5 Caribbean Desserts You Need to Try

Posted on: 16 August 2021

If you're like most people, you associate Caribbean cuisine with inventive craftsmanship, spicy flavors, and fresh, healthy ingredients from the land and sea. And you probably associate Caribbean desserts with traditional classics such as flan and tres leches cake. However, as tasty as these options are, the Caribbean culinary scene is a wide, varied landscape full of deliciousness that's well worth exploring. 

The following are five desserts to look for on the sweet side of the menu at your favorite Caribbean restaurant. 

Sweet Potato Pudding

A staple in many old-school Jamaican households, sweet potato pudding is a tantalizing combination of sweet potatoes, coconut milk, and spices. Although very few ingredients are involved, it takes a skilled hand to produce the right texture and taste. Traditionally, this dessert is baked low and slow for at least eight hours, resulting in a texture resembling that of cheesecake. It's best served warm from the oven with a drizzle of caramel sauce and topped with freshly whipped cream. 

Arroz con Dulce 

Arroz con dulce is another classic with roots in island home cooking. Commonly associated with holiday fare, it's still a welcome end to a Caribbean meal no matter what time of year. Instead of the dairy milk used in traditional rice puddings, Arroz con dulce is made with coconut milk, which makes it a particular favorite to those who adhere to vegan diets. Other ingredients include raisins, coconut flakes, and island spices. 

Red Grout

Although it may not have the most appetizing name, red grout has the honor of being the official commemorative dessert signifying the transfer of the U.S. Virgin Islands from Denmark to the United States in the year 1917. It's basically a tapioca pudding prepared with guava, which provides it with its ruby red color and is often served with vanilla custard sauce. 

Hummingbird Cake

Another island dessert with official ties, hummingbird cake was named for the national bird of Jamaica and developed as part of a tourism promotion in the 1960s. The cake is a mixture of bananas, pineapple, and pecans and features a creamed cheese frosting. 

Bananas Flambe

Bananas flambe is a dramatic dessert that combines hot and cold. After halved bananas are sauteed to tenderness in butter, orange zest, a splash of lime juice, and brown sugar, they're topped with vanilla ice cream and drizzled with rum. The rum is then ignited to make an impressive display. When the fire goes out, the dessert is ready to be consumed. 

Visit a Caribbean restaurant near you to try some of these types of desserts.