Eating ‘Pancita‘ every day is perhaps the fastest way to get fat in Peru.
Then comes the question: Is there any other way to grow your ‘Pancita’ without eating Peruvian ‘Pancita‘? Well, if you have a sweet tooth, there is a way. You can grow your Pancita in no time by enjoying our mind-blowing Desserts.
Only a Peruvian knows how addictive our desserts are. Those having a sweet tooth, beware. Paraphrasing a well-known slogan “Once you pop, you can’t stop”. If you begin tasting Peruvian desserts, here is our suggestion: be smart and stay away from a weight scale and your house mirrors.
Besides their stunning presentation, there is a mindblowing selection for all tastes. Let’s begin:
Related Content: 27 Spanish Phrases That Are Unique To Peruvians
1. Mazamorra Morada- Purple Corn PuddingImage Source: Peru a la carte
This is not the mother but the great-great-great grandmother of all Peruvian desserts. Almost 500 years old, Purple corn pudding is still going strong. The secret? Peruvian palates that have always appreciated fabulous flavors.
Mazamorra comes from Mazmorra (dungeon). This wheat flour pudding was the daily staple of Spaniards imprisoned in the dungeons. During the Peruvian viceroyalty, Africans used purple corn to make their own Mazamorra version. But whenever they served it for colonial aristocrats, Africans added dried fruits, pineapples, prunes, raisins and cinnamon.
Since then, limeños gradually became Mazamorreros by nature.
2. Arroz con Leche- Rice PuddingImage Source: Ramon de Cangas
Peruvians eat rice almost every day. If you want to annoy a Peruvian, dare to serve us a dish without rice. All hell will break loose, I promise. We will begin complaining: where is the rice?! Since Peruvians can’t live without rice, we also have it for dessert: Arroz con Leche.
The rise of rice pudding in Latin America began after the Spanish Conquest. Although Spaniards brought it to the Americas, rice pudding is an original Moorish recipe. Arroz con Leche is made by slowly cooking the rice in milk and sugar. Adding raising and cinnamon add a refined taste.
Street hawkers have been selling Arroz con Leche since the birth of colonialism.
3. El Clasico Peruano- The Peruvian Soccer ClassicImage Source: Ramon de Cangas
Our two greatest soccer teams are Universitario and Alianza Lima. Both teams hold a historic rivalry, and there’s commotion anytime they play. This thrilling game is “The Peruvian Soccer Classic”. Every Classic concludes in a gang fight Garra Crema vs Gronigans; and some injured fans end up in the emergency ward.
Stereotypically, Universitario is seen as the white fans’ soccer team, and Alianza as that of Afro-Peruvians. Historical facts too long to explain solidified this view. Thus, whoever named the combination of both Purple Corn and Rice Pudding envisioned this: (Universitario, white, rice pudding) vs (Alianza Lima, dark, Purple Corn Pudding). Clasico Peruano, que rico carajo.
4. Queso Helado, Frozen CheeseImage Source: Peru delights
Arequipeño nationals boast their own dessert too. Arequipeños make this artisanal ice cream at home. Don’t let the name confuse you. There’s no cheese involved. Just three basic items: fresh milk, sweetened condensed milk, and evaporated milk.
Do you want to annoy an Arequipeño? Just ask him: If you guys use three types of milk, Why did you name it ‘frozen cheese’? Why didn’t you just name it Tres Leches?
5. Tres Leches, Three Types of MilkImage Source: Provecho Peru
If you’re still there: the name was already taken. Sorry.
Three kinds of milk? No, this isn’t a superpower shake. It’s just a sponge cake soaked in three milk types. Specifically, the types used for Queso Helado: fresh milk, sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk.
6. Crema Volteada – Peruvian Caramel CustardImage Source: Record
Crema Volteada means “Upside down cream” or “flipped cream”. Why do they call it “flipped”? Because after mixing, steaming and cooling the milk and egg base, the mix is actually “flipped over” a plate. Wow.
The delightful Crema Volteada is a quintessential item in the cafes which have proliferated in Lima. Perhaps the most delicious part is the caramel over the top. The French have their own version: the crème caramel.
7. Leche Asada – Milk CustardImage Source: La Buena Mesa
The world of children is magical. When mom made Leche Asada (Roasted Milk), I naively thought she just burned plain milk in a pot. But the preparation is far more complex.
Mom stirred milk, eggs and vanilla extract in a pot. Afterward, she roasted the mix in the oven from 30 to 45 minutes. I loved Roasted Milk and was always impatient to eat it. The usual outcome was eating Roasted Milk with a roasted tongue.
8. Tanta Wawa – Andean Sweet BreadImage Source: Andina
This traditional sweet Andean bread is found all over Cusco. Wawa means baby in Quechua.
When I visited Cuzco, I fell in love with Tanta Wawa. So here is our warning: If you love eating Tanta Wawa, you will eventually end up looking like one. It happened to me: I lost count of how many I ate. But I clearly remember I wound up as round, soft and spongy.
9. ChampúsImage Source: Peru delights
Champus!! Not the hair product. Champus is my favorite dessert during Peruvian winters. This pudding contains dried corn (mote), guanabana or chirimoya, green apple and cinnamon. In colonial Lima, several street hawkers advertised Champus by yelling around the block. They were called Champuseras.
10. Mazamorra de Tocosh – Tocosh PuddingImage Source: Gt Peru
An Inca food, Tocosh is made from fermented potato pulp. No other dessert in the world can compare to Tocosh. Why? Well, Tocosh smells as dirty feet. I will never forget the day grandma packed Mazamorra de Tocosh for my lunch at school. Not a bright idea. My schoolmates took me to the patio and almost lynched me.
Still, due to my indigenous roots, I occasionally eat Tocosh. Besides being delicious, it has medicinal properties against pneumonia, gastric ulcers and a cold.
11. Picarones – Peruvian DoughnutsImage Source: El Comercio
This is the King of Peruvian sweets; the most sought-after dessert from Auntie Poison. Auntie’s Picarones taste like heaven and will definitely send you there. You will feel like telling them: “Yummy, Auntie! Your Picarones are quite a killer! They are out of this world!”
Our Picarones are like American donuts, only a million times better. They are not only cooked using eggs and flour but sweet potatoes and chancaca (syrup made from cane sugar)
12. Cachangas – Fried Dough
Cachangas are basically fried dough. The name comes from the Quechua Kachampu, which means “I want to tell you something.” Centuries ago, Peruvian lovers did not send teddy bears, flowers or chocolates. There was something more symbolic and romantic: A Cachanga soaked in honey! So when a colonial Limeña was sent a Chachanga, she may have thought: Oh, that guy is so romantic!”
It’s amazing how a flat, bubbly and sticky Cachanga stirred such romantic flair. The past is a foreign country; they did things different there.
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13. Tejas Iqueñas – Tejas from IcaImage Source: Peru delights
This is the most mouthwatering of Peruvian desserts. Tejas are a sort of Peruvian chocolate truffles. But instead of chocolate coating, Tejas have an icing fabricated with sugar, water and lemon. The filling is manjar blanco, a custard based of milk, vanilla and sugar. In addition, Tejas enclose one of the following: pecans, orange, plums, grapes fermented in Pisco, walnuts, lemon, figs, walnuts, lemon or orange, etc.
During the 1960’s, an Iqueño producer added a chocolate coating, thus creating the magnificent Chocotejas. Peruvians went insane for it.
14. Alfajores – Cookie SandwichImage Source: Recetas y manualidades
Alfajores are produced all over Latin America. But the prestige of Peruvian Alfajores is proven just by mentioning one fact. In a region as remote as Saudi Arabia, they also sell Alfajores. How did they call it? “The Peruvian Cookie”.
An Alfajor is a cookie sandwich with manjar blanco filling and coconut flakes. The powder sugar makes it one of the most addictive of all Peruvian desserts.
15. King KongImage Source: San Roque
Originally from Lambayeque, this gigantic Alfajor has five layers and three fillings.
The story goes that, during the 1930’s, Lambayecanos were obsessed with the movie King Kong. Since their local Alfajor was gigantic, some baptized them as the famous Hollywood gorilla. This Lambayecano dessert is amazing.
16. Machacao’ de Membrillo – Quince JellyImage Source: Life
Membrillo (quince) is a fruit that has the consistency of a pear. Ancient greeks loved membrillo, a fruit then associated with fecundity and love. It was customary for Greek brides to receive Membrillos right before entering the nuptial chamber. A mighty sexual stimulant, Membrillo made the Greeks have sex all night long.
In Lima, there are so many ‘Love hotels’ you will think Peruvians eat Machacao’ every morning. But the truth is Peruvians are natural and just don’t need it. In fact, it was hard to find Machacao’ on my recent trip to Lima. But this is still a traditional treat for many Peruvians.
17. ChapanaImage Source: Pinterest
In 1884, Peruvian writer Pedro Paz Soldan wrote, “Chapanas are a cassava and molasses treat, wrapped in a dry leaf as humitas, which are eaten and sold cold.” Chapana comes from the Quechua Chapuni, which means to knead.
If I describe a Chapana, you may think I’m portraying the shape of most Peruvian women: they are small, with a tiny waist and a pear shape. I’m skipping the obvious: They all look beautiful.
18. Frejol Colado – Black Bean PuddingImage Source: Mi rica cocina
Lacking ingredients to make their own pastries, Iqueño Afro-Peruvians invented a dessert with whatever they had. They smashed pre-cooked black beans, and removed the skin with an artisanal strainer. The paste grew thicker by adding Chancaca, milk, ground cloves, anise and sesame seeds. Their invention, the delicious Frejol Colado, became an essential dessert in colonial Lima.
This Afro-Peruvian dessert was originally eaten in Holy week. But today Frejol Colado is enjoyed all year round. It has the consistency of peanut butter, thus matching perfectly with a toast or crackers.
19. Humitas – Steamed Corn CakeImage Source: Gastrolamas
Humitas are a treat that Peruvians inherited from the Incas. These steamed corn cakes only contain raisins but they are more delightful than the American corn bread. Having enjoyed them during childhood, I feel truly fortunate. Although some may not regard it as dessert, Humitas were perfect for our Peruvian Lonche.
Peruvian writer Ricardo Palma described Sanguito as “a popular mix made of cornmeal, a kind of porridge with sugar and raisins.” Sanguito sellers wandered the streets with a tray placed over their heads. These legendary street hawkers were the Pregoneros.
At one point, colonial Lima had hundreds of Pregoneros. These street hawkers didn’t advertise with the typical “lléveselo casera o…taste my Molleja, casero, sin compromiso“. Instead, Pregoneros charmed their audience with an elaborate verse. Perhaps the most famous was that of Revolución Caliente, which went like this: The warm revolution, music for our teeth.. cane sugar, cloves and cinnamon to gnash your teeth.”
21. ChumbequeImage Source: Wikimedia
Chumbeque is a simple Anise Syrup cookie sandwich. The word Chumbeque was first allegedly spoken by the Ancient Moche. Therefore, this dessert is strongly linked with the culture and identity of Lambayecanos and Piuranos. In Piura, Chumbeque is still massively sold in public parks and squares. Due to their shape and size, Chumbeques may likely have been the predecessor of our Turrón de Doña Pepa.
The forgotten phrase “Como se pide Chumbeque” alluded to something “extremely good or delicious.”
22. Suspiro a la LimeñaImage Source: World Rowing
Suspiro a la Limeña roughly translates as “The Sigh of a Limeño lady.” Some historians credited Peruvian poet Jose Galvez as the one who named it thus. Galvez wrote that Suspiro preparation was “as soft and sweet as a woman’s sigh”.
Suspiro has dozens of variations, but the basic ingredients are “sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk and egg yolks.” No better way to top it off than with a creamy and spongy meringue.
23. Turron de Doña PepaImage Source: Flickr
In October, there is a craze surrounding one Peruvian dessert: Turron de Doña Pepa. A layered anise flavored nougat drizzled with syrup, sprinkles and candy, Turrón was invented by a handicapped African slave in colonial Lima named Doña Pepa. The tradition goes that Mrs. Pepa was healed after worshipping “Our Lord of Miracles” in October. Months later, the saints appeared to her in a dream and handed her the recipe for Turrón.
We live in an era when everyone is obsessed about their weight, following diets, counting calories, being healthy, going to the gym, etc. We hate to advocate so much grease, sugar and high calories, but the truth is that they have worked wonders for us. They will call us insane, but to be insane is to be alive. They’ll call us unhealthy, but so what?
The XpatNation team loves Peruvian desserts. We will all die fat, but happy.
- “Auntie Poison” Took Peruvian Street Food To The Next Level: These Are My Favorite Dishes
- Kissing In Public Is Possibly The Most Peruvian Thing Ever “Chappetex”
- 27 Spanish Phrases That Are Unique To Peruvians
- 62 Cultural Peculiarities That Make Peruvians Unique
- 41 Things A Peruvian-American Wants You To Know About His Country
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