When I hear Dulce de Leche, I’m immediately brought back to the memories of my grandma cooking sweets in her kitchen.
There were so many times where I’d sit on the counter, watching and waiting (not-so-patiently) for her to let me lick the spoon as she cooked.
So when I saw a new bakery had opened in Brightwaters by that name, I just had to pay a visit.
Here’s what I learned.
Mabel Perfecto of Bay Shore, the owner of Dulce De Leche Cake Shop at 346 North Windsor Avenue, was a chef in her native country of Uruguay, but not a pastry chef.
She had a natural talent for baking and word got out around, first in Uruguay and later in Bay Shore and beyond.
“I was cooking out of my kitchen [in Bay Shore] for people, and this woman wanted to order a cake from me,” she said. “But when I told her I baked out of my house, she wasn’t sure about it. So I thought to myself, maybe I should make a career out of this.”
With her husband’s encouragement, she spent a year looking for a location at which to sell her baked goods. The spot in Brightwaters gave her the chance to be closer to her two children.
Now that you know some of the story behind Dulce de Leche, let’s take a look around.
First off, almost all the baked goods are served in individual sizes, which is perfect for people that want to enjoy sweets from her country but have no self-control. People Like me!
Postre Chaja is a peach meringe cake. It’s very fitting this time of year with a lemon garnish. This is a very traditional to Uruguay, light and airy cake that also photographs well.
Perfecto also offers Pastafrola, which is a small pie with a quiche filling. It’s perfect for people that prefer a savory taste rather than sweet.
When you’re talking about Latin American desserts, you can’t forget flan. My family goes nuts for flan. We have to hide it until dinner is over, so that no one spoils their meal.
The sauce that goes on top is easy to burn so it’s cooked very slowly. But it’s worth the wait. Perfecto has this in individual sizes so you can take it home and you don’t need to share.
Alfajor is a cookie with Dulce de Leche filling and a powdered sugar topping.
One of my uncles loves these cookies so much that he asked for it as a cake for his birthday. My mom put a candle on a stack of them and we sang to him. She held it up for him as he blew out the candles. Hilarity ensued when she ended up covered in powdered sugar.
And of course, my personal favorite, the Empanadas. Perfecto’s take on these is a healthier choice than the ones my grandma makes. For one, they’re baked, rather than fried. She has several options available, including spinach, beef or chicken.
Last note: In Perfecto’s country, pancakes and french toast are not traditional for breakfast. So she serves ham and cheese on Croissants for her customers to have in the morning with their coffee or tea. It’s common to see people sitting on the benches outside with these after dropping their kids at school.