The origin story of one of Peru’s most popular desserts is almost as romantic as its name — suspiro a la limeña, or “the sigh of a lady from Lima.”
More than a century ago, the story goes, the wife of the poet José Gálvez Barrenechea made him a custard similar to dulce de leche and topped it with meringue. He loved the dish so much that he gave it its evocative name.
It refers to the sound you might make “if your teenage heartthrob walks by, and you sigh,” said Charles Walker, a history professor at the University of California, Davis. “It’s a thunderbolt strike of love.”
The dessert, also known as suspiro de limeña, is considered by many the poet’s way of showing his deep admiration for the capital of Peru; it is now a staple on restaurant menus and for home cooks. It’s made with a can each of evaporated and sweetened condensed milk, and the meringue is flavored with red port.