Serious Eats: Sweets
Dulces: Pineapple-Dulce de Leche Torta
This is a bit of a mash-up of recipes. It begins with torta chilena, a Napoleon-like Chilean dessert that features layers of puff pastry glued together with rich dulce de leche, but takes a spin from there. When I was five or six, a Peruvian friend of my mother's brought her edition of the dessert to a dinner party. It was a stack of puff pastry rounds and the classic dulce de leche, but, in addition to the toffee-hued goo, there was golden pineapple jam between the flaky tiers.
I've had torta chilena on trips to South America and at Latin American bakeries in Miami and Los Angeles, but have never come across one with pineapple. Maybe it was a family recipe, or an inspired tweak on the original? Who knows. Luckily, I had a pineapple jam in my repertoire. As the base of pastel de piña (pineapple pie), it's a staple in many kitchens in Nicaragua.
The pie is a large rectangular sheet of pastry spread with pineapple that's been cooked down until deep golden, then topped with a lattice. It looks a bit more like a thin bar cookie than pie, but I digress.
I recreated the dreamy torta of my youth by baking sheets of store-bought puff pastry and layering them with dulce de leche (I prefer the goat's milk version, but the regular kind is just fine) and my pineapple jam. The pineapple filling is tedious only in that it needs a bit of supervision while it bubbles on the stovetop, but it is worth every stir. Go ahead, forget the fork and lick your fingers when you're done.
About the author: María del Mar Sacasa a recipe developer, food stylist, and author of the food blogs High Heels & Frijoles and Voracious Billy Goat. Behind her girly façade lurks a truck driver's appetite.