Cuban Desserts Guide

Cubans have a natural sweet tooth. Their rum is made from sugar and they have an abundance of tropical fruits available so it is no surprise that Cuban desserts and drinks are a delight for those of us who have a sweet tooth.

Cuba

Starting with the healthy and natural options, most of Cuba's tropical fruit stays in Cuba and is eaten fresh. Fruit is and has been an integral part of the Cuban diet for many generations, to the point that plantains and bananas are such a staple that the Cubans do not consider them as fruit at all.

A small percentage of fruit is used for fruit juice drinks or made in to jams and marmelades, but this is a small percentage.

Tropical fruits which can be found in Cuba include: anonaceae (type of sugar apple), avocado, banana, cherimoya (custard apple), coconut, guava, lemon, lime, mamey, mamoncillo, mango, nispero, orange (both sweet and sour varieties) papaya, pineapple, plantain and tangerine.

The abundance of sugar, rum and fruits makes Cuban desserts some of the most mouthwatering and the ones which have fruit in are of course good for you with their vitamin C content and not the cause of any extra pounds gained whilst in Cuba!

Cuba

Some of the typical Cuban desserts you may try out include:-

  • Arroz con Leche This is a rice pudding with a hint of citrus and cinnamon flavours which compliment the sweet creaminess of the liquid sauce
  • Boniatillo A pudding made of sweet potatoes or yams. See Boniatillo recipe
  • Churros Similar to Spanish churros, these are long thin crispy (deep fried) doughnut type pastries covered in sugar and eaten dipped in a thick hot chocolate sauce, which is then drunk if any remains. In Spain churros are a breakfast dish, whereas in Cuba they are eaten for dessert
  • Dulce de Leche A popular dish throughout Spanish speaking countries, this is a very sweet milky dessert with a light caramel flavour. See Dulce de Leche recipe
  • Flan Crème Caramel is the English equivalent to this dessert. Originating from Spain the Cuban version sometimes varies for its use of coconut, cinnamon or citrus flavours instead of vanilla
  • Ice Cream Under the warm sunshine ice cream is a popular dessert which is prepared using tropical fruits. Coconut ice cream served in the coconut's shell is quite commonly found
  • Marmalade Made with one or more tropical fruits, guava and mango being 2 of the most popular flavours, Cuban marmalades often accompany other desserts or are used as dessert or pastry fillings
  • Cuba
  • Natillas A sweet vanilla custard that has a hint of citrus and cinammon. Unlike English custard it is eaten by itself and not an accompaniment to a sponge cake
  • Panatela Borracha A truly 'drunken cake' wherby the funnel shaped cakes are doused with rum, sweet wine/sherry (something like Spanish Jerez)
  • Pudín Diplomático The closest description to 'Diplomatic Bread Pudding' would be that it something like bread and butter pudding with its fruits, rum and hint of cinnamon
  • Quesillo This is a cheesecake style dessert
  • Torrejas Most commonly described as french toast Cuban style, this eggy bread is made with white wine and evaporated milk
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