While Colombians love their sweets, there’s not a lot happening in the dessert scene here. The cheese cake isn’t really cheese cake, chocolate cakes are too dry and I don’t think I’ve ever seen custard in Colombia. There’s not a whole lot of traditional Colombian desserts but rather poor imitations of popular western desserts (the things I would do for a Tiramisu). The saving grace is perhaps Milhojas.
Milhojas means “thousand leaves” and is basically layers of puff pastry filled with cream and topped with arequipe. This pastry gem is a popular dessert with all Colombians and I’ve been told that there are other variations of it throughout Latin America. The ingredients are pretty basic as it’s more a dish of technique and detail, but it’s absolutely exquisite when it’s done right.
When it comes to finding a good Milhojas, timing is everything. The puff pastry should be soft and crispy and it should melt in your mouth so you need to eat it when it’s fresh out of the oven. The real test is you should be able to cut through it with a spoon and not hack at it with a knife. While it’s available at practically every bakery, it’s hard to find a place that has it fresh all of the time. I can only think of two or three places in Bogota where the Milhoja is consistently good. The one that you see in the photo above was one I ate in Villa de Leyva at the Milhoja Bakery & Coffee shop where they make their Milhojas on order. It’s hands down the best Milhoja I’ve ever had, so much so that my girlfriend and I had one (shared of course) each of the three days we were there.
Keep an eye out for these crispy and creamy treats next time you pop into your local bakery for an afternoon coffee.