Peruvian Desserts – Suspiro de Limeña

Maga....mis suspirosSuspiro de Limeña (or Limeño, or without the ‘de’, or with ‘a la’ instead of ‘de’, etc …..) literally translates as ‘sigh of a Limeña’, (Limeña meaning a woman from Lima). I’m not sure where the name comes from but I think it’s quite beautiful and original!

The dessert is made up of two parts. The top is a soft meringue (think Italian meringue) flavoured delicately with port, and the bottom is a base of manjar blanco (a caramel made from milk and sugar) mixed with egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla.

It is a very sweet dessert. No joke.

I actually really, really love the soft, fluffy meringue that sits on the top. It is definitely my favourite part and I probably could just eat a bowl of that. Isn’t it amazing what egg whites become when they are whisked, with a little sugar, to within an inch of their lives!

The dessert in general is scrumptious, but I am super fussy with the particular ones that I will eat. Although, essentially, this dessert is made from  milk, I do not much like the taste of it, and therefore do not like tasting milk in my desserts. In addition to this, a shortcut to make manjar blanco is to boil condensed milk  until it becomes manjar, but the taste of condensed milk is a million times worse than regular milk. For me, a good manjar blanco shouldn’t taste like condensed milk, and therefore neither should any dessert with it in. Therefore, I am always super happy when I find a suspiro that fits the bill!

Here is a list of some of the best in the city that I have tasted so far, but I’m sure there are many more yet to be tested!

I LOVE LIMA

Where would I recommend in Lima to eat Suspiro de Limeña?

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Peruvian Desserts – Turrón de Doña Pepa

turronTurrón is extremely popular here in Lima, and I guess throughout Peru too. There are different kinds of turrón (plain, chocolate…), but the one I am concentrating on is Turrón de Doña Pepa. Although this type of turrón is sold throughout the year, October is the month where you will see it the most. This is due to it being the celebratory sweet food for the procession of ‘Señor de los Milagros’ (the Lord of the Miracles) which takes place in October.

It was originally made by a lady as a thank you gift for the Lord of the Miracles during the annual processions she visited, and it has become a tradition ever since. (If you want to read more about the history of the Turrón de Doña Pepa, have a look at Peru Delights who explain more about it, and give you a recipe to make it yourself!)

Turrón de Doña Pepa is made up of sticks of pastry-style dough (normally about 3-layers deep), stuck together with a certain variety of honey or syrup, and sprinkled with brightly coloured hundreds and thousands, sprinkles and/or candy pieces. The amount of sprinkles used basically shout out ‘I am a party in a dessert’.

The pastry is flavoured with aniseed, and the honey is also flavoured, but this time with acidic fruits like orange and pineapple. The honey is syrupy and very sticky, but alongside an unsweetened pastry, they make the perfect combination. A very tasty sweet treat that can be eaten all the year round, not just in October!

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Peruvian Desserts – Churros

churros Peru loves churros, and you can find them everywhere throughout Lima, from carts in the street to specialised churro stores in the malls. They are served all over the world, so I’m sure you will more than likely have eaten one at some point, but if you haven’t, then I can explain.

Churros are long sticks of dough piped out from a star shaped nozzle straight into hot oil, and fried. The star shape creates slight ridges along the dough making them the perfect texture to pick up the sugar they are normally rolled in after frying.

Each country likes to put a slightly different twist on their churros and here in Peru they predominantly fill them with manjar blanco (sometimes chocolate or vanilla, and occasionally other flavours).

I LOVE LIMA Where would I recommend in Lima to eat them?

1. ManoloManolo is an institution among locals, who say it’s where you go when you need that churro fix, and with more than 40 years experience, it is hard to doubt that. It’s a great location to stop and buy them individually, while you are wandering through Miraflores, either down to Larcomar or up to Parque Kennedy. I mean, you need a churro to help you along the way…right? Here you can choose between fillings of manjar blanco, chocolate or vanilla. 

Av. Larco 608, Miraflores

2. La 73. I have said this before and I will say it again, these are epic. It is one of the restaurants’ desserts, made up of 6 fat churros, filled with manjar blanco, served with a chocolate dipping sauce and caramelised apples. Heaven. In Summer, or Winter to be honest, you can sit outside under the lanterns on their patio, at the front of their restaurant, and enjoy this little (ok, big) plate of fried wonders by themselves or perhaps after La 73’s quinoa risotto. After all, there is always space for dessert, especially this one. (La 73 also has an incredible chocolate melting fondant pudding….but we’ll save that story for another day.)

Av. El Sol Oeste 175, Barranco

Peruvian Desserts – Tres Leches

tres leches

Tres Leches literally translates as three milks, and the milks that it refers to is condensed milk, evaporated milk and crema de leche. Don’t worry it’s not some kind of milky, flan-type panacotta monstrosity, the dessert is actually a light sponge cake soaked in the three milks and sometimes topped partly or completely with soft meringue. Now that sounds so much better, don’t you think?! Also, it normally comes served with all the excess sweet milky mixture, so no mouthful should ever be dry at all. This dessert is heavenly and very rich, especially if you like big fat slices like I do. Coming from the person least likely to drink/eat anything milk related, you know this cake must be awesome.

I LOVE LIMAWhere would I recommend in Lima to try it?

1. Maga…mis suspiros. It costs s/8.50 a slice and it’s so worth it (did I just sound like a shampoo advert?). It’s a good hearty slice, with an amazing flavour and comes topped with little dots of soft meringue (this is the one pictured above). Happy days! It’s probably good to share a slice like this but to be honest you could be selfish and polish this off all by yourself. This is a very popular place to come for tres leches, along with all of her other desserts on sale. It is a small shop but there are a few tables to sit in and eat, otherwise you can take away and enjoy in the comfort of your living room in your pyjamas.

Av. Benavides 1113, Miraflores (Between Paseo de la República and Republica de Panamá)

2. La Bodega de la Trattoría (started by Sandra Plevisani). I tried her Cinco Leches (Five Leches) at Mistura 2013 (Peru’s main food festival) for less than s/7 and I was incredibly lucky. Topped with a soft meringue and served with strawberries, this is some of the best ‘Tres’ Leches I have ever eaten, and don’t just take my word for it. According to El Comercio she sold 10,600 portions of this in just one day at Mistura last year! You can try it too but you will have to pay s/22 in her restaurant for the pleasure. (I have not tried it here but I can only assume it’s just as good!) Honestly, you will not regret paying the money for it once you eat it, but you will regret it if you leave without trying it!!

P.S. Do you want to know what the other ‘leches’ were that made this particular dessert up to a Cinco Leches? They were leche de coco (coconut milk) and manjar blanco (basically condensed milk boiled in the can).

The Cinco Leches is also available at her other restaurant La Trattoría di Mambrino.

Av. Primavera 712, Santiago de Surco. (there are 4 other locations for La Bodega de la Trattoría, so check the website for more details)

****ADDITION TO THE LIST (5/10/2014)!****

Tres Leches La Heladeria3. La Heladeria. Technically you do have to travel outside of Lima city to find this, but the beach town of Punta Hermosa is only about 25-30 minutes away and seeing as summer is approaching, you will be much more likely to find yourself heading out in this direction. This small cafe sells artesanal ice cream, desserts, juices and more, and obviously I have tried more than a couple of the desserts here. The Tres Leches at La Heladeria is sublime. Smooth, creamy and sweet. There is barely a taste of milk, which suits me perfectly, and it is finished with shavings of chocolate. This is absolutely one of the best Tres Leches I have eaten in Peru.

(The map on the Facebook page is not in the correct location and I cannot find the name of the street. Ask anyone in Playa Caballeros and they will be able to direct you to the location! Security guards are really helpful.)

Coming from ‘Playa Caballeros’ you take the road out from the beach called Av. Las Tres Bahias, go through the security gate and just to the left in front of you is La Heladeria, on the other side of the small roundabout.)