DULCE: Desserts in the Latin-American Tradition
by Joseluis Flores with Laura Zimmerman
32 color photos
Contact: Nicki Clendening
Savory Latin-American cuisine is increasingly well-known and popular, yet the sweeter side of this vibrant culinary culture has been overlooked. DULCE is devoted entirely to Latin-American sweets, uncovering a whole new world of exciting flavors. Easy-to-follow recipes span traditional desserts as well as Chef Flores’ original creations. Tantalizing recipes like Tres Leches Cake, Avocado Panna Cotta, Coconut Tapioca Pudding and Oatmeal Guava Bars will bring the world of scrumptious Latin-American desserts to your kitchen.
About the Author
Joseluis Flores is the Corporate Executive Pastry Chef of the award-winning restaurants Deseo in Scottsdale and D. Rodriguez Cuba in Miami. Laura Zimmerman Maye is the co-author of The Great Ceviche Book (Ten Speed 2003) and the former Director of Marketing for Fox & Obel, Chicago’s premier specialty food retailer.
Coconut Tapioca Pudding
Puding de Tapioca con Leche de Coco
Tapioca pearls are made from the root of the yucca or cassava plant, a plant native to South America. I’ve been eating tapioca pudding since I was a small child in Mexico and to this day it remains one of my very favorites, especially with the addition of coconut milk.
You might have come across tapioca pearls while drinking up the latest craze-bubble tea, in which tapioca pearls are dropped into smoothies and teas and sucked up by adults and kids alike through chubby straws. The pearls work in this pudding for the same reason they work in bubble teas: They provide a pleasing and somewhat addictive texture and chew. You can find tapioca in the baking section of most supermarkets (near gelatin and pudding mixes), but be careful to buy tapioca “pearls” (the larger pearls are best), not instant tapioca. I like the Bascom brand.
This pudding is delicious, comforting, and easy to make. You can eat it after a casual weeknight dinner at home, or you can dress it up and take it out to a dinner party without a second thought. Try serving it in a hollowed-out coconut (Tahitian coconuts work best with their thin shell and tender meat), or simply in pretty glass bowls.
Serves 8 to 10
1 cup (200 g) large or medium tapioca pearls
2 cups (480 mL) whole milk
1 (6-ounce/180 mL) can evaporated milk
3 cups (720 mL) unsweetened coconut milk
1-1/2 cups (300 g) granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
In a large mixing bowl, cover the tapioca pearls with cold water and soak for at least 8 hours or overnight, until the pearls look slightly translucent and glossy.
In a large saucepan, combine the milk, evaporated milk, coconut milk, sugar, and salt. Drain the tapioca very well in a sieve, then stir it into the milk mixture. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring constantly, until the tapioca pearls become clear and glossy, about 10 minutes.
Pour the pudding into a large nonreactive bowl, with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 5 days. Serve cold.
Oatmeal Guava Bars
Barritas de Avena con Guayaba
You’ll find the guava paste at most Latin American markets, or in the imported foods section of your local supermarket, but this oatmeal dough can be filled with any thicker fruit paste, marmalade or jam-whatever fits your mood or complements the flavors of the other desserts on your table. Try filling these addictive bars with mango or passion fruit.
The crunch of the cookies works well to balance the creamy consistency and rich coconut flavor of my Coconut Tapioca Pudding. They are pretty cut into long, skinny bars. They are quick to make and hold up well in the freezer (tightly wrapped, they’ll keep for up to 1 month)-a great treat to bring along as a last-minute host or hostess gift, to have around the house for a snack, or to toss into a lunch box.
Makes 2 dozen bar cookies
2 cups (455 g) butter, softened
2-3/4 cups (625 g) packed dark brown sugar
3 cups (285 g) rolled oats
3 cups (430 g) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups (455 g) guava paste
Preheat the oven to 325 F.
With an electric mixer on medium speed, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and add the oatmeal, flour, baking powder, and salt. Continue mixing until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, but is still crumbly, about 5 minutes.
Grease an 11-by-7-inch half sheet and dust with flour, or line the bottom with parchment paper. Press half of the dough firmly and evenly across the baking sheet. In a clean bowl with clean beaters, beat the guava paste on medium speed until light and smooth, about 3 minutes. (If you don’t have a hand-held electric mixer or standing mixer, you can use a wooden spoon for this entire preparation; it will just take a little more muscle.)
Spread the guava paste over the dough and, using your fingers to break up the remaining dough, dot the top of the cookies with the dough pieces. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. Let cool for at least 15 minutes, then cut into bars. The bars can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months.
This recipe may be reproduced with the following credit:
Recipe from DULCE: Desserts in the Latin-American Tradition by Joseluis Flores with Laura Zimmerman
(Rizzoli, April 2010, $29.95/hardcover)