D is for the Dominican Republic…
Translated literally, habichuela con dulce is “beans with sweet” or Sweet Beans. This sweet bean pudding is so creamy and delicious – it’s a great way to hide protein rich beans in a dessert for kids.
My best friend O since I was 8 years old is from the Dominican Republic. Being friends for so long, we are like family to each other. I have been to many a birthday, wedding, christening, birth and holiday celebrations at her family. O’s Mom is a fabulous cook and one of my favorite dishes of her Mom’s is habichuela con dulce. She and I were roommates for a few years after college and lived next door to her Mom. I loved coming home from work and finding a big pot of habichuela con dulce in the refrigerator.
Unfortunately, O moved to South Jersey last year and due to my busy work schedule, I haven’t seen her in about a year. I couldn’t get her to make it for me.
I instead went to another friend A who is from the Dominican Republic who lives much closer to me and her Mom came over and made it for me one day. However, this dish is very customizeable according to personal preferences and some things she did differently, but I adapted her basic recipe to the flavors O’s mom used and I achieved the same consistency and flavor I remember from O’s mom. I was so happy with the result as it had been many years since I had this treat.
Some prefer it with less spices like A’s mom, but I prefer the more flavorful version below using O’s mom’s version. Some like it 100% pureed while others make it not pureed at all with more whole beans in it. Some like it thicker and you can cook it for longer to achieve that. You can adjust the recipe below according to your personal preference.
Popular for Christmas, but often served at other family occasions also, Habichuela con Dulce is one of my favorite Dominican treats.
- 1 lb. roman beans, soaked overnight
- 12 oz. can evaporated milk
- 15.25 oz. can coconut milk
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 7 cloves
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
- 1 cup raisins
- freshly grated nutmeg, for garnish
- Dominican milk cookies (similar to American tea biscuits/English digestive biscuits)
Cook beans in 8 cups water until tender. Let it cool for a few minutes.
In a blender, puree half of the beans and cooking liquid (about 5 cups). Return to the pot.
Add evaporated milk, coconut milk, salt, cinnamon stick, cloves, vanilla, butter and sugar. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until thickened, about 1 hour. Halfway through the cooking time, add the raisins.
This can be served either chilled or warm. (I prefer it warm)
Add the freshly grated nutmeg on top.
Garnish with milk cookies.
To eat, dunk the cookies into the pudding. The cookies will soften, but wont turn mushy. This is the way to enjoy it.
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