Tag Archives: vanilla bean

Candied Papaya in Syrup

31 Jul

Dulce de Lechoza, Dulce de Papaya or Candied Papaya Syrup, however you prefer to call it, is a very typical Puerto Rican dessert.

When I used to belong to Mili’s cooking team at the Yoga Center, I needed to come up with different desserts for our menus all the times, because if not, Mili would resort to her trusted papaya dessert each and every time.

It got to a point that I kinda shunned dulce de papaya because I was so fed up with it… but now that Mili doesn’t make it so often, I miss it. I asked her for the recipe… because I wanted to learn how to make it.

I want to thank Jesiel, my long-time friend and author of Sweet Journey of Inspiration, for so graciously lending me the use of her photo of her dulce de papaya.  Jesiel is a former advertising professional and currently is a pastry chef working as a food stylist in Paris, France. We met working together, and even though our professional paths have somewhat diverted, we always stay in touch and connected in more ways than you’ll ever think.

Jesiel’s recipe and Mili’s recipe were very similar indeed. The biggest difference is that Mili’s recipe she stopped using baking soda because we were informed it is not that good for you to cook with it. I will get more info on the WHY for you guys soon… promise.

In the meantime, enjoy the flavors of Puerto Rico…


Photo courtesy of Sweet Journey of Inspiration


 1 large green papaya, but that’s showing signs that it’ll start ripening soon
2 cinnamon sticks
½ tbs whole cloves
2 cups brown sugar
1 tbs vanilla powder


  1. Cut papaya in half and clean the inside from all membranes and seeds.
  2. Slice it thinly, in about ¼ inch think and about 2 inches wide. Place in a large bowl. Cover the papaya slices with filtered water and let it rest for about 2 hours.
  3. After the 2 hours have passed, drain the papayas and place in a large pot. Add the cinnamon sticks, cloves, sugar, vanilla and about ¼ cup of water. Cook over medium heat for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the syrup is boiling too aggressively, turn down the heat. You sure do not want that hot sugar to boil over. Experience is speaking to you here…
  4. Remove from the heat and let it rest until room temperature. Chill in the refrigerator in a sealed container.


This candied papaya in syrup is best eaten cold and with a nice slice of cheddar cheese or queso del país.

Vanilla Maple Carrots

21 Jan

Believe it or not… this is one of the recipes that started it all.  I found this recipe in the November 2007 issue of Martha Stewart Living, did it and was sooooo easy and tasty that I shared it with my friend Kathleen.  She made it, liked it and posted it on her blog Kathleen’s Vegetarian Kitchen.  The rest… is blogosphere history.

 So far, I have made this about 3 times at the Yoga Center I attend and I always get requests to make it again.  I know my pictures are not yet to Martha’s standards, but with practice, I hope to get there one day…  at least the flavors are already there.

 Again, the times I have done this, I have done 5 lbs. of carrots at a time.  So I will follow the original recipe’s quantities to adapt to the regular household amounts.



1 pound carrots, peeled and cut diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices
1 cup water
1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise
3 tbsp pure maple syrup
1-2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp butter
Salt and Pepper to taste
  1. Combine carrots and water in a large skillet or saucepan. Season the water with salt and scrape the insides of the vanilla pod and mix in with the water. Throw in the vanilla pod left as well.
  2. Bring to a simmer and cook carrots until they’re tender, about 10-13 minutes. Martha’s recipe says the water evaporates, mine never does evaporate a lot. So….
  3. Drain all the water from the carrots.
  4. Add syrup, honey, pepper and toss to combine. Be careful not to break up any carrots.

 This makes a great side dish on any night, but would also work particularly well for Thanksgiving or for any potluck dinner.

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