The Suspiro Limeño is a creamy dulce de leche custard topped with a meringue cloud, that according to a Peruvian poet is as sweet and light as a woman’s sigh. It originated in Lima, the City of Kings, and was first known as the “Royal Delight of Peru” — here is how you can make this 200 year old dessert and feel like royalty in your own home.
This dessert has similar ingredients to the recipe for Arroz con Leche, and though it requires more steps and techniques, I was up to the challenge of recreating one of the most traditional of Peruvian desserts. I used Teresa Izquierdo’s recipe from the Larousse de los Postres Peruanos but substituted Sherry for Port in the meringue.
The Sherry is mixed with sugar to make a syrup, similar to the simple syrup used in the Pisco Sour. I used an electric mixer to beat the egg whites and make the meringue and to mix the syrup into the meringue. Since the custard can take up to 1 hour, I made the syrup and the meringue while the custard was thickening on the stove top.
When I was done making the Suspiro Limeño, it was the middle of the afternoon, and the kitchen was a bit of a mess, but it was time for my cafe con leche. So in the spirit of the moment, I served it in a small espresso cup, and was delighted at how it turned out — sweet and light indeed *sigh*. Note to self: I really need to start making more Peruvian desserts.
- 12 oz. can of evaporated milk
- 14 oz. can of sweet and condensed milk
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 6 egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup Sherry
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3 egg whites
- Put the evaporated milk, sweet and condensed milk, and cinnamon stick in a pot and bring to a boil, approx. 5-10 minutes.
- Reduce heat and stir frequently while it thickens, approx. 1 hour.
- Mix egg yolks and vanilla extract. Set aside.
- Mix Sherry and sugar in a sauce pan, bring to a slow boil, and simmer until the sugar dissolves completely, forming a thick syrup. Set aside.
- Beat the egg whites to form the meringue. When soft peaks form, slowly add the syrup and continue beating until meringue stiff peaks form.
- When the custard has reached the desired thickness and consistency, add the egg yolks while stirring quickly to prevent the eggs from cooking. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Serve the custard in a small cup and top with a meringue swirl.
The custard will have the desired thickness and consistency when you can see the bottom of the pot while stirring. For a simpler version of the meringue, use 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar with 3 egg whites.