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10 minute No-Bake TRES LECHES Dessert

This post was written by my foodie sister Robin, who is now sharing all of her favorite recipes and kitchen tips regularly on the new “Make It and Love It – in the KITCHEN” portion of this blog. Try a few of her recipes…your belly will thank you! -Ashley

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This recipe is one that I learned years ago, from one of my roommates in college, who grew up in Mexico. We only lived together for 4 months — but BOY, did we make FOOD!!! And once we started cooking…there was no stopping us!

 

Have you ever had Tres Leches Cake? Some people love it…and others hate it. This recipe is a spin off of the famous Latin dessert and is light, creamy, and refreshing…..but with a different non-soggy texture (which is usually what people don’t like about it). And this, my friends, is so much FASTER to make!

 

 

 

I like how this speedy variation alleviates the typical mushiness of Tres Leches…but allows one to enjoy the great flavors. I love the mixture of the tang of the limes with creamy milk flavor. It is almost like cheesecake…but not quite!

 

 

 

Now you might be asking, “where is the cake?” and “isn’t the cake part crucial to Tres Leches?” Well, yes and no… I remember my roommate telling me that this was an easy dessert to bring to potlucks, especially if it was a last minute thing. You know, when you completely forgot the date or just had no hours in the day to put something together. Just mix it all up in minutes and place in the fridge for 1 hour. Your friends will thank you!

 

Ready to whip up this creamy, light, Tres Leches dessert?

 

Shopping List:

  • 1 8oz pkg cream cheese
  • 1 can (14 oz) Sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 can (12 fl oz) Evaporated Milk
  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice (the bottled stuff won’t work)
  • 2 pkgs Marias Cookies (or 1 Box Nilla wafers or 2 pkg GF pecan sandies or vanilla cookies)

 

First gather your ingredients. Yep, that’s it!

 

However, if you can’t find Marias Cookies (which are generally in the Latin food aisle…or sometimes a random end cap), Nilla Wafers will do the trick!

 

And if you eat gluten free like many of us in our family, a GF shortbread a vanilla type cookie like these work great!

 

 

Okay, let’s start mixing!

 

First, I get the cream cheese (8 oz pkg) going in the mixer to soften it up a bit. I am a bit OCD on this and like to make sure it stays smooth.

 

Once it is softened, I start to add in the sweetened condensed milk (14 oz can), scraping the bowl often. Mix thoroughly, making sure there are no lumps.

 

Now you are ready for the can of evaporated milk (12 fl oz). Again, mix this in gradually. If you do end up with lumps, I suggest grabbing a whisk, making them small as possible. Set aside for a bit.

 

Now, line your pan with cookies, two layers high, making sure the second layer overlaps the first.

 

Now, add the 1/3 cup fresh lime juice to your milk mixture and mix well. You will notice that it is starting to thicken.

 

Here comes the fun science part —

The reason why you are using the evaporated milk is that the protein content is higher than regular milk. That protein, when mixed with the acid of the limes, become denatured or otherwise “cooked”, making those proteins rigid. Cool, right?  (If your mixture hasn’t started to thicken, add more lime juice one tablespoon at a time to help push it over the acidic threshold to aid in setting up. It should be as thick or slightly thicker than it was before you added the evaporated milk.  And adding extra lime won’t hurt anything….it will just increase the citrus flavor to the dish.)

*** If you can’t find limes at your grocery stores, lemons will work too!

 

Pour the mixture over your cookies right away.

 

 

The mixture should continue to thicken, so don’t worry. Just store the entire pan in the refrigerator for at least one hour and it should set up nicely!

 

Before serving, add some fruit to the top for a nice refreshing treat! (Or if you’re a plain cheesecake kind of person, maybe you’d prefer your Tres Leches plain too!)

 

 

Now enjoy! And make again and again and again!

-Robin

 

 

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10 minute No-Bake TRES LECHES Dessert – Recipe Card

servings: 12-15

  • 1 8oz pkg cream cheese
  • 1 can (14 oz) Sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 can (12 fl oz) Evaporated Milk
  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 pkgs Marias Cookies (or 1 Box Nilla wafers or 2 pkg GF pecan sandies or vanilla cookies)

 

Mix the cream cheese until softened. Gradually add the sweetened condensed milk, scraping frequently to avoid lumps. Mix in the evaporated milk. Line your 9×13 pan with 2 layers of cookies/wafers of choice. Add the lime juice to the milk mixture and mix well. Pour over cookies. Spread evenly and store in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. The milk mixture should be firm. Cut into square pieces and serve with fresh fruit. ***Don’t make more than a couple hours before serving, or the cookies will become soggy.

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Comments

  1. Becka says:

    Can you use graham crackers instead of cookies?

  2. Kay Nelson says:

    Did not set up. I used bottled juice; no limes at store. Won’t do that again. One lime – 2 tbsp juice. It’s too sweet for me and I like sweet. Going to try to salvage by coarse chopping cookies with edge of spatula, adding 1 more tbsp juice, folding in a small carton of whipped topping, then freezing to serve as a frozen dessert. I will try your version again sometime with real limes. Do you think adding a little lime zest would be ok?

    1. Robin says:

      Yikes! Yes, the bottled juice doesn’t react the same than with fresh. I’ve been trying to changed it above but the site has been twerky today. It should be 1/3 cup fresh squeezed juice. I found that less than that wasn’t pushing it over the acidic threshold to set it up. You can add more juice than that to give it extra zing and become more stiff. Adding zest is a great idea along with garnishing with it on top.

  3. Sue says:

    Ok you gals…I made this today, and it DID NOT SET UP at all!!! All the liquid pooled on the bottom of my 9X13, and the cookies were basically “floating” in the milk mixture. What did I do wrong? I followed the directions EXACTLY as written, even down the the Maria’s cookies. I am even confused, because the picture of the dessert that you posted, appears to have this whipped cream looking topping…mine looks NOTHING like it! Any help here would be awesome! My family LOVES tres leeches cake…but not my flop today!

    1. Robin says:

      Aaaack! Oh no! It just need more lime juice and just to make sure, fresh and not bottled. I am sorry I should have known better to have exact measurements in order to get the same results. Some limes are smaller or larger than others. So sorry about that…I will have this worked out by tomorrow.

    2. Robin says:

      I have been trying to edit today and the site has been finicky today. It should be 1/3 cup of fresh squeezed lime juice.

  4. jalynne says:

    We love Tres Leches! This was really good but didn’t set up. I didn’t use anything lowfat. It was still good because we like our Tres Leche juicy, but I would have liked it to set up just a bit. What did I do wrong? Used 2 imes…should I have used more lime?
    Thanks!

    1. Robin says:

      Aaaack! Yes you are right, it just need more lime juice and just to make sure, fresh and not bottled. I am sorry I should have known better to have exact measurements in order to get the same results. Some limes are smaller or larger than others. So sorry about that…I will have this worked out by tomorrow.

  5. Maria says:

    Can lemons be used instead of limes..??

    1. Robin says:

      Yes, you can use lemons too! It will still work and have a nice lemon flavor to it.

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Hi, I'm Ashley

Hi, I’m Ashley—the DIY-enthusiast behind this crazy blog!

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