pastel de tres leches

Pronunciation: [pahss-TAYL day trays LAY-chays]

A popular special-occasion dessert throughout Latin America, means "cake of three milks" (or "three milks cake"). Though thought to have originated in Nicaragua, it's also found in other countries including Costa Rica, Cuba, Guatemala, Mexico, Venezuela and now the United States. The name ("three milks") refers to an integral part of the cake—a sauce made with evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk and fresh milk or cream. Once the baked cake has cooled, the top is perforated and the sauce drizzled over it so it can saturate the cake. The resulting cake, which is dense and moist but not overly wet, is usually finished with a topping of whipped cream or meringue.

From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.

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