What Is Habichuelas Con Dulce?

Eugene P.

Habichuelas con dulce is a dessert from the Dominican Republic that resembles a kind of sweet soup made from pureed beans. The dish also includes milk, sugar and spices. The liquid from the beans is cooked with the rest of the ingredients in a pot until smooth, after which a diced sweet potato is added to help develop the thick, creamy texture of the dessert. The completed soup can be served at room temperature, chilled or turned into ice cream. It is traditionally eaten during the Lenten and Easter seasons along with milk cookies, cassava bread and raisins as a garnish.

A can of evaporated milk, which is used in making habichuelas con dulce.
A can of evaporated milk, which is used in making habichuelas con dulce.

Red kidney beans are used as the base for habichuelas con dulce. The beans are soaked overnight and then boiled in water until they have become very soft. Once cooked, the beans are placed in a blender — along with some water, if they are too thick — and blended until they are very smooth. The resulting puree is then strained to eliminate any remaining skins or other particles, and the strained liquid is placed back in the cooking pan.

Habichuelas con dulce is often garnished with raisins.
Habichuelas con dulce is often garnished with raisins.

The next step in making the dessert is the addition of condensed milk, evaporated milk and coconut milk to the beans. The color of the soup lightens considerably after the milk is added and boiled with the liquid. Sugar and diced sweet potatoes are added to the habichuelas con dulce and the mixture is reduced down, with the sweet potatoes providing a rich texture. The soup can be reduced until it is very thick, or left thin so it flows better, although it will thicken as it cools, especially if chilled in a refrigerator.

Spices can be added while the habichuelas con dulce is reducing. These spices traditionally are cinnamon and cloves, although the recipe tends to vary from family to family. Other ingredients that can be added are nutmeg, ginger and vanilla.

Once the habichuelas con dulce is completed and of the desired consistency, butter and raisins are added and melted into the soup, after which it is allowed to cool a little. It can be eaten this way or, more often, the dessert is cooled in a refrigerator for a few hours or overnight. The dessert also is usually served with milk cookies and a type of toasted bread made from cassava. The entire mixture also can be placed in a freezer or ice cream maker and frozen into ice cream.

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