Papaya Candy–A Culturally Diverse Dessert

Papaya Candy –A culturally diverse dessert


Papaya Candy is a dessert shared between the Cape Verdean and Puerto Rican culture. I had believed for quite some time that this queer dessert was only a Cape Verdean thing, but papayas have made their way to almost 60 countries.The papaya is originally from southern Mexico, Central America, and northern South America. Now, it is available to most tropical countries.

What is a Papaya?

Papaya is a very sweet fruit with a butter-like consistency. The fruit used to be considered exotic but now are found in markets throughout the year. Papayas are spherical or pear-shaped fruits that can be as long as 20 inches! Yet, in markets, they may only be around seven inches and weigh close to one pound. Most papaya flesh are a rich orange color with either yellow or pink colors. The inner cavities of papayas are black, round seeds . Papaya’s seeds are edible, although their peppery flavor is somewhat bitter.

Papaya Candy Recipe


  1. 2 1/2 lbs of firm papaya
  2. 2 lbs. sugar

Basic cooking instructions

Please follow the instructions carefully.
1. Cut the Papaya into FINE strips, then wash them well (hot or cold water, it is your choice).

2. Place the papaya and sugar on a low fire until the sugar completely dissolves.

3. Cook this mixture for about ten minutes, then set aside for a half hour.

4. After 30 minutes, reheat at a higher flame until the mixture becomes crystalized.

5. Within 3-5 minute remove from heat, and, use a spoon or fork to mold Papaya

What makes Papaya Candy Cape Verdean or Puerto Rican (dulce de lechosa)?

First and foremost, every culture adds their own ingredients to a dish/dessert. The recipe above is really basic for someone who wants to just learn how to make Papaya Candy. A Cape verdean papaya candy is sliced a lot thinner, and contains cinnamon powder which tops off the dessert. Puerto Rican papaya candy, known as Dulce De Lechosa, is a lot more cube like, making it thicker, and can contain cinnamon and brown sugar.

Side options

  1. Goat cheese (Cape Verdean/Puerto Rican)
  2. Bolachas (crackers- Cape Verdean)

Serving proportions

Three tablespoons of papaya candy at most, with two or three goat cheese and/or bolachas.

My take on the Papaya Candy

Papaya Candy should be eaten with caution since it is made with a lot of sugar. I prefer to eat this dessert when it is lukewarm, or when it is cold. I do not have a preference for goat cheese or bolachas, as they both serve as great sides.

Enjoy! And Bom comida! Bon apetito!