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Uruguayan bakeries are what dreams are made of. It is very common to find bakeries everywhere you go in Uruguay and people have their favorite local bakery wherever they live. Every one offers unique recipes and has its own selection, but there are a few staples that can’t be missed. Discover Uruguay’s most traditional and mouth-watering cakes and pastries and where to taste them.
Bizcochos are the standard pastries you can find in every bakery across the country. They have varied sweet and savory flavors but they normally consist of flour, water, and fat or butter depending on the variation. Don’t let these simple ingredients fool you: everyone has their own style and baking secrets so no bizcocho tastes the same as another. You can find them plain, or filled with cheese or ham. The sweet ones are dusted with sugar and can be filled with custard, quince jam, or dulce de leche (a spread similar to toffee or caramel).
Medialunas appear very similar to croissants, but their consistency is more dense and they taste more buttery. There are savory medialunas, which you can cut in half and fill with cheese and ham to turn it into a medialuna rellena (“filled medialuna”), which is a very popular lunch or snack. You can also find sweet ones glazed with sugar syrup and you can also fill them to make a sweet/savory snack, or commit to the sweetness and have them with dulce de leche.
This is many Uruguayans’ favorite cake because it is incredibly sweet and has a pleasant complexity of textures. Layers of dough are separately baked in the oven one by one, until they are firm and crunchy. Then, they are smothered in dulce de leche which binds them together. The cake is finished with a generous meringue icing!
Masitas translates as “little pieces of dough” which is exactly what they are. They are sweet and generally eaten for dessert, although you can have them as an afternoon snack. Usually in Uruguay when someone invites you over for a meal, you bring a tray of masitas for dessert as a form of gratitude. There are masitas of every kind in bakeries displayed behind a glass counter so you can choose which ones you want. There are dry ones similar to small biscuits, or filled with fruit, chocolate, dulce de leche, meringue, custard, or eggnog. Like bizcochos, masitas are different in every bakery so you should take a look at a couple of bakeries to see which ones you like the most.
These are a classic in almost every Uruguayan household, especially in the countryside. The dough is very easy to make as it only consists of flour, water, salt, and animal fat, which is then deep fried in some more fat! This highly-calorific treat is traditionally enjoyed on rainy days. It’s savory but some people sprinkle sugar and cinnamon on top, or add dulce de leche.
These are very simple treats of baked dough cut into circles, so they’re basically circular cookies. Ideally the dough should be soft and fluffy. They would be too dry if it wasn’t for their delicious center of quince jam. The cookies can be white and vanilla flavored, or dark with chocolate.
These are similar to ojitos in the sense that they also have a quince jam center. They are then covered with a second layer of dough that is dipped in dark or white chocolate. These are then bound together by a thin layer of dulce de leche. The combination of chocolate, quince jam and dulce de leche makes them irresistible and highly addictive!
An alfajor is a mini cake that most Uruguayans have for breakfast or afternoon tea, especially when they’re kids. Imagine being a kid and eating cake for breakfast almost every day! These delicious treats come in different flavors, the most common being chocolate, meringue, and coconut, and all have a luscious dulce de leche filling.
This is a typically Uruguayan cake from Durazno, a region right in the middle of Uruguay. The cake consists of vanilla sponge layers, peach syrup, dulce de leche, chopped meringue cookies, whipped cream, and peach slices. Durazno translates as “peach,” so it makes sense that they decided to create a new cake to honor this delicious fruit.
Pastafrola is a partly-covered shortcrust pastry cake mainly made from flour, sugar and egg. It is commonly filled with quince jam or dulce de leche and covered with strips of shortcrust pastry. It’s very sweet which makes it great as an afternoon snack with some coffee or mate, a bitter, caffeinated Uruguayan beverage.