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Top Caribbean Desserts

Cakes, custards, cookies, puddings, sorbets


Cakes, custards, cookies, puddings, sorbets - you name it and the Caribbean has it when it comes to desserts. The biggest insperation comes from the abundance of naturally sweet tropical fruits. Also, sugarcane was one of the early crops brought to the Caribbean by Spaniards and it became a major cash crop during colonial times. These factors and the influences of the European settlers makes for an abundance of sweet treats throughout the islands. Here is a list of my favorite recipes.

Bacardi Rum Soaked Cake

Rum cake
Lara Hata/Photodisc/Getty Images
You don't have to be an expert baker to make this cake It's an easy version of rum cake using packaged yellow cake mix. It shouldn't be surprising to find rum making its way into baking. The rum industry was the driving factor behind the Caribbean’s economy, history, and culture. It wasn't just used for swilling cocktails, but also preserving and cooking. Almost every island group produces its own distinct style of rum; choose your favorite for this recipe.

Chocolate Mousse with Rum

Chocolate Mousse
© Jodi Jacobson. Istockphoto.com.
Here is my interpretation of Pitch Lake Pudding - a chocolate mousse with rum recipe inspired by Trinidad's Pitch Lake. The lake doesn't consist of water. It's the world's largest natural deposit of asphalt and looks a lot like a large sea of chocolate pudding.

Coffee flan (Flan de Café con Leche)

Photo © Arturoli. Image from BigStockPhoto.com.
There is no doubt about it. Flan is the most famous dessert in the islands. One of my favorite versions of the recipe is flan de café con leche (coffee with milk). This makes a delcious grown up dessert for romantic dinners.

Chocolate Bread Pudding (Pudín de Pan Chocolate)

Chocolate Bread Pudding. Photo © Hector Rodriguez. Licensed to About.com.
Photo © Hector Rodriguez. Licensed to About.com.
It seems like every country has a version of bread pudding, even in the Caribbean. Spanish speaking islands call it pudín de pan. This moist chocolate version is one of my favorite ways to use up stale, day old bread before it spoils.

Mango Puff Pastry Turnovers (Pastelillos de Mangos)

Puff Pastry Turnover Photo © Kelly Cline. Photo from iStockphoto.com.
Photo © Kelly Cline. Photo from iStockphoto.com.
My inspiration for the mango turnover recipe came from the traditional guava turnover. I prefer mangos, so I substituted mangos for the guava. What a nice surprise. Serve these sweet turnovers for dessert, an afternoon snack with coffee, or for breakfast.

Coconut Kisses (Besitos de Coco)

Coconut Kisses - Besitos de Coco
Photo © Hector Rodriguez. Licensed to About.com.
Here's another favorite treat in the Spanish speaking Caribbean. Coconut Kisses are a type of cookie made with coconut flakes. This basic recipe is easy for beginners to make and can be dressed up with crushed nuts or dipped/drizzled in chocolate.

Coconut Rice Pudding

Rice Pudding - Arroz con Leche
Photo © David Smith Image from BigStockPhoto.com
In the Caribbean, coconuts find their way into many desserts. Coconut rice pudding is a popular dessert in the Caribbean, so much so that it is sometimes served for breakfast. Here's an easy recipe that starts with cooked rice. It makes a tasty, creamy coconut rice pudding.

Black Cake - Caribbean Christmas Cake

Black Cake - Caribbean Christmas Cake
Cynthia Nelson
This cake goes by several names - Black cake, Christmas cake, Great cake, Rum cake and Wedding cake. The aged rum-soaked dried fruit gives the cake a dark appearance, hence the name black cake. But the cake is so prized it is also called great cake and is served on special occasions such as Christmas and for weddings. Whatever you want to call it, here's how to make this wonderful cake.

Mango Sorbet

Mango Sorbet
Photo © Patricia Hofmeester
Sorbet is a refreshing alternative to dairy based ice cream. Sorbets are frozen fruit flavored indulgences that go over well as a light dessert or cool treat on a hot summer day. I use mango in this sorbet recipe, but you can easily subsitute other tropical fruits.

Guava Fool

At one time, "fool" was a term of endearment - a word used to describe something or someone with which the speaker felt much love. One taste of this sweet creamy guava fool will tell you why being a fool isn't a bad thing after all.

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