We Argentineans like to indulge their sweet tooth every chance we get. Most people have something sweet for dessert on a daily basis. The more frugal among us are content with a piece of fresh fruit or fruit salad. Personally, I like to enhance my fruit salad with a scoop of ice cream.
I think that the most popular dessert is crème caramel, which we call flan. By itself, with a scoop of whipped cream (flan con crema), with a spoonful of dulce de leche or both (flan mixto), it definitely is a crowd pleaser. So much so that a group of friends go round restaurants in a quest to find the best flan and write their reviews in a blog called La ruta del flan mixto (website in Spanish)
Right up there in popularity is a very simple dessert called either postre del vigilante or queso y dulce. It is probably the least fancy piece of sweet goodness one can find in the whole country. It consists of a thick slice of cheese, preferably Pategrás (a local variety of Gouda), and an equally thick slice of either quince paste (dulce de membrillo) or sweet potato paste (dulce de batata). I prefer dulce de batata. For a more decadent experience, I buy sweet potato paste with chocolate. It doesn’t sound half so good as it tastes, I can assure you.
The origin of the postre del vigilante has become a sort or urban legend. It is said that in the twenties, some police officers known as vigilantes used to eat at a tavern in the Palermo neighbourhood in Buenos Aires. As they always ordered a slice of cheese and a slice of quince paste, people began to call that combination “postre del vigilante”, the policeman’s (or cop’s or bobbies’ dessert.)
A more traditional dessert is figs in syrup (higos en almíbar), probably introduced by Middle Eastern immigrants. We eat the figs with a dollop of whipped cream or on a slice of semi-hard cheese. Some time ago I ordered figs in a restaurant and they came with a dollop of mascarpone cheese, which was a delicious combination too.
Recently I tried dulce de cayote (or chayote) for the first time and enjoyed it very much. The cayote is the fruit of the Cucurbita ficifolia, a type of squash. Its stringy flesh is cooked in syrup and served with guess what? a dollop of whipped cream (or mascarpone cheese) or over a slice of semi-hard cheese!
Sweet-sour Topoloveni Plum Jam
Aligot of Aubrac
Horchata de chufa from Spain
About the authorAna
2 comments for “Some desserts of Argentina”
I have to say I am not very fond of postre vigilante, I like dulce de batata but not its combination with cheese…
A selection of fruit preserves of all kinds, desserts made with almonds, walnuts, honey, dates, puff pastry – these are things that are more easily found in the northern region of our country, thanks as you say, to the influence of Middle Eastern immigrants.
Figs in syrup is quite common in Turkey, here it’s often served with kaymak, which is like cream but with more fat, if you can imagine it! It’s a bit like the English clotted cream.
Dulce de batata with chocolate sounds good…