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Latin American Recipes

Cachapas – Venezuelan Corn Flatbread with Cheese

If you have been on my blog before, you probably know that I have a lot of corn flatbread recipes from Colombia and Venezuela on here, they are normally called arepas. Today I am going to introduce you to the gluten-free version that is made with sweet corn and is filled with cheese. In Venezuela these are called cachapas, in Colombia arepas de choclo. The Spanish word for sweet corn is choclo, hence the name. Normally the sweet corn is cooked and directly cut off the cob, however, I decided to go for canned corn as in Germany usually only sweet corn is sold. I had tried already once to make cachapas, however, I was not completely happy yet. But then I had the privilege to eat cachapas at my husband’s cousin again. Her husband is Venezuelan, so obviously he knew exactly how to make them. Of course I immediately asked her for the recipe, which she happily let me know. So I set to it and guess what, they tasted marvelous, so I finally felt OK to share the recipe here. So let’s make cachapas with cheese filling!

You can also make the cachapas and melt the cheese on the top if you find the procedure described below too complicated
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Isla Flotante – A Fluffy Meringue Cake with Caramel

If you are in the mood for a fluffy and airy dessert, this is for you. This is meringue made in a waterbath and there is a reason it is called isla flotante or “floating island”. It is so airy, it is only floating. It is perfect for anyone who can’t eat gluten as it does not contain any flour. As stated, you will prepare a meringue and bake it in a waterbath. The top is caramelized. You may serve it just like that or you can serve it with the custard called Sabayon. I also caramelized some strawberries since I like some fresh component. Even if you serve it with all these extras, you will only need five ingredients in total: eggs, sugar, vanilla, alcohol and strawberries. May I interest you in this dessert?

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Arroz Con Leche -Rice Pudding from Latin America

Today I am introducing rice pudding or in Spanish “arroz con leche” and I will tell you how I got the recipe, which is a super sweet story. But first let’s talk about this dessert. Arroz con leche is an extremely universal recipe. For example, rice pudding is enjoyed in the Scandinavian countries. In fact, rice pudding is often served during Christmas season and they have created their own little traditions and customs around it. In Germany rice pudding became famous during and after World War II as a cheap main meal (I have to say, I still don’t get how a sweet dish can be served as a main meal). Rice pudding is also famous in Spain and made it to Latin America at some point. You may wonder why I am introducing this universally loved recipe here. The answer is because one reader of this blog went out of her way so that I was able to obtain the cookbook containing this recipe. But let’s start at the beginning.

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Tarantella de Manzana, or Argentinian Bread Pudding with Apples

This blog post contains advertisement for Braeburn apples, Südtiroler Apfel g.g.A.

Yay, today I am present a recipe from Argentina, an apple cake slash bread pudding, which is prepared similarly to “flan“.  I was fortunate enough to make this cake named “tarantella de manzana” with tart apples, the variety Südtiroler Apfel g.g.A. When the package arrived with Braeburn apples, I knew exactly what I wanted to make. But let’s get back to this dessert from Argentina. Legend has it that this cake is named after an Italian dance (tarantella) as a) Italian immigrants supposedly invented this cake in Buenos Aires and b) this cake is a bit wiggly when you take it out of the oven. You either need to dance as you are so excited for being able to eat this delicious cake, or the wiggly movement actually is similar to the movement of the dance. If you are interested in further theories, check out this article in Spanish. Regardless of its origin, this cake is so popular, you will find it basically on every menue of any restaurant in Buenos Aires.

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Massini – A Delicious Cream Dessert from Uruguay

Massini – today I am going to introduce a delicious dessert from Uruguay to you. Imagine two thin layers of sponge cake which sandwich together a whipping cream filling. This is then topped off with a custard layer, which has a caramelized sugar top. Of course any Uruguayan is proud of this famous dessert. It is said that the Spanish immigrant Pedro Carrera invented this dessert in 1951. He opened the pastry shop Carrera in the capital Montevideo and served this dessert. To the present day you can buy a Massini dessert at the pastry shop, yet the pastry shop usually spells it with only one S. Of course the dessert made it to the Uruguayan show Masterchef and has been popular outside of the country as well. I have to admit though that I had not managed to eat this dessert until the present day. For anyone who loves a dessert with light sponge cake and whipping cream, this dessert is for you.

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Patacones – Fried Green Plantains

Patacones or tostones can be described as chips made from green plantains. You will fry these beauties twice. They are often served as a side and are popular throughout Latin American. Especially countries close to the equator seem to love this little snack. Producing patacones is pretty straight forward, you will first peel, then slice green plantains and cook them in oil. Then they are smashed and fried a second time. The best part is to decide how to serve them, sprinkle with a bit of coarse salt and herbs or serve beside a dip or a nice salsa. Such a treat!

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Nut Caramel Cake from Argentina: torta Balcarce for my Seventh Blog Birthday

Today I am going to introduce a speciality from Argentina: torta Balcarce or postre Balcarce. This cake consists of sponge cake layers, the caramel cream called dulce de leche, chopped marrons/sweet chestnuts (often replaced with walnuts), meringue, and whipping cream. The cake originated in the town Balcarce (hence the name). It was created by the pastry chef Guillermo Talou in 1950 and quickly became famous throughout the country. To the present day the town Balcarce celebrates a festival. One event is to actually assemble a gigantic cake and eat it. Unfortunately, I did not have the chance to eat this cake when I went on holiday in Argentina in 2018. However, I figured, why not try making it at home in Germany? I decided to make this cake for my seventh blog anniversary, today exactly seven years ago my first blog post went online, so I wanted to celebrate with you with this delicious cake.

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Queque de Platano or Banana Bread from Peru

During Covid and lockdown times, everybody seemed to have baked banana bread. I never published a recipe because I didn’t feel like following a trend. There are sooo many recipes out there, healthier ones, vegan, classic recipes, and some that sound like a decadent cake and have names such as “death by chocolate banana bread”. I finally caved and this has to do with the fact that this banana bread is prepared with plantains instead of bananas. Traditionally Peru and also Chile like to use plantains to make the bread, so I dared to declare this a Peruvian recipe. But I know that there are heated and emotional discussions as to which recipe belongs to which Latin American country. I will just keep out of it and call this queque de platano Peruvian. Please don’t kill me.

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Arroz con Pollo from Colombia

Arroz con pollo can be translated as “rice with chicken”. This is a one-pot meal popular in all of Latin America. Each country has their secret ingredient, each one swears their version is the best. Below version is popular in Colombia aka is the recipe from my mom-in-law. Yes, it contains the three main components, rice, chicken, and vegetables. But my mother-in-law likes to spice it up using some sausages in addition. She also swears by preparing each component separately to keep the rice moist. It is only at the end that she combines all the three. So this is not the traditional way of preparing this meal, but I have to say, I like her version a lot.  Otherwise you may end up with a pretty dry dish.

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Torta Rogel from Uruguay

I am going to introduce torta rogel from Uruguay today. Why do you find many recipes from Uruguay on this blog? Because I was born in this beautiful country in Latin America. Even though I have a German passport, I lived in Uruguay for several years as a child. We happened to live in Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay. Back in the 80s you would occasionally find some horse carriages between the cars and we lived on one of the main streets. My sister and me often paid a visit to the nearby kiosk, we would either get “chicle”, which is chewing gum, or we got breakfast: bread and dulce de leche. Dulce de leche is the peanut butter of Latin America, the caramel made from sweetened milk is used as much in Latin American cuisine as is peanut butter in the U.S. I will never forget how my dad instructed my sister and me to get breakfast: “Go and get bread and dulce de leche from the vaca cow (vaca= Spanish for cow).” We may have spoken German among each other, but a Spanish word would slip in here and there. Sometimes funky creations such as saying the same word in two language would come out of it. But anyway, I love dulce de leche, so I wanted to show you this delicious cake, which contains a lot of it. In this reel you can see how I make it and how it looks.

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