Habichuelas con Dulce (Dominican Sweet Bean Dessert), photo by Suellen Pineda, RDN, CDNPhoto by Suellen Pineda, RDN, CDN

Habichuelas con Dulce (Dominican Sweet Bean Dessert)

Cuisine: Dominican
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 10-12 servings

Never judge a recipe byits name alone! You never know what you might be missing! This is the case of the beloved Dominican dessert Habichuelas con Dulce. This delectable bean-based dessert is especially enjoyed during Holy Week. Its rich, creamy consistency pairs really nicely with starchy pieces of batata and raisins. It’s equally delicious chilled or warm — for those who can’t wait — and it’s served with traditional milk cookies and yuca (cassava) bread, known as casabe.

To cut down on the fat content of the original recipe, I used low-fat milks and skipped the butter that is added at the end of the cooking process in various regions of the Dominican Republic. Also, because this, like many other desserts, tends to be high in carbohydrates, feel free to use sugar substitute in place of sugar. These are just suggestions for healthier, but similarly enjoyable recipes.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound red Beans dried (canned are OK)
  • 1 can evaporated milk low-fat
  • 1 can condensed milk reduced-fat
  • 1 can coconut milk reduced-fat
  • 4 large cinnamon sticks
  • 8-10 cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4-1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 pound batatas peeled and diced (if you can’t find batata, use sweet potato)

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Directions

  1. Inspect beans to remove any debris. Rinse under cold water. Cook in a pressure cooker with 2 cinnamon sticks until tender.
  2. While beans are cooking, boil the batata until tender, drain and reserve.
  3. Blend beans with their liquid until smooth.
  4. Pass the bean mixture though a colander.
  5. Pour the strained beans in a heavy bottom pot. (Do not heat the pot before adding the beans.)
  6. Add milks, the remaining cinnamon sticks, raisins and sugar (if using).
  7. Bring to a simmer and stir constantly to avoid scorching.
  8. Cook for about 15 minutes or until mixture has slightly thickened.
  9. Remove cloves and cinnamon sticks.
  10. Add cooked batata, and cook for an additional 10-15 minutes.
  11. Add vanilla extract. Remove from heat.
  12. Serve warm or chilled with milk cookies.

Chef Notes

You can also use low-sodium canned beans, in which case you don’t need to drain the liquid. Variations: Substitute equal amounts of regular milk for coconut and evaporated milk if desired.

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