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Cakes, Tarts and Pies of Guyana

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The flavours and cuisine of Guyana has been influenced and moulded by many ethnic influences besides that of just South America. The Caribbean, Indian, African, Chinese, European and more recently, North American have all left their mark on Guyanese recipes.

This has resulted in a rich and interesting palette of foods and spices.

I've been eating and preparing Guyanese meals for near twenty years now, I simply love their spices, foods and cooking styles.

From the flavourful curries to the sweat inducing peppers, the melt in your mouth cakes, to die for pies or the omg-i-can't-eat-just-one tarts, it is really hard to not enjoy the variety of foods and flavour that South America, Guyana in particular, can offer.

Skuldon Market in Guyana

The recipes are not hard or complicated, they do not need special, exotic or impossible to get ingredients, they are versatile and can easily switch out one item for another.

Yet another reason to love Guyanese cuisine is the simplicity of it, a few basic ingredients and some spices, and you are ready to start cooking and creating master pieces.

Below are a number of my favourite recipes that I think are a great introduction to Guyanese desserts and foods, due to flavourful simplicity.

Remember they're versatile, it is easy to switch ingredients and bring a little Guyanese cooking and flair into your own home.

Cheese Rolls

Not Cheese Pies

Cheese pies smack of British influence and the Guyanese version of a cheese pie (cheese roll) is a little more Quiche like.

Cheese pies are melt-in-your-mouth amazing. But they can be tricky to make for a new cook and cheese rolls which are also melt-in-your-mouth delicious, are much more cook friendly.

Cheese rolls are great for breakfast, brunch, lunch, all day snacks and dinner.



  • 4 cups all purpose flour - Pastry Dough Ingredient

  • 1 1/3 cup margarine - Pastry Dough Ingredient

  • 6 tablespoon of water - Pastry Dough Ingredien

  • 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese - Cheese Filling Ingredient

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter room temperature - Cheese Filling Ingredient

  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder - Cheese Filling Ingredient

  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika - Cheese Filling Ingredient

  • 1 tablespoon mustard - Cheese Filling Ingredient

  • 1 tablespoon onion powder - Cheese Filling Ingredient

  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley - Cheese Filling Ingredient

  • 1 teaspoon sriracha (a hot thai sauce or your own preference) - Cheese Filling Ingredient

  • 1 egg slightly beaten

  • Extra little water and flour

Cheese Rolls



  1. 1. Mix margarine into the flour until it is well combined (hands are great for this one).

  2. Add the 6 tablespoons of water and continue to combine the three ingredients until a dough forms. If dry add a little water, if to wet, add a little flour.

  3. Let the dough chill for at least thirty minutes.


  4. In a bowl, mix together the cheese, butter, mustard, garlic powder and onion powder, the parsley and sriracha (hot sauce) until you form a well combined paste.

  5. Set aside.

  6. On a lightly floured surface, you are going to divide your dough into 12 pieces roughly the same size.

  7. Roll these out into 4 or 5 inch squares about 1/8 inch thick.

  8. Drop a dollop of the cheese mix into one half side of the dough and spread it out, leaving a half-inch thick border or edge.

  9. Fold the dough over and crimp the edges closed all the way around with a fork if you like that look or pinch closed. Repeat with the rest of the rolls. Laying them out on a baking sheet.

  10. When all the rolls have been made, make an egg wash by whisking an egg with 1 tablespoon water.

  11. Use a pastry brush to lightly coat the top of each roll with the egg wash.

  12. Bake the rolls in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until browned on top.

  13. Cool slightly before stuffing your face, I mean eating.

Cheese Roll Insides


Guyanese Pancakes

Pancakes in Guyana resemble Portuguese doughnuts, known as Malasadas, and not the flat style that many North Americans are used to seeing.

The syrup used is not the bottled kind, but a very simple recipe with but a few ingredients that can be saved for a week or more and used in other recipes.

These pancakes are perfect for those breakfast in bed moments, being a finger food you can have a morning of laughs and teasing.

And it all started with a new way to prepare an old food. These are so good, you'll be fighting each other for them.


Homemade Syrup and Guyanese Pancakes

  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour

  • 1 heaping teaspoon of granulated sugar

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1 heaping teaspoon of instant yeast

  • 1/4 ground cinnamon (optional)

  • 3 eggs warmed to room temperature

  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence or extract

  • 3/4 cup warmed milk

  • Oil of choice for deep-frying

  • 2 cups Demerara Sugar (can substitute cane sugar/brown sugar) - Syrup Ingredient

  • 1/4 inch of cinnamon stick - Syrup Ingredient

  • 1 cup of water - Syrup Ingredient



  1. Add all three ingredients, Demerara sugar (or substitute), cinnamon stick piece and water to a sauce pan and heat to medium high, stirring to dissolve the sugar.

  2. Once mixture is brought to a boil and sugar dissolved, turn heat to low and simmer gently for 15-17 minutes, it will thicken a little.

  3. Remove from heat and let it completely cool before using, melted sugar is really hot.


  4. Put all dry ingredients (flours, salt, sugar, yeast and cinnamon (if using) into a bowl and mix well.

  5. Add the eggs and vanilla essence to another bowl and beat gently to break it up and blend.

  6. Milk should be warmed, not steaming hot. Add milk and egg mixture into the bowl of dry ingredients. I make a well in the middle and add it there.

  7. Mix this well so that the batter is smooth and thick. It shouldn't be as runny as pancake batter.

  8. You have to sit this mixture off to the side in a warm area for roughly an hour to an hour and a half or until it is double its size.

  9. Once dough is ready, heat the oil for deep-frying.

  10. To prevent getting splashed with hot oil, I find using two spoons works best. Use one spoon to scoop out batter, use the second spoon to push or roll it off the first spoon and into the oil (careful of splashing).

  11. Cook these batter balls for two or three minutes or until golden brown all around. Remove and sit to drain on newspaper or paper towel or a rack.

  12. Serve these warm with syrup drizzled over them. Can pile them up into a little pyramid and let syrup drip and run down its sides. Can haphazardly toss them into a bowl and dress them there or bring up the syrup separate and each can dress their own. Fruit on the side is great with this dish.

Guyanese Salara

Coconut Bread

If you love coconut you will love this dessert.

A sweet bread filled with coconut. It's rightfully probably more a cake than a bread ... but it melts-in-your-mouth and causes fights at the table for more.

Need I say more?

Salara Bread



  • 1 tablespoon dry yeast - Pastry Ingredient

  • 1/4 cup warm water - Pastry Ingredient

  • 1/4 cup sugar - Pastry Ingredient

  • 1 cup of milk - Pastry Ingredient

  • 1/4 cup of shortening - Pastry Ingredient

  • 1 teaspoon of salt - Pastry Ingredient

  • 3 cups of all-purpose flour - Pastry Ingredient

  • 1 egg beaten - Pastry Ingredient

  • 1 egg white - Pastry Ingredient

  • 1 tablespoon of butter - Pastry Ingredient

  • 1 cup shredded coconut - Filling Ingredient

  • 1/2 cup sugar - Filling Ingredient

  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon - Filling Ingredient

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence - Filling Ingredient

  • 5 drops strawberry food colouring (or red food colouring) - Filling Ingredient

Salara Bread Slice


  1. First thing you should do is dissolve the yeast in warm water, not hot. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of sugar. Mix and let it stand.

  2. Set the milk to warm, adding the yeast and water.

  3. Combine shortening, salt and sugar, once combined, add flour and egg.

  4. Knead to make a moderately stiff dough and shape it into a ball.

  5. Place the dough in a bowl that you have greased with butter and cover it letting it rise to at least double in size, which may take up to an hour or so.

  6. Combine all the filling ingredients, coconut, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla essence and the strawberry (red) dye, and set aside.

  7. Go back to the dough and punch it down before dividing it in half, each half being a roll.

  8. Roll each half into an 12 inch x 8 inch rectangle not to thickly but not to thinly either and brush the dough with melted butter.

  9. Fill half of the dough square with some filling mixture on each one of the dough squares.

  10. Roll up the dough lengthwise and seal the edges.

  11. Cover and let rise again with the filling inside until it is at least double in bulk.

  12. Brush the rolls with beaten egg white before baking.

  13. Bake at 375°F (190°C) for 20 - 30 minutes. Cut into slices and serve.

Candied Sweet Potato Balls

Simple and Delectable

Sweet potatoes are sweet and delightful on their own. Adding a home-made syrup for them to bake in for half an hour makes them sinfully delicious and evil to the waistline, but your mouth and taste buds will thank you for the experience.

Sweet Potato Deliciousness


  • 4 -6 large sweet potatoes

  • 1 oz cooking butter or margarine

  • 1/2 cup of sugar (Demerara cane or white granulated)

  • 1/4 cup of water

  • Pecans or other nut


  1. Boil the sweet potatoes in lightly salted water. When cooked, remove and let cool.

  2. Cut the sweet potato into either slices or you can scoop out the insides and make little balls. Arrange the balls or slices on a greased shallow baking dish.

  3. Make syrup if you need to, if already made, pour syrup over the balls or slices of sweet potato.

  4. Bake uncovered in a medium high oven until most of the syrup has been sucked up by the potatoes, which can take about 30 minutes. You will want to baste often.

  5. Plate, sprinkle with your nut of choice and serve hot.

  6. If you have the syrup from the pancake recipe listed above (or your own) you can use that and omit the water and sugar, as you will not have to make more syrup.

Sweet Potato Candy Style

Pine Tarts

A Traditional Pastry Treat

When I say pastries you think of desserts with flakey buttery (fat!) dough and filled with sweet flavourful centres. In Guyana the term pastry refers to any dish or food prepared or cooked in a rich short crust pastry dough, be it fruits, sweets or even vegetables and spiced meat, a pastry is not always a dessert.

The pine tarts sweet pineapple filling balances wonderfully with the flakey short crust dough. If you are thinking to yourself, that I am talking about an Asian cookie pineapple tart, this is completely different, though I would not be surprised to learn that either the Asian dish influenced the Guyanese version or vice versa.

Pine tarts are a flavourful and popular dessert in Guyana, and when you try these, you will whole-heartedly agree - melt in your mouth heaven.

Pine Tarts Cooling


  • 4 cups all-purpose flour - Pastry Dough Ingredient

  • 1 1/3 cup margarine - Pastry Dough Ingredient

  • 6 tablespoon of water - Pastry Dough Ingredient

  • A 20 oz can of chopped pineapple - Pineapple Filling Ingredient

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar - Pineapple Filling Ingredient

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (bottled or fresh squeezed) - Pineapple Filling Ingredient

  • A pinch of salt - Pineapple Filling Ingredient

  • 1 egg yolk - Egg Wash Ingredient

  • 1 tablespoon of water - Egg Wash Ingredient



  1. Mix margarine into the flour until it is well combined (hands are great for this one).
  2. Add the 6 tablespoons of water and continue to combine the three ingredients until a dough forms. If dry add a little water, if to wet, add a little flour.
  3. Let the dough chill for at least thirty minutes.


  1. Blend the pineapple chunks in a blender with no less than half of the pineapple juice in the can.

  2. Mix the blended pineapple, the granulated sugar, lemon juice and a pinch of salt.

  3. Cook over a medium heat for about 25 minutes or until it has thickened. Do not over cook it .

  4. Remove from heat and let cool.


  5. Beat one egg yolk with 1 tbsp of water and set aside.


  6. Roll out your pastry dough to 1/8 thickness and then cut them into six-inch circles. A bowl is a wonderful device to use to get the right size and shape.

  7. Taking one six-inch circle place a full to heaping tablespoon of pineapple filling in the center of the pastry and spread it around, ensuring to leave a border or edge of roughly a half-inch.

  8. Retrieve the egg wash and brush the borders or edges of the pastry with the brush that do not have pineapple mixture on it.

  9. Fold one corner inwards about half way, then fold one of the other two sides over and finally the third. Your pastry should be triangular-ish (technical word) with overlapping sides and some pineapple mixture exposed in the middle.

  10. Pinch the edges closed to help hold all the flavour in, and brush the top with egg wash.

  11. Bake in a preheated oven set to 350 degree farenheit for 15 or so minutes or until they are a nice golden brown.

    Pine Tarts Ready


Nov 3, 2014 2:37am
Every single one of these looks amazing...
Nov 3, 2014 7:42am
thank you allenkerky and they're as yummy tasting as they look.
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  1. Jehan "Recipes and Pictures." Jehan Can Cook. 9/10/2014 <Web >
  2. Wayne "Caribbean Recipes." Guyana Outpost. 5/10/2014 <Web >
  3. "Food." Guyanese Pride. 2/10/2014 <Web >

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