If you have ever been on holiday to Peru, you may have tried some of their sumptuous desserts while you were there. From beautiful deep-fried doughnuts to quinoa pudding, there are a wide variety of tasty, sweet dishes that come from this country.
Some of them may require specialized ingredients, but others are relatively easy to make by yourself at home with items you probably already have in your pantry. In this list, we will be covering 19 simple Peruvian desserts that you can make at home.
Picarones are a type of Peruvian doughnut that doesn’t rely on flour or eggs to make the batter. Instead, these crispy treats are made from a combination of Peruvian squash, called macre, and sweet potatoes.
Once you have blended these two ingredients into a smooth purée, you will need to let the batter ferment for a few hours until it has doubled or tripled in size. After this, you will be ready to deep-fry your rings of dough and cover them in syrup for a sumptuous Peruvian treat.
Manjar Blanco is a Peruvian version of a Spanish dessert called Dulce de Leche. It is a milk based caramel sauce that is used in many South American desserts, including these delightful little Alfajores.
These Peruvian biscuits are so buttery they will melt in your mouth, and go beautifully with a creamy manjar blanco filling.
They take less than an hour to make, and once you get the hang of this recipe, you won’t be able to get enough of these sugar dusted caramel cookies.
The deep purple corn used for this recipe only grows in certain regions of the Andes mountains. It is an extremely nutritious relative of sweetcorn that has antioxidant properties, which means it can help protect your cells against the build up of free radicals.
It is commonly used in this pudding, which is regularly served at birthday celebrations in Peru.
This fruity dessert can be made in a single pot and is very easy, provided you can find purple corn at your local wholefoods shop.
This sticky, anise flavored dessert is an acquired taste, but once you are accustomed to it, you will find it is also very delicious. Turrón de Doña Pepa is made with layers of dough that contains anise seeds and extract to provide a strong taste similar to black licorice.
The syrup is made from apples, lime, orange and prunes for a sweet but sticky consistency that holds the layers of dough together. You can garnish this dessert with candy sprinkles to create a beautiful Peruvian birthday treat.
The name of this dish translates to little pigs, and it originated in Mexico before finding its way into confectionaries across Peru and the US. As the name suggests, these ginger bread biscuits are commonly shaped to look like little pigs.
With molasses, ginger, cinnamon and buttermilk, these cookies are delightfully soft and chewy. The egg glaze gives them a crispy outside that makes them incredibly satisfying, especially when enjoyed with a cup of coffee.
This is another recipe that uses manjar blanco, and it even contains instructions for making your own, so you don’t have to buy it from the shops. A puddle of manjar is placed at the bottom of a glass and topped with a rich meringue made from egg whites, sugar and port.
All together, this is a sumptuous dessert that is incredibly simple to make. It is also a great refreshment for a warm summer’s day that can be whipped up in less than half an hour.
Rice pudding is a popular dessert served all over the world, so it is no wonder there is a Spanish version that made its way to Peru. Arroz con leche is a creamy, rich rice pudding that is flavored with whole cinnamon sticks and lemon zest.
To get the best rice pudding, you will need to use short grain rice in order to get the correct consistency. You can garnish this meal with an extra sprinkling of cinnamon before you tuck in.
Tres leche is a soft Peruvian sponge cake with an extra moist crumb thanks to the addition of 5 eggs in the batter. It is topped with a syrup made from three different types of milk as well as a whipped cream frosting.
This cake melts in your mouth and every bite is packed with a rich, creamy flavor. The best garnish for this dish is a few chopped strawberries that will go beautifully with the cream frosting.
While this recipe doesn’t come from Peru, it is still one of the countries most popular desserts. It consists of a solidified custard base made from whole milk and lots of eggs.
This gelatinous, creamy base tastes beautiful enough as it is, but is even more delicious with a topping of caramel sauce. Make sure your caramel doesn’t turn too brown, or it may be burnt and have a bitter taste.
This Peruvian dessert is commonly served around Christmastime and makes a delightful alternative to fruit cake during the festive season. You will need to ferment the dough and slowly add more ingredients to it until you are ready to mix in the dried fruit.
It also helps to let the raisins and candied oranges steep in white rum overnight while the first dough is fermenting. As you can tell, there is a lot of work that goes into making this fruit cake, but the end results are worth every minute.
As you can tell from the name, this is another recipe that incorporates manjar blanco. The soft, milky caramel sauce makes up the filling for these swirling sweet rolls that taste absolutely incredible.
The dough for these rolls is extremely moist thanks to all the eggs in it, and has a mild citrus edge offered by the lemon zest. These pionono are delicious when eaten by themselves or with a side of fresh berries and whipped cream.
To make this sweet black bean pudding, you will need to let your beans steep in water overnight before you can cook them. The puréed beans are mixed with milk, sugar, cinnamon and cloves to create a rich pudding that has a dark chocolaty flavor.
Stir everything until it thickens, and you can clearly see the bottom of the pot. The final product is dusted with sesame seeds and served hot for a quick and simple Peruvian dessert.
These Peruvian truffles are so decadently delightful that when you show them to your friend and family, they will hardly be able to believe they are homemade. They are made from melted dark chocolate that is poured into a mold and filled with pecan nuts and manjar blanco.
The end result is a crunchy truffle with a creamy caramel center that tastes better than many chocolate you can buy in the shops.
If you have any spare stale bread lying around your kitchen, you can put it to good use by making this delicious Peruvian bread pudding. The bread crumbs are cooked until they are very crunchy and then coated in a thick syrup made from candied fruit, brown sugar and fresh cinnamon.
With raisins that have been soaked in vodka and freshly chopped nuts sprinkled over the top, this decadent pudding is very luxurious and bursting with sweet flavors.
Quinoa is a super food that was known to the Incas as the ‘mother grain’ for its golden color and incredible health benefits. While it is typically used in savory dishes, it can also be used to make a Peruvian alternative to rice pudding when cooked in full fat milk.
To bring out the natural sweetness of this grain, it is mixed with cinnamon, vanilla essence, lemon zest and cloves. This wholesome dessert takes less than an hour to make and can be garnished with delicious fresh fruit and chopped nuts.
This recipe is colloquially referred to as fried napkins, and it is easy to see why when you see the thin pastry shells folded around a filling of manjar blanco. To make this recipe, you will need to separate out 6 egg yolks and place them in a pile of flour with a dent in the middle.
The yolks are slowly folded into the flour and the resultant batter is fried to create a crispy outer layer for housing the caramel. You can save time on prep for this meal by buying pre-made manjar blanco, or dulce de leche, from the shops.
Champus is a fruity South American pudding that is often made using mote, which consists of dried and shelled corn. This is mixed with a Peruvian fruit called guanabana, although if you can’t find this ingredient then you can use a different fruit instead called Cherimoya.
These items are combined with chopped green apples, pineapple and cinnamon for a fruity dessert that is creamy smooth. It is best served in a tall glass with an extra sprinkling of cinnamon over the top.
Another recipe that uses Peruvian purple corn, but this time one for a refreshing beverage rather than a pudding. Chicha morada is a popular drink in Peru that tastes sweet with a mild spicy kick that makes just the thing you need for a hot day.
The corn is boiled down to release its flavors and coloring, which creates a dark liquid that needs to be chilled before it can be served. It tastes best when served with fresh lime juice and freshly chopped cubes of pear and apple.
No list of Peruvian desserts would be complete without hot chocolate. After all, South America was the birthplace of this drink, and this recipe teaches you how to create the perfect Incan cocoa.
Made with bitter chocolate powder and a dash of coffee grounds, this beverage is flavored with cinnamon, orange peel, nutmeg and milk. It isn’t as sweet as regular hot chocolate, but the slightly spicy kick gives it a unique taste that will keep you coming back time and time again.
Peru is home to many tasty and easy to make dishes that are both sweet and savory. Most of the items on this list can be made in very little time, and even those that do require more work are worth it when you taste the final product.
If you find some black corn or manjar blanco at your local Spanish food shop, then why not pick it up and try one of these recipes for yourself. Once you do make any of these irresistible delicacies, you are sure to find them very addictive and extremely tasty.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Manjar Blanco?
Manjar Blanco is a Spanish form of caramel that mainly consists of milk and sugar. It is a rich, creamy dessert that is often used as a filling in many Peruvian desserts. You can buy it as Dulce de Leche from whole food shops across the US.
Can You Buy Purple Corn In The US?
Purple corn is a different species of sweetcorn that grows exclusively in the Andes mountains. It is used in many Peruvian desserts and even in one of their most popular drinks called chicha morada. You can find this corn in wholefood shops across the US if you are lucky, or buy it online if you can’t find it in your local area.
Purple corn is actually filled with protein, fibre and antioxidants which help to protect your cells against the build up of free radicals. If you do get the chance to try this Peruvian superfood, then it is certainly not an opportunity to be missed.
What Is Guanabana?
In our champus recipe, we briefly mentioned a Peruvian fruit called Guanabana. For those wondering, this is one name for the fruit from the Annona muricata tree, also known as sour sop in some areas. It tastes like a mixture of strawberry and apple, with a slight hint of citrus on the aftertaste.