Many people would say that the best part of traveling to new locations is the opportunity to try new foods. Different countries present cuisine that is delectable in their own unique ways. If you love dessert, you might be interested in knowing more about the dessert items in different countries, such as the 15 best Chilean desserts.
There are many different types of Chilean desserts that people can enjoy. Some of these desserts are common sweet snacks, some qualify as beverages, and some are rich cakes and ice creams. Some of the best Chilean desserts include alfajores, leche asada, torta tres leche, sopaipillas, and chirimoya alegre.
If you have a sweet tooth and a passion for travel, read on. You might just see something that tempts you. You might want to try making some of these traditional Chilean desserts in your own kitchen, or it may even inspire you to make travel plans to Chile for your next big vacation!
If you like cookie sandwiches, there is a good chance you will like these. Chilean alfajores are sandwiches with two biscuits (usually buttery round shortcake cookies) surrounding a layer of manjar, or dulce de leche, which is a spread that consists of sugar and boiled milk. Sometimes, the filling is made out of jam instead.
After the cookie sandwich is made, it’s coated with white, milk, or dark chocolate or desiccated coconut. It’s also an option for the baker to leave them without a coating, as they are still delicious this way.
This is one of the most popular sweet snacks in Chile, so it’ll be really easy to find. In fact, you’ll be able to find it all over South America and even in Spain (where this dessert was invented) and the Philippines. It’s been affectionately dubbed the Chilean Oreo by some if that means anything to you!
2. Leche Asada
The English translation for “leche asada” is “roasted milk.” This may not sound that delicious to you, but there is much more to this popular South American dessert than roasted milk. It contains not only milk, but also vanilla, eggs, and sugar. It is very sweet and flavorful, and most of the time, it is very rich.
It is very similar to flan, although the consistency is a little bit different. Flan is smooth on the surface, while leche asada has a crispy, toasted custard layer on the top. This is because the latter is baked directly in the oven, while flan is cooked in a bain-marie or hot water bath.
Usually, you’re not going to find this desert in formal dining venues in Chile. You’re more likely to find it in supermarkets or in people’s homes, based on family recipes. It is particularly popular in Chile, Colombia, and Peru. It can also be known as tres leches because some recipes involve the addition of heavy cream, in order to make the custard creamier and richer.
These types of cookies exist in many different cultures around the world. If you have ever had Pirouettes, named by the French, you know that these are rolled wafer cookies that are crunchy on the outside and hollow on the inside. Many people in Chile would consider these cookies to be a snack rather than a dessert, but they can be a great dessert as well.
Typically, in Chile, these cookies are filled with manjar on the inside. Sometimes, they are coated with chocolate as well. They are easy to find since you can usually get them from food vendor carts, stalls on the sidewalk, supermarkets, and neighborhood bakeries.
If you want a lighter dessert that still satisfies your sweet tooth and goes well with coffee or milk, this might be a great choice. It’s also great because it’s finger food and is less likely to make a big mess.
4. Leche Nevada
This dessert is very popular, particularly in southern Chile. Many people refer to it as the “Chilean Floating Islands” due to the way it looks. It is whipped and frothy, with a cloud of meringue that has an egg-based custard as its base.
Meringue is used in desserts all over the world, but this dessert is still unique because of the spin that Chilean bakers have put on it. Leche nevada actually has its roots in French kitchens. In the French version, the cloud of meringue is on top of a pool of creme anglaise (instead of the Chilean custard), and it is served on a plate.
In Chile, it is served in a small glass and eaten with a spoon. The egg-based custard that is a part of the Chilean dessert can also be topped with coffee, fruit jams, or other ingredients that will give it unique flavors. It is actually a very easy Chilean dessert to make, taking as little as 10 minutes in the comfort of one’s own kitchen.
Even though this dessert is German in origin, Chileans have made it their own. Germans brought it to the country when they settled in the mid-nineteenth century after World War II. “Kuchen” is the German word for “cake,” and in some parts of South America, it’s known as cuca.
It is an airy and fluffy cake that is typically filled with all sorts of toppings, mostly fruit fillings. Traditionally, the feelings will include apple, blueberry, or raspberry. Many recipes include slivered almonds or other nuts on the outside to give it a little bit of extra flavor and crunchiness.
Usually, it has either a crust or a layer of crumbles on top. The ones you might particularly want to try are the ones that contain local fruits, such as quince (membrillo) and blackberries (mora).
6. Torta de Mil Hojas
The English translation of “torta de mil hojas” is “cake of 1,000 leaves.” It isn’t literally made of leaves, but the name makes sense because it is made using stacked layers of crispy, thin puff pastry. These layers have manjar and walnuts in between. You can serve this cake in either square or triangular pieces.
Since it has plenty of manjar, Some people prefer to eat it with a layer of acidic jam, such as raspberry or cherry jam. They find it helps offset the intense sweetness that one can taste throughout the cake. It can also make the servings of cake more aesthetically appealing, adding pink and red tones to the plate.
This is a very popular dessert in Chile, often served at baby showers, birthday parties, and baptisms. Typically, any big Chilean family function will involve the serving of this dessert. Although all recipes of this dessert taste similar, there are subtle variations. Many families have their own recipes that are passed down through generations.
7. Torta Tres Leches
The English translation of the name “torta tres leches” is “three milks cake.” This is a reference to the three different kinds of milk in which the baker soaks the sponge cake: whole milk, condensed milk, and evaporated milk. At a quick glance, it looks like a plain sponge cake, but your taste buds will tell you something very different.
After it has been soaked in the milk mixture, the sponge cake takes on a much smoother and richer texture. Typically, it’s served with a topping of light toffee sauce to make it even more delectable. A lot of people in Chile like to add either manjar or fruit jam, depending on personal preference, to give it an even more intense sweetness.
8. Pan de Pascua
“Pascua” in Chile is used to refer to either Easter or Christmas. This particular cake is usually eaten around Christmas, and it has become a very important part of many Chileans’ holiday traditions. It is a fruity and nutty sponge cake that has many different components, including candied fruit, honey, and ginger.
Chilean Pan de pascua is thought to have its roots in the fruitcake that most people are very familiar with around Christmastime, which comes from Europe. Specifically, it is thought to be an evolution of stollen, from Germany, and panettone, from Italy.
However, it is unique in Chile because of different variations in family recipes, as well as the addition of manjar and fruits that are native to the area. These unique ingredients are a part of the dessert, in addition to the traditional ingredients, which include raisins, almonds, walnuts, traditional spices, and spirits (such as rum).
If you want something simple and sweet, this might be a great choice. Cocadas are made only of eggs and desiccated coconut. They also have toasted coconut on the outside most of the time, although they can be garnished with chopped almonds if the baker chooses.
Chilean Cocadas are also very simple, and you can even eat them with just your hands if they want. Basically, they are just balls of sweetened coconut in most cases.
One great thing about this dessert is that it is gluten-free. This means that if you have celiac disease or just want to avoid gluten in general, this is a great choice that you can try without fear.
10. Berlines Chilenos
If you like donuts, you will probably want to try these. They are fairly easy to prepare if you want to try to make your own. The dough is allowed to rise for a little bit before the baker fries it on each side for about two minutes.
After it is fully cooked, it is injected with a filling of your choice. Usually, this filling is cream, custard, jam, hazelnut spread, or manjar. Just like conventional donuts, these come in a variety of flavors and can have all sorts of different fillings. You can also top it off with extra sweetening ingredients, such as fruit, manjar, or powdered sugar.
This is another great option for people who already know they love donuts. Sopaipillas are usually treated more as a snack than a dessert in Chile. People eat them at all times of the day. However, you can definitely choose to eat them for dessert if you want, as they are very sweet. This is a fried pastry, and you can eat it either warm or cold.
They are typically made from a mixture of pumpkin and flour, which is then deep-fried. The custom is then to drizzle them with a hot sauce, which consists of cinnamon, sugar, and orange rind. It is sweet and spicy at the same time, adding a lot of flavor to this sweet dish.
However, if you don’t like the hot sauce, you can top it with something else, such as sugar, honey, or manjar. Many people think they are just fine with no topping at all!
12. Chirimoya Alegre
As you would probably have figured, Chile has its own unique set of fruits and vegetables that naturally grow. The chirimoya, also known as the custard apple, is a very popular fruit in Chile that grows in the summer. It is called both the custard apple and the ice cream fruit because it has very sweet and creamy flesh.
This velvety-textured fruit is very common not only in Chile but also in Ecuador and Peru.
You can eat this fruit on its own, or you can serve it with some variation of orange. Some people like to serve pieces of it in a glass of orange juice, while others prefer to make a fruit salad with slices of orange and custard apple. If you want something even sweeter, you can add a garnish, such as cinnamon, powdered sugar, or mint leaves.
You can also pour condensed milk on the top for more flavor. Another option is to add in a shot of Cointreau if you would prefer a cocktail.
You can whip up something really delicious with this fruit even if you don’t have stellar cooking skills. This is one way to satisfy your sweet tooth while keeping it light and healthy. It’s also a refreshing way to cool down on a hot summer day!
13. Mote Con Huesillos
Many people don’t think that drinks can count as desserts. However, it really does depend on the drink. On the outside, mote con huesillos doesn’t necessarily look great; it just looks like brown liquid with wheat grains gathered at the bottom. However, once you taste it, you’ll see how deceptive appearances can be.
However, what it really is is a drink made up of dried peaches, or huesillos. These are cooked in water, sugar, and cinnamon, and then the mixture is blended with fresh husked wheat, also known as mote. It’s so thick that you can eat it with a spoon, and once you get to the bottom, you can enjoy the husked wheat, which is soaked in caramelized peach juice.
The drink is mostly composed of a sugary syrup, although there is usually at least one whole stewed dried peach within the glass.
14. Chilean Ice Cream
It’s hard to find a person who doesn’t love ice cream. If you love ice cream in your own country, you’ll definitely want to try ice cream in Chile. There are flavors that you won’t be able to experience anywhere else in the world. For example, there are fruits that are found only in South America. These include the eggfruit or lucuma and custard apple or chirimoya.
The ice cream flavors even vary depending on where you are in Chile. If you’re in the southern region, you can try maqui ice cream, which is flavored with a berry that only grows in Patagonia.
In the northern regions, such as San Pedro de Atacama, you can try algarroba ice cream, flavored with a carob that resembles chocolate in flavor. There are also plants, such as chañar and rica rica, which contain aromatic leaves that can be used to create unique ice cream flavors.
15. Brazo de Reina
If you like Swiss rolls, chances are you will like this cake. This is basically the Chilean version of a Swiss roll. In case you didn’t know, a Swiss roll is a treat that is made by spreading a layer of whipped cream, icing, or jam on a layer of sponge cake and rolling it so that there is a swirling of the filling in the middle.
The brazo de reina usually has manjar as the filling, which is not surprising considering how many Chilean desserts contain manjar. Although this is the most common filling, there are other options, including fruit jam, chocolate cream, and creme patisserie. It’s really about what tastes good to you!
Chilean Desserts Are Delicious But There’s More to Explore
As you can see, there is a huge amount of variety in Chilean desserts. This is probably true of any country that you could visit, but if you’ve never been to Chile, you will enjoy the special privilege of trying these delectable desserts for the first time. Or maybe even trying your hand at some easy chilean dessert recipes.
If you like sweets, particularly those that include milk and dulce de leche, you will likely really enjoy sampling Chilean desserts. The problem might actually end up being that you enjoy them too much! Whether you eat them after traditional Chilean meals or on their own, they are definitely worth experiencing.
- Cascada Expediciones: Top 10 Chilean Desserts and Sweets
- Matador Network: 10 Chilean desserts the world needs to know
- The Culture Trip: Chile’s Most Popular Sweets and Desserts to Try on Your Next Trip
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