The diverse culture of Chile is beautifully represented through its wide array of dishes, including tempting desserts. The influences of Spanish cuisine and the traditional dishes of the indigenous settlers or the Native Chileans seem prominent in their platters. Some also have European influences in them, introduced by the early immigrants.
Cakes, pastries, and cookies make up most of their desserts, bearing a close resemblance with other Latin American sweet dishes like Tres leches cake, Alfajore, and Sopaipillas. What mainly sets them apart is the use of caramelized milk called manjar or dulce de leche as fillings in almost every sweet item.
Tres leches cake is a mouth-watering sponge cake, famous in many Latin American countries, including Chile. Its name translates to ‘three milk cake’ as it is soaked in three types of milk: evaporated milk, condensed milk, and heavy whipping cream. An addition of dulce de leche between the layers makes it rich and extra sweet. It has a moist and fluffy texture, melting in your mouth in an instant.
Chirimoya means custard apple, a tropical fruit found in Chile, Peru, and Ecuador. It has a strong sweet flavor and creamy texture enjoyed in different ways.
In Chile, Chirimoya Alegre is a favorite dish. Chirimoyas are sliced into small pieces and topped with orange juice and powdered sugar, giving them a sweet and slightly tangy flavor. A refreshing summer delight, it is best served after refrigerating for some time.
Brazo de Reina is a traditional rolled cake that looks similar to a Swiss roll. Its name translates to queen’s arms, probably referring to its shape and simple yet elegant appearance. It has a rich filling of manjar, giving it additional sweetness and nutty flavor. Other modern versions also exist in which fruit jams, pastry cream, or chocolate spread go as filling. A popular Christmas item, it is dusted with powdered sugar and sliced into pieces before serving.
Leche Asada is a Chilean dessert similar to flan or caramel custard. The main ingredients going into its preparation are milk, eggs, flour, sugar, and vanilla. Its name means ‘roasted milk’ as it is baked until it acquires a slightly burnt top layer. It is served cold and has a rich and sweet taste and somewhat firm texture.
Alfajores are tasty treats consisting of two flaky cookies stuck together with a filling of gooey milk caramel called manjar. They might be rolled on dried coconut or white chocolate or enjoyed without any coatings. A favorite snack of Chile, it is best paired with a cup of tea. They are also a popular sweet item in other Latin American countries but having different versions.
Milhojas Cake is a delicious Chilean dessert also known as thousand layer cake. It consists of thin round pastry layers and fillings of dulce de leche and ground walnuts, assembled alternatively. A spread of dulce de leche also covers the entire cake, enhancing the richness. The addition of chopped walnuts and sugar sprinkled all over makes it more crunchy and sweet. Fillings of plum or raspberry jam are also an excellent option for those preferring a less sweet version.
Kuchen is a well-known dessert introduced to the country by German immigrants. It contains a shortcrust made of eggs, flour, and sugar. The fillings include fruits like strawberries or apples and cream custard, topped with a layer of crumble or a crust. A perfect holiday delight, its different textures and flavors make it an irresistible treat.
Cuchuflí are tube-shaped wafers prepared with flour, egg whites, butter, sugar, and vanilla extract. A filling of manjar adds to its sweetness. Commonly sold by street vendors or bakeries, they are sometimes rolled in melted chocolate for added taste
Pan de Pascua is a classic holiday cake commonly enjoyed during the Christmas season. It is almost similar to a fruit cake with the addition of candied fruits. Also, it has a darker appearance, spiced with cinnamon and cloves along with flavorings of cognac or rum. Chileans often team this rich, dense cake with a traditional holiday drink, Cola de Mono.
Sopaipillas are traditional fried food enjoyed as an appetizer or snack item. The dough made of pumpkin, flour, salt, and butter is shaped and rolled into round pieces and then pierced with a fork before frying in oil. A favorite monsoon treat, it is served warm with a topping of sweet and thick sauce, made with brown sugar, cinnamon, and orange. Street shops commonly sell them along with their savory counterpart.
These mouth-watering desserts are perfect treats to satisfy the cravings of any sweet lover. Besides those mentioned in the list, you can also indulge in some other equally lip-smacking sweet items like Turrón de vino, Pie de limón, and Leche Nevada.
Best Chilean Christmas Desserts: Pan de Pascua, Brazo de Reina, Kruchen
Most Popular Chilean Desserts: Alfajores, Sopaipillas, Cuchuflí
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