugar and seasoning, then the cherries and the crushed pits. Set the mixture to cook very slowly until the fruit is reasonably soft. Add some water to wet the potato starch before mixing it with the fruit, and continue to cook for as short a time as will thicken the mixture. Add lemon juice as soon as it seems set, and pour into a serving disk to set.


Prepare a syrup with sugar and water, then adding the shredded pancakes with much stirring to create a thick paste. Separately, boil the milk and add it to the paste. Add the vanilla and baking powder, and stir constantly until the mixture once again thickens and darkens. The mixture is served cold, usually with fruit.

Choclo cake

First, boil the choclo and cool in order to separate the grains from the cob. Liquidise these with the milk and the anís. Now melt the butter. Separately, beat the egg whites until they are stiff and then mix in the egg yolks, the potato starch and the baking powder. Add the melted butter and stir in the sugar. Now add the liquidised choclo maize anís. Grease a mold and pour the mixture into it, baking this in a hot oven until golden. This will normally take just short of an hour.


Melt the butter and combine with the flour. Add the egg yolks, the white wine, the anís, the cinnamon, the clove, the lemon and the sugar. Stir the mixture continuously for at least 20 minutes until it is smooth and stiff. Roll this out to around 1 cm, cut in attractive shapes and bake until golden on a baking paper in a hot oven.


The topping is prepared by boiling the shredded pancakes at a low heat, adding the orange peel as the mixture begins to set. The final consistency should be thick. Keep this hot.

Boil a peeled, seeded sweet pumpkin and strain, retaining the water. Puré the flesh with the milk and, when this is smooth, gradually add the flour and the water retained above, alternately to keep the mixture from becoming too dry. As a last step, add the baking powder. Pour the mixture into a baking tray and place in a cool oven until it becomes hard enough to handle.

Heat up a frying pan with vegetable oil. Cut out shapes or squares from the mixture in the oven and quickly fry these. Douse them with the topping prepared above, and serve hot.


Shred the pancakes and boil them with a little water, the orange peel, the anís and the cloves. When the pancakes dissolve, turn the heat right down and add the nuts, coconut, white cheese and butter, stirring constantly. The mixture will thicken, and this is the moment to add the wine and crushed french bread. (This should be in 0.5-1 cm fragments.) This will further thicken if kept covered over a very low heat and should eventually be turned out to set in a serving dish, whence it is served cold.


Sift the flour, sugar and salt together. Melt the butter and blend in this, the water and the anís. This is then rolled out to 5 mm and cut into shapes for baking on a greased tray in a medium oven.

Suspiro Limeño

Heat the milk and half the sugar gently until samples placed on a cold plate set. At this point, remove from the heat and beat in the egg yolks, followed by the almond and vanilla essences. Place this in a dish to cool.

Heat the port and the remainder of the sugar until they melt together and form a thick syrup. When this occurs, beat the egg whites until stiff, and then gently stir in the syrup. Pour this over the cooling mixture in the disk and allow it to set. The top can be sprinkled with cinnamon or cocoa.

Nougat pudding

Soak the anís in a small amount of warm water. Melt the lard, and mix this in with the flour. Stir in the anís, the saffron and a pinch of salt. Leave the mixture to rest before rolling it out to 5mm, circular shapes and baking these in a medium oven until golden. The shapes should be as large as possible, subject to the size of the oven.

Make a syrup of sugar and water, adding the shredded pancakes and boiling until these dissolve and the mixture thickens. Add the clove, cinnamon, orange peel and lemon juice. Allow the mixture to cool, when it should have a thick consistency. Use this to cement two or more of the circular shapes made above together. Decorate the top with caster sugar or grated lemon peel.


Melt the butter. Work this into the flour, followed by the egg yolks and the Pisco. Knead this until it is uniform and then cut it into five segments. Roll each of these out into circular forms around 5 mm thick. Place these on greased baking trays, prick their centres with a fork to stop them rising too much and cook in a medium oven until golden. The edges will rise, and this makes a cup that can be filled with manjarblanco when they are cool, often mixed with fresh pineapple chunks or other fruit. (One could also try the quince jelly.)


Shred the pancakes and boil down in water. Add the lard and the anís, stirring until the lard is melted in. Then stir in the pollenta and cook slowly until thick, stirring constantly. Add the raisins and pour into a serving dish to set. Decorate the top with more raisins.

A strawberry mousse A Limeña cake filled with sugared fruit, such as melon