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Discover a gloriously rich and sweeter side to one of Latin America’s most renowned cuisines with these Argentinian desserts, and prepare to board the culinary train with nothing but a one-way ticket to sheer indulgence.
If you thought Argentinian food was mouthwatering enough with its succulent meats, velvet wines, and buttery pastries, then your stomach, body, and soul are simply not ready for what magical concoctions lay in wait on the dessert menu. Fasten your seatbelt – but give your stomach more than a little wiggle room!
1 – Dulce de Leche
Viscous and glossy, sweet and rich, the golden brown creamy caramel known as dulce de leche is a traditional dessert in all of Latin America, not just Argentina.
It is more than enough of a sweet treat to be enjoyed in its own right. However, Argentinians have also found plenty of uses for this sticky confection in a range of different dishes such as alfajores or torta Balcarce.
Dulce de leche is made by simply slowly cooking milk and sugar together over low heat for several hours, until it forms into a lusciously thick caramel-like confection.
While its true origin is a hotly debated topic to this day, legend has it that dulce de leche was the result of a mistake made by a house maid, who accidentally left a pan of milk and sugar on the stove before she went out to celebrate a popular festivity. When she returned, she noticed the milk and sugar in the pan had transformed into dulce de leche.
Regardless of its origin, there’s no doubting that a generous spoonful of dulce de leche, straight from the jar, tastes like home to so many Argentinians.
2 – Alfajor
Alfajores are beloved and adored across Argentina. This simple confection consists of two crumbly buttery biscuits, sandwiching a rich, thick layer of creamy dulce de leche.
Many variations of alfajores exist, with arguably the most popular being Maicena. This is an alfaor with a coating of shredded coconut flakes sprinkled over the central dulce de leche filling.
Covered in a rich coating of dark chocolate, alfajores and its many variations are loved by Argentinians of all ages, and this delicious dessert found in abundance in cafes, sweet shops, and supermarkets throughout the country.
Read more: South American Desserts to Try
3 – Flan Mixto
Flan Mixto is a delicate, airy, and sweet dessert, which is essentially an Argentinian take on crème caramel. This classic Argentinian dessert is a hugely popular homemade dish, and practically every Argentinian family has a secret recipe handed down from one generation to another.
It is made from a mixture of eggs, milk, and sugar, cooked gently in a ‘bain-marie,’ or water bath. Once a rich, eggy custard has formed, it is finished in the oven until its consistency is firm but slightly wobbly.
Some claim that using five eggs is the trick to making a great flan mixto while others swear that up to twelve eggs are needed for the perfect recipe.
However many eggs are used, you can make this dessert more rich and decadent with a spoonful of dulce de leche and a dollop of whipped cream for the perfect textural mouthful.
4 – Torta Balcarce
Torta Balcarce is a rich, hearty sponge cake and an internationally renowned dish. It was created in Balcarce, Buenos Aires by Guillermo Talou, the owner of a small bakery shop and café called Confitería Paris. He first made this divine dessert in 1950, and the dish quickly gained notoriety and popularity throughout the country, soon becoming one of Argentina’s most iconic desserts.
Torta balcarce is a layered cake, consisting of stacked layers of rich almond paste, crispy meringue, gooey dulce de leche, and candied chestnuts and walnuts, sandwiched between two fluffy sponge cakes and covered in a thick coating of powdered sugar and desiccated coconut to seal in all the flavors.
This cake brings together different flavors and textures in perfect harmony, and it is truly a sight for sore eyes when you see it standing proudly in the window of bakeries and cake shops you pass by.
5 – Torta Rogel
While the intriguing Torta Rogel, or Rogel cake, may look slightly messy at first, its sumptuous blend of crunchy pastry and airy meringue, among other textures and flavors, make it one of Argentina’s favorite desserts.
This hugely popular cake consists of thin layers of sweet shortcrust pastry, sandwiched with dulce de leche. It is then topped with a thick layer of deliciously light Italian meringue.
Torta rogel is a popular choice of cake for birthday celebrations, and a slice is the perfect snack for a cold winter’s evening to accompany a hot cup of tea or milky coffee.
6 – Pasta Frola
This dessert is a kaleidoscope of Argentinian flavors. Pasta Frola is a beautiful open lattice tart filled with a sweet but tangy jam made from membrillo, or quince: a fruit that grows near the Andean mountains.
The pastry is soft, buttery, and crumbly, baked in an alluring lattice formation in between which the rich red jam or quince paste oozes out, coated in a dusting of powdered sugar.
Argentinians love to eat pasta frola any way they can: be it in small bite-size pieces, a generous slice, or even the whole pie itself! Kids will even break off the pastry lattice and eat it fresh out of the oven, gooey and sticky, courtesy of the quince jam.
7 – Chocotorta
Chocotorta, a rich and delicious Argentinian chocolate cake, is the go-to dessert you feel like something very sweet and indulgent.
The dish is made by compiling layers of plain chocolate biscuits soaked in milk, dulce de leche, and cream cheese. The soft cream cheese and dulce de leche blend to form a rich, creamy filling that compliments the moistened biscuit layers perfectly.
Because no cooking is required, chocotorta can be assembled in under ten minutes, and hence is a firm favorite at children’s birthday parties. In fact, often, Argentinian kids will even prepare their own cake for the big day!
Enjoy this hugely popular dessert with a cold glass of milk or a cup of hot tea for a sweet afternoon snack.
8 – Panqueque de Manzanas Caramelizadas (Caramelized Apple Pancake)
Argentinians love pancakes as much as Americans. However, while Americans commonly drip syrup and butter on top of their pancakes for breakfast, Argentinians prefer to eat them as part of panqueque de manzanas caramelizadas, an indulgent dish of pancakes either wrapped, sandwiched, or covered with layers of caramelized apples or dulce de leche, depending on region and preference.
An easy tip to achieve perfect caramelized apples: use ripe red apples. Mix these apples with sugar and butter in a saucepan over low heat to create caramelized apples that will put a smile on everyone’s face!
9 – Panqueque de Dulce de Leche (Dulce de Leche Pancakes or Crepes)
Argentinians do their best to add a generous amount of dulce de leche to most desserts, and pancakes or crepes are no exception.
Panqueque de dulce de leche is a dish of sweet, thin, and crispy crepes, covered with a thick layer of dulce de leche and rolled burrito-style, with dulce de leche oozing out with each and every bite. For this reason, it is better to make them with thin crepes rather than thicker, fluffier pancakes.
Forget about clean eating with this dessert. These sticky crepes will leave you with dulce de leche dripping down your fingers, mouth, and chin – but trust me, it’s worth it!
Strawberries and cream are a favorite dessert in many countries. Frutillas con crema is the Argentian take on this sweet dish, consisting of fresh, ripe, and juicy strawberries, bursting with sweet summer flavor, mixed with a sizable amount of whipped cream. This summer dessert is easy, light, and decadent, and best made when strawberries are in season.
Read more: Strawberries and Cream Recipe
11 – Arroz con Leche (Sweet Milky Rice)
Arroz con Leche, a sweet milky rice pudding, is an iconic Latin American dessert. In fact, it is such a beloved comfort food that it even has a nursery song dedicated to it.
In a similar vein to traditional British rice pudding, among many other variations, arroz con leche is made from rice mixed with milk, cinnamon, raisins, and vanilla essence.
Argentinians love to eat this sweet, creamy dessert, both warm and cold. However, many Argentinian grandmothers claim that arroz con leche should be eaten cold to avoid a belly ache.
12 – Pastelitos de Batata o Membrillo (Sweet Pea Paste or Membrillo Paste Cookies)
Pastelitos are crispy, crunchy deep-fried cookies of sheer goodness. While similar in appearance to empanadas, pastelitos are instead smaller, and their edges crimped instead of rolled.
In Argentine creole cuisine, pastelitos date back as far as dulce de leche. Traditionally, street vendors called “pregoneros” sold this treat by attracting customers to their booths and stalls with a short rhyme or song.
Argentinians particularly love pastelitos filled with membrillo or sweet potato. These beloved pastries sell out fast in bakeries, so if you find a great place that sells them, be sure to get there early, or even pre-order the day before.
Argentinian bakeries make these delightful pastries every year to mark Independence Day, National Flag Day, and Revolution Day. If you’re in the country during these days, then you simply have to try this classic dessert – no exceptions!
13 – Postre Vigilante (Watchful Dessert)
A wonderfully simple yet wholesome dessert, Postre Vigilante is a dessert that consists of a slice of cheese topped with a layer of sweet candy, jam, or paste, depending on the region you are in.
In the north of Argentina, for example, it is common to combine goat cheese with a sweet jam or conserve, such as chayote fruit. In the south, you’re more likely to find cow or sheep cheese combined with elderberry or raspberry sweet or candy, among others.
There are two theories about this dessert’s origin and name. Some believe in the early 1900s, Buenos Aires neighbors shared a slice of cheese over a piece of sweet pea paste with the watchman every night, hence the name. Others claim that this dessert became very popular in the 1920s in a neighborhood restaurant in Palermo, Buenos Aires.
14 – Copa Don Pedro
Copa Don Pedro is a simple dessert with some very adult flavors. It consists of a scoop of vanilla ice cream with a shot of Scotch whisky, sprinkled with crushed nuts. Baileys liqueur is a favorite alternative to whiskey in this dessert.
The ice cream’s flavor becomes more complex as it melts and mixes with the alcohol, while the crushed nuts add texture, a touch of saltiness, and crunch. This is a great cocktail to serve at parties and a much-loved Argentinian dessert.
15 – Budín de Pan (Bread Cake)
Budín de Pan is often confused with Flan Mixto. However, this dessert, similar to traditional British bread pudding, is denser and more wholesome than the flan.
This recipe traditionally makes use of old bread, transforming it into a sweet, rich cake-like pudding, perfect to enjoy as an afternoon snack.
It is made by chopping and cutting the bread into small pieces and placing them in a large bowl. The bread is then covered with warm milk and left to soak until the pieces become almost sponge-like.
Once six eggs and a cup of sugar have been added, the batter is poured into a cake pan and baked in the oven for an hour or so. The result is a simple, resourceful, yet incredibly comforting bread pudding that is great to enjoy with friends and family.
16 – Helado de Dulce de Leche (Dulce de Leche Ice Cream)
As you have probably already gauged from this article, Argentinians pretty much worship dulce de leche – so much so, it should come as no surprise that they even incorporate this luscious caramel paste into their ice cream.
Dulce de leche is one of the top three go-to ice cream flavors in the country, along with chocolate and vanilla. Every Argentinian ice cream shop serves it and comes up with different variations and ingredient combinations to bring customers through the door.
Dulce de leche with brownie, banana, chocolate sprinkles, and even super dulce de leche, where dulce de leche ice cream is mixed with real dulce de leche, are all wonderful flavors you can find in ice cream parlors and dessert shops throughout Argentina.
17 – Cañoncito de Dulce de Leche
Cañoncito de Dulce de Leche is to Argentininas as cannoli is to Italians. This dessert is a crispy rolled deep-fried pastry stuffed with dulce de leche and sprinkled with a heavy dusting of powdered sugar.
It is a popular tea-time treat served with other pastries when Argentinians meet up for “maté” (a hot beverage like a tea made with maté herbs) or a steaming cup of coffee. As Argentine desserts go, this is without a doubt one of the most significant.
18 – Macedonia de Frutas (Fruit Salad)
Fruit salad is the quintessential summer dessert around the world, and Argentinian cuisine is no exception with its delightful Macedonia de Frutas. Fresh, light, and sweet, Macedonia de Frutas makes for a great appetizer, dessert, or snack for any time of day.
In its purest form, it is a dish of the freshest and juiciest summer fruits, including peaches, strawberries, watermelon, cherries, and cantaloupes, all coming together in a sweet and colorful bowl.
The fruits are chopped into bite-size pieces, and a squeeze of fresh orange or grapefruit juice is added for a little moisture and zest. From there, the fruit bowl is refrigerated for up to an hour, ready to be served chilled with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream – so simple and incredibly refreshing!
Read More: Fruit Salad Recipe
Argentinian Desserts Summary
There’s no denying that traditional Argentinian desserts, be they solely from the country or influenced by other dishes from Latin America, bring an incredible amount of joy and both sweet and savory satisfaction to the dinner table.
Packed with bold, delightful, and utterly satisfying flavor, these typical desserts and sweet treats are ideal for all times of the day, be it following a hearty steak dinner or to enjoy as a refreshing afternoon snack amid the heat of the Argentinian sun.
Be it in restaurants, bakeries, or ice cream stores, seek out and try as many of these popular Argentinian desserts as you can throughout your stay. You really are in for a culinary treat of gigantic Latin American proportions!
You Might Also Like to Read
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- South American Desserts You Need to Try
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Author: Angela Marquez is a content writer and social media strategist based in Buenos Aires. She is passionate about, and loves to write on, various aspects of Latin American cuisine, travel, and culture.
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