Following with the meal I prepared last week, now it’s time for the sweet course. I try to make my Peruvian-themed dinners strictly Peruvian, but I always find it hard to choose a dessert that it’s not too caloric and sweet. Given that I had already made one of the few light, not-too-sweet desserts two weeks ago (leche asada) I had no choice but to feed my friends a sugar-loaded bomb, which happens to be my favourite Peruvian dessert. Keep in mind that I don’t like my desserts to be too sweet, meaning that this particular one is too good to reject.
The bomb is called suspiro de limeña, named this way because it’s as sweet as the sigh of a Lima girl (that’s the exact translation). Its texture is smooth and silky, which I guess helps justify the name, too. As many other desserts accross Latin America, it features manjarblanco, the local version of dulce de leche or caramel. With a twist. And a wonderful cinnamon-vanilla-port flavoured Italian meringue.
I remember my oenology teacher telling us that Peruvian sweets defy the law of dessert wines (which in theory should be sweeter than the dessert) because wines that sweet simply don’t exist. The best pairing, according to her, is pisco, which helps to cut through the sweetness. IMO, a large glass of water or a strong espresso are fine choices, too.
Yield: 6 servings
1 can condensed milk
1 can evaporated milk
225 gr caster sugar
150 ml water
1 cinnamon stick
small pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 tablespoon port
Pour both milks in a pot (preferably a heavy-bottomed one) over low heat. Cook for 50-60 minutes, stirring occasionally, until slightly thick. Let cool down until warm.
Separate the eggs. Reserve 3 whites and add the 5 yolks to the caramel. Mix well and pass through a strainer to avoid lumps.
Spoon or pipe caramel into 6 transparent glasses or cups and chill in the fridge.
Place egg whites and pinch of salt in the bowl of your stand mixer.
Place sugar, water and cinnamon stick in a pot over medium-high heat. Let boil until a syrup is formed (if you have a thermometer, let it reach 116ºC).
Turn on your mixer on medium speed until the whites form soft peaks. Set speed to high. Remove syrup from heat, remove the cinnamon stick and pour it on the egg whites in a thin thread.
Once the meringue has cooled down (touch the bottom of the bowl to be sure), add the ground cinnamon, vanilla essence and port, and turn off mixer.
Get the glasses out of the fridge and spoon or pipe the meringue on top of the caramel. Chill and enjoy.