Manjar blanco is the star in many Peruvian desserts — it’s the creamy custard in the Suspiro Limeño, the glue in the Alfajores cookie sandwich, or the filling in the fluffy Pionono roll. But it can also fly solo as a Manjar Blanco Bonbon, and wearing a petite coat of cinnamon powder and a single sugar pearl, it dares you, dares you, to only eat one.
So to be safe, I made enough for a dozen, plus a few extra samples that I absolutely had to taste for flavor and consistency. Then, feeling a little like Forrest Gump, I put them in a candy box and paid a surprise visit to share them with some friends. Is life like a box of Peruvian custard candies? Quizas. If it is, then, without doubt, la vida es dulce — life is sweet.
- 1 can evaporated milk
- 1 can sweet and condensed milk
- cinnamon powder
- sugar pearls for decorating
In addition to the ingredients above, you’ll need a saucepan to cook the custard, a glass baking dish to cool the custard, a non-stick baking sheet to coat the candies with cinnamon powder, and small baking cups.
- Combine the evaporated milk and sweet and condensed milk in a saucepan over medium heat, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
- Stir until a thick, creamy, and caramel color sauce forms, about 30 minutes.
- Transfer the sauce to a glass baking dish and let cool for about 1 hour.
- Using the palms of your hands, roll about 1 tablespoon of manjar blanco into a small ball. Make a dozen balls and set aside on the non-stick baking sheet.
- Dust some cinnamon powder on the baking sheet and roll each ball on the cinnamon to coat completely. Drop the coated balls into small baking cups and set aside.
- Use a knife to mark an asterisk on the top of each ball, and decorate the center of the asterisk with a sugar pearl.
The inspiration for this dessert came from Sandra Plevisani’s El Gran Libro del Postre Peruano. The manjar blanco is the right consistency when it’s thick, sticking to the spoon or spatula that you used for stirring, and sticking to itself in a uniform mass. Once it cools it should be firm, but soft enough to form and roll into balls.