Continuing on our journey to share with our friends and customers of Casa Bonita Foods with some of the best recipes and information about Mexican cuisine, we decided to craft our next post around desserts. We recently talked about some of the best Mexican drinks for the end of the summer, so we thought that with fall around the corner, we could switch gears and talk about sweets! Traditional Mexican desserts are known for their rich flavours and unique combinations of ingredients. First, we want to share a list of some of the most popular options. This will be followed with a quick recipe of our top picks at Casa Bonita Foods. Let’s start with the list of traditional Mexican desserts we love:
- Tres Leches Cake: This is a sponge cake soaked in three types of milk: evaporated milk, condensed milk, and heavy cream. It’s topped with whipped cream and can be garnished with fruit.
- Flan: A caramel custard dessert with a smooth, creamy texture. It’s made with eggs, sugar, and milk and flavored with vanilla.
- Churros: Fried dough pastries that are often served with cinnamon sugar and a chocolate dipping sauce. They’re crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.
- Arroz con Leche: Mexican rice pudding made with rice, milk, sugar, and cinnamon. It’s often flavored with vanilla or citrus zest.
- Cajeta: A sweet caramel sauce made from simmering goat’s milk with sugar. It’s similar to dulce de leche but with a unique flavor.
- Mexican Chocolate: Mexican chocolate is distinct for its grainy texture and is often used in beverages like hot chocolate. It’s flavored with cinnamon and sometimes other spices like chili.
- Buñuelos: Thin, crispy fried dough sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar. They’re often served during holidays and celebrations.
- Atole: A warm, thick beverage made from masa (corn dough), water or milk, and sweeteners like sugar or cinnamon. It’s often enjoyed with tamales.
- Mazapán: A sweet confection made from ground peanuts and sugar, typically shaped into small discs or figurines.
- Cocadas: Chewy coconut candies made from grated coconut and sugar, sometimes with added flavors like lime or nuts.
These traditional Mexican desserts showcase the country’s diverse culinary influences, including Spanish and Indigenous flavours, resulting in a delightful array of sweet treats. Now, let’s look at some recipes for our top picks. You can be sure this was a “sweet” discussion within our team.
Tres Leches Cake
Certainly a fan favourite for our team! Tres Leches Cake (or “Three Milks Cake” in English) is a popular and indulgent dessert in Mexican cuisine. This cake is known for its rich and moist texture, as it is soaked in a mixture of three different types of milk: evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, and heavy cream. Here’s what you need to know so you can bake Tres Leches Cake at home: Ingredients:
- Sponge Cake: The base of the Tres Leches Cake is typically a sponge cake. It’s a light and airy cake that can absorb the milk mixture without falling apart.
- Three Milks Mixture: The key component of the dessert is the combination of three milks: evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk and heavy cream.
- Vanilla: Vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste is often added for flavor.
- Bake the Cake: First, a sponge cake is baked in a rectangular or square pan. The cake should be airy and not overly sweet because it will absorb the sweetness from the milk mixture.
- Poke Holes: After the cake has cooled slightly, it’s poked all over with a fork or toothpick. This creates channels for the milk mixture to penetrate.
- Soak with Milk Mixture: The three milk mixture (evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, and heavy cream) is poured over the cake slowly, allowing it to seep into the holes. The cake should absorb most of the liquid, leaving it moist and flavorful.
- Refrigerate: The cake is then refrigerated for several hours or overnight to allow the flavours to meld and for the cake to fully soak up the milk mixture.
- Topping: Tres Leches Cake can be served plain or topped with whipped cream and fresh fruit, such as strawberries or cherries. Some variations include a sprinkle of ground cinnamon or cocoa powder for extra flavour.
- Fruit can be added to the cake batter or used as a topping for added freshness and contrast to the sweet, creamy cake.
- Chocolate Tres Leches Cake is a variation where cocoa powder or melted chocolate is added to the milk mixture for a chocolatey twist.
Churros is close second on our list. These are a beloved and popular fried dough pastry enjoyed all over Mexico. They are known for their crispy exterior and soft, doughy interior. Here is the information you need to try and cook them at home: Ingredients: The basic ingredients for making churros include:
- Boil Water: In a saucepan, water, salt, and a small amount of sugar are brought to a boil.
- Mix with Flour: Once the water is boiling, it is removed from heat, and all-purpose flour is quickly stirred to form a dough. The dough should come together and pull away from the sides of the pan.
- Pipe the Dough: The churro dough is transferred to a pastry bag or churro maker with a star-shaped tip. It can also be piped directly into hot oil using a star-shaped tip.
- Fry: The dough is piped or dropped into hot oil and deep-fried until it becomes golden brown and crispy. Churros are typically long, thin strips, but they can also be made in various shapes and sizes.
- Drain and Coat: After frying, the churros are removed from the oil and drained on paper towels to remove excess oil. While still warm, they are rolled in a mixture of sugar and cinnamon, which adheres to the churros and gives them their classic flavour.
Serving: Churros are often served fresh and warm, making them incredibly satisfying to eat. They can be enjoyed on their own or dipped in a variety of toppings and sauces, including:
- Chocolate sauce
- Caramel sauce
- Whipped cream
Bonus Dessert! – Cinnamon Sugar Tortilla Crisps
This is not on our original list, but we couldn’t just not have a dessert that didn’t involve tortillas or chips. And in case you were wondering, yes, there are Mexican desserts that incorporate tortillas, and one such dessert is called “Cinnamon Sugar Tortilla Crisps.” These crisps are a delightful and simple dessert or snack that makes use of tortillas as the main ingredient. Here’s how you can make them: Ingredients:
- Corn tortillas
- Butter or vegetable oil
- Granulated sugar
- Ground cinnamon
- Prepare the Tortillas: Start by taking small-sized flour tortillas and cutting them into desired shapes. You can use a pizza cutter or scissors to create triangles, squares, or any shape you like.
- Fry the Tortillas: In a skillet or frying pan, heat some butter or vegetable oil over medium heat. You can use enough to coat the bottom of the pan. You can also use a deep fryer if you prefer.
- Fry Until Crispy: Place the tortilla pieces in the hot oil and fry them until they become golden brown and crispy. This usually takes just a minute or two per side. Be sure to flip them to ensure even frying.
- Drain Excess Oil: Once the tortilla crisps are fried to your liking, remove them from the pan and place them on a plate lined with paper towels to drain any excess oil.
- Cinnamon Sugar Coating: In a separate bowl, mix granulated sugar and ground cinnamon to create a cinnamon sugar mixture. The proportions can vary depending on your preference, but a common ratio is about 1/4 cup sugar to 1-2 teaspoons of cinnamon.
- Coat the Crisps: While the tortilla crisps are still warm, sprinkle them generously with the cinnamon sugar mixture. Toss or shake the crisps to ensure they are evenly coated.
- Serve: Allow the crisps to cool slightly before serving. They can be enjoyed as a sweet snack or dessert.
These Cinnamon Sugar Tortilla Crisps are a delicious way to repurpose leftover tortillas or to create a quick and easy dessert with a Mexican-inspire.