We Cubans love sweets. It is something that is part of our history, our culture, of our culinary tradition.
Ours is a land that was sweetened with sugar cane, with the varied and exquisite tropical fruits, with Cuban honey, and also with the desserts—some more elaborate, others more simple—we inherited from Spain, Africa, from other nations in Europe or the Caribbean.
Thus a wonderful inheritance was formed, which enchants the eyes and, of course, the palate, even if it’s not exactly healthy. Because Cubans, at least a great deal of us, like sweets to be very sweet, with a touch of sugar that dulls the spicy flavor of the food and then can be appeased with a delicious cup of black coffee.
The recipes for Cuban sweets are passed down from parents to children, from generation to generation, and they have their main temples at home. Homemade desserts have the knowledge and affection of the grandmother, a charm that no restaurant, no matter how luxurious, can match in our memory.
But, even at home, we can transform sweets into much more than syrupy food. The simplest final touch can give an unimaginable image of the desert we’ve been tasting for years, and thus multiply our enjoyment.
French toast, or squash flan, or guava shells, or the very Cuban rice pudding, can be made much more appetizing with dedication and ingenuity.
Of course, this is not always easy, especially when the economic situation and the shortage of many products hinder our tastes and desires. As is the case these days. But whenever possible, we can try, but without losing sight of our health.
This is what I myself have tried to do for years, without being a chef or pastry chef; just a photographer who likes to cook and take pictures of what I make. And, of course, also taste it.
Therefore, I leave you with some of the desserts I have been able to make for a long time. They are not recent photos nor do I share them to make your mouth water, but to motivate you to try them when you have the opportunity.
I sincerely hope that, even if only by sight, you can enjoy them, and perhaps bring them to mind for yourselves or your families. If so, then I can be doubly satisfied.