Majarete is a type of pudding. It has been called a traditional Dominican dessert, traditional Cuban dessert and a traditional Puerto Rican dessert, so there’s certainly dispute about which country actually originated this pudding. Also, there are some differences as to what majarete contains, and the Puerto Rican version is quite different than the Cuban and Dominican versions.
Cuban and Dominican recipes call majarete a cooked corn pudding, which gets extra taste from the addition of coconut milk. Traditionally, you would use fresh grated corn to get the corn taste, though there are also recipes made with cornmeal. Since cornmeal thickens better, recipes containing it may be easier to make than those containing fresh corn. Puerto Rican majarete does not contain corn but instead is a mix of coconut, milk, sometimes rice milk, and sugar. Both versions may contain cinnamon, vanilla, and may be served topped with a little cinnamon.
Though termed a dessert, there are many fans of majarete that enjoy eating the pudding at breakfast. Some people on food blogs favor making extra so that there is some left over to eat the next morning. Whether for dessert, or for a morning meal, this pudding is quite popular, and considered great comfort food. If you’re looking for majarete in restaurants in the US, you’re likely to find it in many authentic Dominican, Cuban and Puerto Rican establishments.
There are some complaints when the recipe calls for corn, because American corn is not as sweet or flavorful as its Dominican counterpart. If you are using fresh corn for the recipe, look for sweet white corn. Some recipes advocate using creamed corn, which will also provide a sweeter taste. Others consider the coconut flavors overwhelming, but this again depends on preference. Some recipes on the Internet are commented upon extensively, and one of the primary comments is that the majarete won’t thicken. A good suggestion to help with the thickening process is to use a cornmeal-based recipe, or add a small amount of cornstarch to the pudding.
Perhaps the easiest way of all to make majarete is to buy it in powdered pack forms produced by the company Goya®, and easily found in Mexican and Latin American grocery stores. This is very similar to buying boxes of Jello® pudding, which often only require a small amount of cooking time and the addition of milk. For freshly made versions of the dessert, you’ll have to do some experimenting with recipes to find the one that you enjoy the most.