Habichuelas con Dulce (Sweet Cream of Beans) is one of the most cherished traditions among Dominicans. It is prepared in large quantities during Lent and shared with relatives and neighbors.
It has always surprised us that of all our recipes, this is by far one of the most popular. The surprise comes from the fact that there is no two Habichuelas con Dulce alike. Each home has its own version.
One of the good things about habichuelas con dulce is that no two homes prepare it exactly the same way; it’s also a very forgiving dish that even the beginner cook can make well, and hey! any error can be explained as just your style.
There’s also the Habas con Dulce version (Sweet Cream of Butter Beans), which seems very popular in the Southwest, as well as the white bean version which some people seem to favor.
And for extra strangeness, there is guandules con dulce! This dish is a traditional cocolo dish, and not widely spread.
Read the comments and you will see how many different touches our readers have added to it.
Habichuelas con Dulce – Where did it come from?
I have no idea how this dish came about: it’s a pretty strange combination of ingredients (that never stopped us Dominicans, we’re fearless that way). Unlike most of our dishes, there isn’t an equivalent in other countries that we’ve found (although bean-based desserts are known in some countries). It seems to be an acquired taste, but we Dominicans love it and never seem to have enough of it. For more information on its origin, check where Aunt Ilana’s investigation led us.
Habichuelas con Dulce – Recipe & Video (Sweet Cream of Beans)
- 4 cups soft-boiled red kidney beans (or cranberry or pinto beans)
- 6 cups water from boiling the beans
- 2 cups coconut milk
- 3 cups evaporated milk
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 10 cloves
- 1/2 lb sweet potatoes (batata) [0.24 kg], cut into small cubes
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 8 pieces cassava bread (casabe), may be omitted
- 1 cup milk cookies (see notes)
- 2 tsp butter (salted)
- Put the beans (and the water in which they boiled) in a blender and puree. Strain the beans to get rid of the skins and undissolved solids. Pour the beans, coconut milk, evaporated milk, salt, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, cloves and sweet potatoes and simmer over low heat until the sweet potatoes are cooked through. Stir regularly to avoid sticking.
- Add the raisins and simmer for another 10 minutes (don’t worry that it may look too thin, the cream of beans will get much thicker when chilled). Remove the cinnamon sticks (and cloves, if you like). Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature. Chill before serving.
- Spread butter on the cassava bread and toast in the oven until it turns golden brown.
- Serve the beans with the cassava on the side. Put cookies in the beans when you serve.