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South American Pies

Tartas and Pasteles


I've never understood exactly what the tranlation for the word "pie" is in Latin American Spanish. I've heard pies described as tartas (but sometimes that means cake) and pasteles (which are typically savory, though there's the very sweet cake called pastel de tres leches), and sometimes just as "pie", like the ubiquitous pie de limon.

Dessert pies are not a major tradition in Latin America as they are in the US, but there are many South American desserts that translate well into pie form. And Latin America is renowned for it's huge variety of savory pies, like pastel de choclo, torta de fiambre, and many types of empanadas, which are a lot like hand pies, though usually not sweet.

This collection of pie recipes includes both traditional pies as well some "fusion"-style concoctions - in which the typical North American pie becomes a vehicle for sampling some of the best South American dessert flavors.

1. Pineapple Apple Pie with Dulce de Leche

Marian Blazes

This apple pie recipe has all the traditional trappings (cinnamon, granny smith apples, flaky crust) plus a touch of sweetened pineapple and a thin layer of caramel dulce de leche.

2. Pie de Limón - Key Lime Pie with Meringue

Marian Blazes

South American limes (limones) are extremely tart, which is what makes this pie so delicious and so popular throughout Latin America.  Be sure to use either key limes or Mexican limes for this pie, not the larger Persian limes, which are too sweet.

3. Mango Passion Fruit Tart - Tarta de Maracuyá y Mango

Marian Blazes

The flavor of passion fruit really shines in this creamy pie, while the mango flavor is more subtle.

4. Pasta Frola de Dulce de Membrillo - Quince Tart

Marian Blazes
This elegant tart is made with a cookie-like shortbread crust and dulce de membrillo filling.

5. Mazamorra Pie - Pie de Mazamorra Morada

Marian Blazes

Mazamorra morada is a popular Peruvian dessert made from purple corn and fruit.  It's normally served as a cold pudding, but it's delicious served warm with flaky pie crust.

6. Dulce de Leche Mocha Ice Cream Pie

Marian Blazes

This easy ice cream pie has layers of ice cream on a cinnamon graham cookie crust, swirled with fudge and caramel dulce de leche.

7. Toasted Coconut Ice Cream Pie - Pie Helado de Coco

Marian Blazes

Toasted coconut features in both the ice cream filling of this pie as well as the crust.

8. Banana Honey Tarts

Marian Blazes

This type of buttery tart with bananas and meringue is popular in the Latin countries that have some Caribbean influence, like Guyana and Suriname. This recipe can also be prepared as one large tart.

9. Mango Pineapple Meringue Pie

Marian Blazes

Cooked pineapple adds rich flavor to this pie, piled high with Italian meringue. 

10. Dulce de Leche Whoopie Pie

Marian Blazes

Ok, not exactly a pie... but possibly the best recipe on this entire site.   These whoopie pies take on the flavor of a South American alfajor cookie, with a creamy caramel dulce de leche filling (and a little North American marshmallow fluff for good measure) sandwiched between cinnamon-spiced chocolate cake "cookies".

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