A dessert whose name means "the sigh of a woman (from Lima)," must be something special. Suspiro de limeña is a classic Peruvian recipe, quite unusual and delicious. The bottom layer is made of dulce de leche (known as manjar blanco in Peru) that has been enriched with egg yolks. The top is a sweet, stiff meringue made with port wine. The combination is rich, sweet, creamy and might just make you sigh with contentment.
Homemade dulce de leche is wonderful, but if you are short on time, you can easily substitute purchased dulce de leche.
- 1 1/2 cups dulce de leche (homemade or purchased)
- 4 eggs (separated)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 cup port wine
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (for garnish)
Heat the dulce de leche in a saucepan over medium-low heat just to boiling (while constantly stirring to prevent sticking and burning).
Remove from heat and whisk in the 4 egg yolks, one at a time, until well mixed. Stir in a teaspoon of vanilla and pinch of salt to taste.
Let mixture cool slightly, then pour into individual serving dishes (typically a tumbler or parfait dish) while still warm. Divide dulce de leche into 6 to 8 individual glasses or cups, or one larger dish.
Bring the port wine, sugar, and a pinch of salt to boil in a medium saucepan.
Add the egg whites to the (very clean) bowl of a standing mixer.
When the temperature of the port/sugar mixture reaches about 240 F/115 C, or after about 3 minutes of boiling, turn on the mixer and start beating the egg whites. When the temperature reaches 246 F/120 C, remove the syrup from the heat. The total cooking time is about 4 minutes, and the sugar syrup should make thin threads if you drizzle it off of a fork, and will have thickened slightly.
The egg whites should be forming stiff peaks. (If they start to form peaks before the sugar syrup is ready, just turn off the mixture until you are ready to add the syrup). Slowly and carefully pour the hot syrup down the side of the mixer bowl, into the beaten egg whites while beating. Continue to beat the meringue until it cools slightly, about 2-3 minutes.
Using a pastry bag with a round or star tip (or a ziplock bag with one corner cut off), pipe the meringue decoratively on top of the dulce de leche. (You may end up with extra meringue).
Chill the suspiro until ready to serve. Sprinkle meringue with cinnamon and serve chilled or at room temperature.