Drawing together household favorites from the full 2,670-mile (4,300km) length of the country, this list of top Chilean desserts should satisfy any sweet tooth.
You’ll notice a common theme arises (both here and in our list of Argentine sweet treats): Chileans are huge fans of manjar (or dulce de leche as it is known in other parts of the continent).
It’s unlikely you’ll take more than a few steps through Santiago without being temped to purchase one of these ubiquitous Chilean desserts: the alfajor. Made of two cookies sandwiched together with manjar (a sweet confection made from boiled milk and sugar) and then covered in thick milk or white chocolate, these are a popular snack sold by numerous street sellers.
A Chilean dessert that you’re more than likely to come across on most sweet menus when dining out, leche asada is similar to a milk flan or crème caramel but is baked in the oven, giving it a golden-brown top. In some cases, it’s served with lashings of manjar to make it even sweeter!
Torta Tres Leches
Translated as “three milks cake”, tres leches does indeed use three different types of milk, giving it a sweet, moist texture. Evaporated milk, condensed milk and cream are added to a basic sponge and then topped with whipped cream. Some recipes add manjar or even fruit purees at the milk stage to given it an even richer flavor. Yum!
Introduced by the Germans who settled in the South of Chile, you can’t go far in places such as Puerto Varas without being tempted by a slice of kuchen. The basic recipe is cake with large chunks of fruit, topped with a crust or crumble layer, but wherever you go, it’s likely you’ll see a different variant, as kuchen is made using the local fruits and berries. Look out for those using mora (blackberries) or local membrillo (quince) for a real treat.
Mote con huesillo
Although arguably a drink as much as a dessert, mote con huesillo looks a bit strange upon first sight but tastes delicious. Dried huesillo (peaches) are cooked with sugar, water and cinnamon and then mixed with mote (wheat), making it a very sweet drink that is sold at street stalls, particularly during the hot summer months.
Although the humble Chilean favorite, the sopapilla, found its way onto our list of delicious Chilean food and snacks, it also merits a place among the country’s top desserts. Made from flour and pumpkin that is deep-fried, sopapillas are more common as a savory treat, but can also be served drizzled with a hot sauce made from sugar, cinnamon and orange rind.
Where to find these delicious Chilean desserts
Although hailing from different parts of the country, you’ll find all of these Chilean desserts in Santiago. Most can be purchased from street stalls, while others, such as torta tres leches, leche asada and kuchen are best found in pastelerías (bakeries specializing in cakes).