Layering sponge, custard and meringue to absolute perfection, torta de tres leches is arguably one of South America's greatest exports. From Venezuela to Argentina, family recipes are passed down from generation to generation.
- 187.5 g evaporated milk
- 197.5 g sweetened condensed milk
- 125 ml cream
- 3 eggs
- 120 g sugar
- 120 g self-raising flour
- 20 g butter, melted, cooled to room temperature
- 3 egg yolks
- 55 g (¼ cup) caster sugar
- 1 tbsp cornflour
- 300 ml milk
- 150 g sugar
- 150 ml water
- 3 egg whites
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Resting time 15 minutes
Chilling/freezing time 2 hours
The following recipe has been tested and edited by SBS Food and may differ slightly from the podcast.
To make the sponge, preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease and line the base of a 20 cm round cake tin.
Whisk the eggs and sugar in a heatproof bowl until combined. Place the bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water and whisk continuously for 10–12 minutes until thick and pale and tripled in volume (the mixture should fall in thick ribbons when lifted and drizzled back into the bowl). Remove from the heat, add the flour and fold gently to combine. Fold in the melted butter. Pour the batter into the prepared tin, transfer to the oven and bake for 20–25 minutes until golden and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Allow to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack. Once cool, cut in half horizontally.
To make the pastry cream, bring the milk to the boil and remove from the heat. Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until thick and pale, then mix in the cornflour. Slowly add the hot milk, whisking continuously, until combined. Return the milk to the saucepan and place over medium-high heat. Bring to the boil, stirring, and cook for 1 minute. Strain into a clean bowl and refrigerate until cool.
Mix the evaporated milk, condensed milk and cream together. Pour one-third of the milk into the bottom of a deep bowl, large enough to fit the sponge. Place one half of the sponge on top of the milk. Spread the sponge with the pastry cream and top with the remaining sponge. Pour the remaining milk over the sponge and place in the fridge for 2 hours.
To make the Italian meringue, combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to high and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, without stirring, until the temperature reaches 121°C on a sugar thermometer. Meanwhile, whisk the eggwhites until soft peaks form. With the motor on high, slowly drizzle in the hot sugar syrup. Reduce the speed to medium and beat for 10–15 minutes until cooled and the meringue is thick and glossy.
Spoon the meringue onto the cake and lightly burn the peaks using a blow torch (optional).
Cut into slices and serve.
Photography by Alan Benson