March 6, 2021 ·

Argentine Desserts: Postre Vigilante and Pasta Frola



Argentines have an enormous sweet tooth and have a few special desserts that can’t be found on restaurant menus, but are quite common at home. In addition to the delicious chocotorta, there are a couple of other desserts that have a different kind of dulce than dulce de leche.

Common here in Argentina are sweet jams made of different fruits and vegetables. The most popular here in Buenos Aires is dulce de membrillo (quince) and batata de molde (sweet potato jam). It’s hard to find the right word for the dulce in English, since it is often much firmer than jam or marmalade and can be sliced much like a firm cheese. This “jam” is found in two desserts here: postre vigilante and pasta frola.

Postre vigilante (or postre Martín Fierro)


This is a very simple at-home dessert popular in both Argentina and Uruguay. You can put this together by slicing up cheese and dulce de membrillo or batata de molde, and then eating them together. For cheese, pick a neutral one that isn’t too salty, and you can buy the dulce at the fiambrería (deli) or in your local supermarket. The story behind this dessert is that it was created in a 1920’s Palermo cantina (cafeteria/snack bar) that was frequented by police officers, and for this reason received the name “vigilante”. You may run into variations on this dessert using different types of cheese and different kinds of dulce, and these are often called “queso y dulce”.

Pasta Frola


in English terms, is basically a pie with a lattice-top. A crust is covered with dulce de membrillo, dulce de batata, dulce de guayaba or dulce de leche (sometimes melted a bit in the microwave to make it easier to spread), and then another layer of strips of pie crust is laid over it to give it a lattice effect. It is then baked in the oven to cook the crust, and served. Unlike the vigilante, you will see this at panaderías (bakeries) and cafeterías, and also at the supermarket.

So hopefully if you’re at a loss for what to grab for dessert one evening and you don’t feel like dulce de leche (again), these two very Argentine options will give you some inspiration!

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