A woman’s sigh…that’s what this dessert is named after. Once you taste this, you’ll realize it’s a good sigh…a great sigh!
I needed to clarify since, in my opinion, the sighs I hear from women most days are tired sighs, frustrated sighs, exasperated sighs, roll-your-eyes sighs, and more. I even get text “sighs” from my daughter, like when I’m text-nagging her. In return, I get a “sigh, Mom” response.
This dessert represents one of those “good” sighs. It’s believed to have emerged sometime in the early 1800s in Lima, Peru. It went by another name until a poet, upon tasting the dessert, gave it a beautiful name that stuck. To the poet, this dessert was “soft and sweet as a woman’s sigh.” From that moment, this truly soft and sweet dessert became known as “Suspiro Limeño,” the soft and sweet sigh of the women of Lima. (“suspiro” means a sigh in Spanish)
I guess he was referring to some other kind of sigh.
This custard and meringue-based dessert is made from dulce de leche. It starts off just like the third recipe for dulce de leche I posted recently. In that recipe, evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk are cooked together to create a very light color dulce de leche.
To make the custard, the mixture and is cooked until thickened. Egg yolks are added to the milk mixture, stirred over very low heat for a bit and poured into dessert glasses. In Peru, this dessert is traditionally served in martini glasses.
From there, a syrup is created out of sugar and port wine. Any sweet wine can be used if you can’t find port wine.
The syrup is added to soft peak egg whites until a meringue is formed. That thick and glossy meringue is added to the custard, dusted with cinnamon and refrigerated until ready to serve.
With the first spoonful, you’ll understand the reason for the name…it’s light, airy, soft and yes, very, very sweet.
A little goes a long way with this dessert, it is a truly decadent experience.
And, just in case you’re a little nervous about using the egg yolks in the custard, I’ve provided instructions on prepping the egg yolks for safe use in this dessert. For more information, check out this article on using eggs safely in cooking from CraftyBaking.
I’ll be letting out some “soft and sweet” sighs while I eat this. Unfortunately, I’ll be back to my tired, frustrated, exasperated usuals soon enough.
- 1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 12oz can evaporated milk
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup port wine (2 ounces)
- 1 cup granulated sugar (200g)
- 4 egg whites
- cinnamon for dusting
- In a heavy saucepan, combine the sweetened condensed milk and the evaporated milk.
- Heat on medium low, stirring often.*
- Heat for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens and has the texture of custard.**
- If prepping the eggs, see the instructions down below then continue as follows right here:
- Whisk the egg yolks well. Then add some of the hot milk mixture to the egg yolks and whisk well again.
- Using a mesh strainer, pass the egg/milk mixture directly into the saucepan with the hot milks.
- Add the vanilla extract and stir the mixture for three minutes. Remove from heat.
- Immediately pour into dessert or martini glasses.
- Set aside.
- In a saucepan over low heat, mix the wine and sugar until the sugar dissolves.
- Allow the wine/sugar mix to simmer until a syrup forms.
- While the sugar/wine mixture simmers, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Make sure the bowl of your mixer is very clean or the meringues won't form.
- Test to see if the syrup is done by placing a drop of syrup in a glass of cold water. If the syrup forms into a thin thread, it's done.
- With the mixer on, carefully and very slowly pour the hot syrup into the egg whites and continue mixing until the bowl feels cool and the meringue looks thick and glossy.
- Add a thick portion of meringue to the top of the custard. Dust with cinnamon.***
- Refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Add the eggs to a small saucepan and whisk well.
- Add ½ cup of the milk mixture to the egg yolks.
- Cook over low heat, stirring constantly.
- Cook until the egg mixture reaches 160°F on a candy thermometer.
- Once the temperature is reached, place the saucepan in a pan with ice water.
- Sitr to cool and set aside until ready for use in the recipe as directed.
**This dulce de leche custard is very light in color, not a good indicator that the custard is done.
***I like to place the meringue in a piping bag with a star tip for a pretty presentation.