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from "Miami Spice" by Steven Raichlen

The most famous Nicaraguan dessert is tres leches. Three different kinds of milk are used in its preparation — fresh milk, evaporated milk, and sweetened condensed milk — which explains the name.

Universally appealing, this Nicaraguan dessert has been adopted by many Cuban and other Hispanic restaurants in South Florida. This recipe comes from the Miami restaurant Los Ranchos.

Serves 8 to 10

For the Cake:
1 cup sugar
5 large eggs, separated
1/3 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

For the Milk Syrup:
1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
1 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 cup heavy (or whipping) cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon light rum

For the Meringue:
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
3 egg whites

Print Print recipe

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Generously butter a 13 x 9-inch baking dish.
2. Prepare the cake: Beat 3/4 cup of the sugar and the egg yolks until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Fold in the milk, vanilla, flour, and baking powder.
3. Beat the egg whites to soft peaks, adding the cream of tartar after 20 seconds. Gradually add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and continue beating until the whites are glossy and firm, but not dry. Gently fold the whites into the yolk mixture. Pour this batter into the buttered baking dish.
4. Bake the cake until it feels firm and an inserted toothpick comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes. Let the cake cool completely on a wire rack. Unmold the cake onto a large, deep platter. Pierce the cake all over with a fork.
5. Prepare the milk syrup: combine the evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, cream, vanilla, and rum in a mixing bowl. Whisk until well mixed. Pour the syrup over the cake, spooning the overflow back on top until all is absorbed.
6. Prepare the meringue: Place 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of the sugar in a heavy saucepan with 1/4 cup water. Cover and cook over high heat, for 2 minutes. Uncover the pan and cook the sugar to the soft ball stage, 239°F on a candy thermometer, 6 to 8 minutes.
7. Meanwhile, beat the egg whites to soft peaks with the cream of tartar. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and continue beating to stiff peaks. Pour the boiling sugar syrup in a thin stream into the whites and continue beating until the mixture is cool to the touch. The hot syrup "cooks" the whites.
8. Using a wet spatula, spread the top and sides of the cake with a thick layer of the meringue. Refrigerate the cake for at least 2 hours before serving.

Buy The Ingredients
Product nutrition and information
 Quantity Ingredients Est.Price
  Nature's Yoke Natural Cage-Free Large White Eggs - $3.99/ea
 1 dozen
  Ronnybrook All Natural Single Serving Creamline Milk - $1.89/ea
  Borden Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk - $3.99/ea
  Carnation Low-Fat Evaporated Milk with Vitamins A and D - $1.99/ea
 12fl oz
  Organic Valley Heavy Whipping Cream - $3.99/ea
 1 pint
You May Already Have
  Domino Granulated White Sugar - $2.79/ea
  Spice Select Pure Vanilla Extract - $4.79/ea
 2fl oz
  Gold Medal All Purpose Enriched Bleached Pre-Sifted Flour - $2.49/ea
  Davis Double Acting Baking Powder - $3.69/ea
  FreshDirect Cream of Tartar
This product is currently unavailable.
  Rhum Clément Première Canne Rhum Blanc
This product is currently unavailable.
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