Cinco de Mayo might be over, but the fiesta continues in your kitchens. From coconut-y trembleque to a towering tres leche cake and gooey alfajores, here are 8 desserts inspired by Latin America.
'Latin American desserts' on Serious Eats
The reason this French dessert is surfacing here under a Spanish alias is that islas flotantes are a served in many homes and restaurants around Latin America. The construction is the same as in their land of provenance: small mounds of feathery meringues float swanlike in a still, chilled pool of crème anglaise threaded with amber caramel sauce.
What we were there to get: one large box of Kellogg's Corn Flakes and one can of sweetened condensed milk. Someone sprinted to the living room to return the keys while someone else fetched a stool. Yet another would rattle and rummage for a large pot and a long-handled wooden stirring spoon. I would fill a bowl with water while baking sheets were set up in the dining room. This was a house of seven children, though some were too young to participate, and I loved the buzz of activity and sense that everyone had a task, much like Cinderella's mice.
Buñuelos de rodilla are just such a recipe. These "knee fritters" are named that way because the flat disks of translucent dough are shaped upon the knees of women. Imagine spending a whole day carefully stretching hundred of buñuelos, crafting them so they fry up crisp, golden, and airy. The picture of this scene is wondrous and really illustrates how even the humblest foods are treated with respect and affection.
Pío V—allegedly named for 16th century Pope Pius V, though there are no written records or even verbal conjectures to explain the odd handle—is a Nicarguan dessert typically served around Christmastime. The name is quaint and speaks to the Nicaraguan history of Catholicism, but what I love most is that within the name are hidden another three, given that Pío V is made up of marquesote, sopa borracha, and manjar.
We all do it: we wander around the airport waiting for our flight to begin boarding, killing time by stepping in and out of newsstands, perusing the latest paperback crime thrillers, leafing through fashion glossies, wondering whether we should buy one of those vibrating neck pillows.