Delicious Dominican Cuisine

A Buen Tiempo... Buen Provecho! ;)

Dominican Style Sweetened Cornmeal Cake/Arepa Dominicana (Dulce)


Arepa is a rich, comforting cornmeal cake that is sometimes made sweet so it that can be served for breakfast, as a snack or even dessert with coffee or hot chocolate.  It can also be made salty or savory to accompany heavy meals like lunch and dinner.  Making arepa can be intimidating if you’ve never tried to before, since it can be tricky balancing out the moisture level to get a soft, creamy arepa, as opposed to a hard and dry one.  If you’ve never made an arepa before, give this recipe a try, it’s very delicious and although it’s sweet, it won’t overwhelm your palate.

This recipe will make a rather large arepa, depending on how big you cut the pieces you can probably get around 12 good sized slices.  To make this recipe you will need the following ingredients:

5 Cups of Regular Milk (may use Low fat)
2 Cans (approx 12oz each) of Evaporated Milk
2 Cans (approx 15oz each) of Coconut Cream
1/2 Cup Raisins
1.5 Cups Light Brown Sugar
1 tbsp Anise Seeds
1 tbsp Vanilla Extract (White Vanilla is preferable)
3 – 4 Cinnamon Sticks
1/2 tsp Salt
4 Cups of Fine Yellow Cornmeal
5 Cups of Water
4 tbsp Butter or Margarine

To begin, add the fine yellow corn meal to a large bowl,

Then add about 5 cups of water, enough to completely soak the corn meal,

Stir it with a fork to make sure all of the corn meal gets moist and there aren’t any dry clumps,

You don’t want the cornmeal to be swimming in the water, you just want it to look like a thick grainy pudding.  Set aside until we are ready to use it.

Also, Preheat the oven to 350 degrees so that it’s nice and hot when we are ready to bake the arepa.

Then take a large pot and put it on medium high heat, add the milk (I usually use 1% fat, but you may use fat free or whole if you if you prefer),

Then add the evaporated milk, remember to shake the can well before opening it,

Add the cinnamon sticks and the raisins (can always add more raisins if you prefer),

Then add the light brown sugar (I don’t recommend you substitute with Dark Brown Sugar, since it will make the arepa sweeter and darker), give it a quick stir after adding the sugar,

I usually use the Goya brand coconut cream which can be found in pretty much all of the large chain supermarkets and Spanish bodegas.  There are other brands available which you can usually find this in the international isle in the grocery stores, I don’t recommend you substitute the coconut cream with coconut milk,

Then add the coconut cream (shake the can well, when you pour it will look like a thick oil),

Then add 1 tbsp of vanilla (I recommend you use Dominican white vanilla :) ),

Then add about 1/2 tsp of salt to balance out the sweetness,

Last but not least, add 1 tbsp of anise seeds,

With a whisk or a spatula, stir well to make sure the sugar is completely dissolved and all of the ingredients are well incorporated,

Let the ingredients in the pot come up to a light boil (it will probably take 10 – 15 minutes), make sure to stir every few minutes so the milk doesn’t burn at the bottom of the pot, then add the moist cornmeal,

After adding the cornmeal, stir constantly to avoid clumps,

While the cornmeal is cooking, take 2 tbsp of softened butter or margarine and grease a large baking dish (the one I’m using is 4Q capacity, 15x10x2), if you have a pastry brush use that, if not use a spoon or your hands,

Once the dish is generously greased set aside,

Remember to stir the cornmeal constantly so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot,

As the cornmeal cooks and absorbs the milk, it will turn into a thick pudding like consistency,

As it gets thicker, stir more frequently so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom,

When the pudding is thick and you dip a spoon or spatula, then you get a thick “ribbon” effect, you are ready to add it to the baking dish,

Turn the heat off and I usually like to remove the cinnamon sticks before adding the pudding to the baking dish (I don’t know about you guys, but there’s nothing worst than biting into an arepa and getting a large chunk of cinnamon stick in your mouth :( ),

Pour the cornmeal pudding into the baking dish, making sure to scrape all of it from the pot (a spatula will make it easier to do this),

Then spread the cornmeal pudding evenly over the dish, do this with pressure to avoid air bubbles, you can also lightly shake and tap the baking dish to settle the cornmeal as well,

Then take the remaining 2 tbsp of butter (may substitute with margarine) and cut it into thin slices (it’s easier to this with a stick of butter), then spread over the arepa,

Adding the butter makes the arepa develop a nice golden crust on the top as it bakes,

Then transfer the arepa to the oven, make sure to put the baking rack in the middle of the oven,

Bake for about 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes.  You’ll know the arepa is ready when you poke the center with a thin knife and it comes out clean,

When the arepa is thoroughly baked, let it rest for atleast 1 hour before cutting it.  Don’t cut it while it’s piping hot, let it settle first.  If you cut it while it’s really hot, the pieces will fall apart.

Doesn’t that arepa look delicious? :)

After letting it rest for a while, cut it into whatever size pieces you prefer.  It’s very delicious served warm or at room temperature, accompanied by some delicious ginger hot chocolate yum!

A piece of arepa is a delicious and comforting Dominican treat!

Buen Provecho! ;)

 

 

 

 

29 ResponsesLeave one →

  1. Yinnette Luna

     /  December 8, 2011

    Everyone loved my AREPA!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    thank you so much :)

    Reply
  2. Kelly

     /  December 12, 2011

    Can u tell me maybe what I did wrong I followed this recipe exact and cooked it for 1 hr and i left it in even longer because the middle would not cook no matter what i did I even left it in longer than the time u recommended…i love ur website and have tried many things on here… :(

    Reply
    • Janet O.

       /  December 12, 2011

      Kelly,
      Have you ever had issues baking in your oven and having it come out “undercooked”? Sometimes, temperatures can vary from oven to oven, that’s why some dishes might take longer to cook in some ovens than others. Here are some tips for the next time you make an arepa:
      - Verify the measurements. It has happened to me before that I miscounted the measurements and had to adjust while the cornmeal was cooking on the stovetop.
      - Make sure the conrmeal is a thick “pudding” like consistency, if it’s still too thin it might not set well.
      - If your arepa is slightly undercooked, the longer it sits the harder it gets. Usually letting it sit overnight will let it settle more and the next day it should be firmer.
      - If you are sure your measurements are correct and you cooked the cornmeal well on the stovetop, but it’s still not settling while it bakes, let it bake for an additional 30 minutes, if it’s still not settled raise the temperature in the oven by 25 degrees and let it cook for 15 more minutes then check to see if that is helping then let it bake until it settles.

      Hope this helps, don’t get discouraged it it didn’t come out well your first try, sometimes the more you practice the better you get at it. :) Let me know if you are have success in making this recipe.
      Janet

      Reply
  3. Kelly

     /  December 14, 2011

    Hi again janet…i let the dish set for like another hr and it was perfect :) lol
    Do u happen to have a recipe for flan…my husband loves that dish and I love ur pictures with the instructions :)

    Reply
    • Janet O.

       /  December 14, 2011

      Kelly,
      I’m glad it turned out well in the end! :) I do have a recipe for flan, I can send it to you via email in the meantime if you need it soon. I will be posting it with pictures probably after Christmas since I have several recipes I am preparing to post before then.
      Janet

      Reply
      • me gusta arepas de queso!! I love a retrausant I always visit in Monteria. They have arepas with anything you could imagine. My first time there I ordered the biggest and most crazy one they had and it was too much.Anyway, this post made me hungry. I need to find where I can purchase the arepa flour.Take care!

        Reply
  4. Kelly

     /  December 15, 2011

    Yes that would be great if u can send it to me thank u

    Reply
  5. Marilyn

     /  April 1, 2012

    I just made the arepas. Thank you they were delicious!

    Reply
  6. QUISPEANA

     /  April 10, 2012

    i MADE THIS AREPA YESTERDAY dELICIOUS :)

    Reply
  7. QUISPEANA

     /  April 10, 2012

    BY ANY CHANCE DO YOU HAVE A RECIPE FOR ABICHUELA CON DULCE???

    Reply
    • Janet O.

       /  May 14, 2012

      Quispeana,
      I do have one, I can email it to you if you’d like. :) I do plan on posting it eventually but I have alot going on right now and haven’t had much free time to update the blog with more recipes.
      -Janet

      Reply
  8. Julissa Jumper

     /  May 15, 2012

    Hi Janet. I am a Dominicana living in NC. My mom did on Christmas day of 2010 and I was so sad that I would never know how to cook alot of the dishes I loved her to make for me. I was soooo pleased to see the ensalada de bacaloa con papa! That was something I loved! Anyway, I am so glad to see what you have done with your blog. The pictures is what really puts it over the top. That is so helpful to someone who is cooking the dish and wondering wat it should look like. Thank you and I hope your life settles down so that you are able to get back to posting more recipes. I’d love the recipe for habichuelas con dulce too if you would e-mail it to me. God bless you and your family and may He continue to allow you to continue your blog.

    Reply
    • Janet O.

       /  May 16, 2012

      Julissa,
      I’m really sorry to hear about your mother’s passing. I know that no matter the recipe, it will probably never taste exactly like your mother’s cooking, but we can try to get close to it. :)
      I can email you the recipe for habichuelas con dulce, keep an eye for it in your inbox. I am going to make the effort to update very soon with some very much requested recipes for those who have patiently been bearing with me.
      -Janet

      Reply
  9. yohely

     /  May 17, 2012

    hola muchisimas gracias ,gracias,gracias por esta receta me salio deliciosa la hice por primera vez , eres lo mas maximo que dios te bendiga.

    Reply
  10. Daritza

     /  July 17, 2012

    i’m going to try it today !!!

    Reply
  11. Martha M. Caminero

     /  September 26, 2012

    Hi Janet! I just want to thank you so much for given me the memory of my mother cooking. I make the Dominican Arepa. It was delicious. I only alter the corn flour. I added one and half cup more cornmeal. Because I put too much water. It was my fault. My landlady love it. She never like corn muffin. But this, she loves it. This recipe I give a 10, nice and moist. Couldn’t be more better. My friend told me about your web. side. Thank you so much!!! I love it. Can wait till my son try it. I made it last night. Thank you. Can wait till I give some away. I love to share what I cook, specially if is that great.!!!

    Reply
    • Janet O.

       /  October 13, 2012

      Martha,
      I’m glad that you enjoyed the recipe! I went through many recipe adjustments to get something that I like since I am also a picky arepa eater lol!
      Janet

      Reply
  12. Daniel Diaz

     /  January 20, 2013

    I tried this arepa and at first had to cook for the hour and a half you suggested, and it was still uncooked in the middle, i took it out of the oven afraid it would start to burn on top. I let it sit for a few hours and it settled just fine. Next time i will cook it a bit longer on the stove and it should be ok. Thanks for the recipe it was delicious.

    Reply
    • Janet O.

       /  March 28, 2013

      Daniel,
      Some oven can vary temperature that’s why the cooking time can be different for everyone. I’m glad it turned out well in the end! :)
      - Janet

      Reply
  13. santa

     /  March 13, 2013

    Wow gracias!!!!

    Reply
  14. Me encanta tu explicacion paso a paso que otras recetas tienes para compartir

    Reply
  15. Mina C.

     /  April 10, 2013

    Hi Janet,
    This recipe looks great and I can’t wait to try it tonight! Thanks for sharing it.

    Reply
  16. Angie

     /  June 6, 2013

    Hi.
    I went to Le cordon bleu for pastries and baking. I love me some sweets. Just one problem . Mami doesn’t stop bugging me about learning how to make dominican sweets . I’m defiantly going to try making arepas. Is it possible to get your recipe for abichuela con dulce or arroz con leche? Or anything dominicanly lol

    Reply

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