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5 Mexican Desserts You Should Try Right Now

BY: Adriane Neuenschwander | Feb 16, 2017

France has éclairs and macarons. Italy has gelato and cannoli. And Mexico? It has, well, what does it have? Over the years, foodies have become familiar with Mexico’s savory dishes, but their sweets have managed to fly under the culinary radar.

It’s time to change that. Whether you enjoy them at a Mexican restaurant or bakery, here are five Mexican desserts you need to try ASAP.

Flan

The dessert defined: Ancient Romans invented this egg-and-cream custard, and the recipe quickly spread. Today, however, flan is one of Mexico’s most emblematic desserts. The custard is typically served with a thin layer of caramel on top, though plenty of alternate versions exist, including chocoflan, made with a chocolate-cake base.

Try it if you’re a fan of crème brûlée, cheesecake, and other custard-based sweets.

Best time to bite in: Flan’s light texture and cool, dairy-infused base make it the perfect follow-up to a spicy or filling meal.

Churros

The dessert defined: The Spanish introduced Mexico to the churro, an addictive, slightly crunchy snack made from deep-fried dough. Churros can be prepared simply with just a sprinkling of sugar and cinnamon or injected with a sweet filling such as vanilla cream or dulce de leche.

Try it if you’re a fan of donuts, elephant ears, and funnel cakes. If you like anything sugary, fried, and found at the county fair, there’s a good chance you’ll fall in love with churros.

Best time to bite in: Like its donut brethren, churros beg to be eaten at breakfast, perhaps with a strong cup of coffee. If you need an extra pick-me-up, pair your churro with a side of Mexican dipping chocolate.

Mexican wedding cookies

The dessert defined: Mexican wedding cookies are usually served at weddings, christenings, and other big events. But the dessert didn’t originate in Mexico. Rather, cultures around the globe enjoy these cookies, which are made with pecans, cinnamon, and plenty of butter.

Try it if you’re a fan of shortbread, sugar cookies, and teacakes.

Best time to bite in: You don’t have to wait till a friend gets hitched to treat yourself to these cookies. Their delicate texture and size make them an ideal accompaniment to an afternoon tea service or leisurely coffee break.

Tres leches cake

The dessert defined: The history of tres leches cake is disputed, but it probably became popular after the recipe appeared on condensed-milk labels throughout Latin America in the 1940s. But condensed milk is just one of the tres leches (“three milks”) that comprise the oh-so-moist Mexican dessert. Evaporated milk and heavy cream round out the trio.

Try it if you’re a fan of cake, obviously. Especially if you’re jonesing for exceptionally good white or yellow cake.

Best time to bite in: When a birthday, graduation, or other special occasion rolls around, opt for tres leches instead of a standard sheet cake.

Cajeta

The dessert defined: One of Guanajuato, Mexico’s specialties, cajeta is a thick syrup made from caramelized goat milk that tastes similar to caramel sauce you’d find in the States, but with an extra tang. Though the sweet syrup can be eaten on its own, it usually takes the form of a dip, filling, or topping.

Try it if you’re a fan of supersweet desserts—think peanut brittle or sticky toffee pudding.

Best time to bite in: Because it’s so rich, cajeta is the perfect Mexican dessert to eat when you feel like splurging. Pour it atop ice cream, roll it into a warm crepe, or drizzle it over pound cake.