Don pedros for dessert!


20071007_don_pedrotitleSo who the heck is Don Pedro anyway?

Well, he might be:

* a prince of Aragon in the Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare

* an American actor

* a former governor of Guatemala

* a Filipino politician

* a Latin-American restaurant in New York

* a dam

All very impressive, but to me, Don Pedro will only ever mean one thing:  one of my favourite South African desserts. 

I say South African, but truth be told, its name and its regular appearance on Argentine menus suggests that this is a South American import.  How an Argentine boozy ice cream cocktail came to our shores is anybody’s guess, but its here to stay on every menu south of the Limpopo (and probably a few north of it as well!).  Here in London, it is unknown (outside of a handful of South African and Argentine restaurants) and it is surprising how often after a meal I feel like one but can’t find it on the menu. The great thing is that it tastes like a cocktail, looks like a dessert and doesn’t fill you up too much.  What’s not to like?

I guess you could describe it as a grown-up milkshake, consisting as it does of cream, ice-cream and booze, and the classic booze to use is whisky.  However, in South Africa you can customise it according to what your favourite liqueur happens to be.  Just like when you order a steak you will be asked to choose between chips, rice or baked potato, when you order a Don Pedro you will be asked whether you want it with whisky, Kahlua, Amarula or other more adventurous options like creme de menthe or tequila.  Although mine is served with a restrained glace cherry, you can also have them with grated chocolate or whipped cream topping, just in case you feel the need to up your calorie intake…

Here’s the simple version – enjoy!

DON PEDRO (per serving)20071007_don_pedro2

2-3 scoops good vanilla ice cream
25 ml whisky (or alcohol of choice)
50ml cream
a glace cherry to garnish
grated chocolate to garnish (optional)

Blend the ice cream, cream and whisky in a blender.  Pour into champagne flutes and garnish with cherries or grated chocolate, as you prefer.


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  1. katsa says

    Thanks for this post Jeanne! A Don Pedro is my favourite dessert too – and I have never had one in Europe. My personal favoutite slant is with Frangelico – smoky hazelnuts with the creamy base – as you say – what’s not to love?!

  2. says

    I haven’t had one of these in so many years, I wouldn’t even have remembered what goes into it. I’m so glad for the recipe, so we can make some this season…we do have Amarula!

  3. herschelian says

    I’ve always known them as DoM Pedros not DoN, has anyone else called them that? I made a batch for a hen night earlier this year and everyone loved them. Way back I made them for my girls Bookclub, and one of our number was spotted in the kitchen trying to lick out the blender! My preference is for Kahlua, but I do like whiskey as well.

  4. Mats says

    Its called Don Pedro, and the recipe is Kahlua, WHiskey and Vanilla Ice Cream. But you can also use Amarulla… Its the South African version :)

  5. Karen Murray says

    I thought it was just me. I love Don Pedro’s and was surprised that you can’t find them on the menu outside South Africa, with such a foreign sounding name ,why is that so?
    I live in Australia now and I am on a mission to introduce my friends to the simplicity (milkshakes)and delicious taste of Don Pedro’s.
    To top it all I use a Thermomix in the kitchen (the best kitchen gadget of the millenium). I can whip up a Don Pedro’s in 20seconds. I also add fresh strawberries for a healthy kick.

  6. lisa J says

    What a lovely collection of recipes you have put together – all so delicious and so saffa – heaven to read this as an expat. Stunning tasty food – and a lovely layout thanks x

  7. says

    Wonderful drink … can’t think of anything better a meal. My parents first had it in Jo’burg, and then introduced it to all of heir friends. Interested to hear of the Argentinian link, this makes sense as I was so surprised to see on the menu at Gaucho’s Grill Argentinian Restaurant in Manchester. I know that I have often seen Cointreau substituted in for Kahlua.

  8. menamoo says

    i love don pedros, my fav is with amaretto :) im a sucker for marzipan flavour. and indeed in london u dont get any (havnt checked sa or argentinian restaurants) honestly i have NEVR had it with a cherry, might make one tonight

  9. Patricia says

    The Don (the word Don in spanish means Sir) Pedro is original from Argentina. My guess of how it ended up in the S. Africa is because is sooo good. The origin of the dessert was in a Restaurant in Buenos Aires called Lo Prete from the 1930s. Leyend says that it was created for a customer called Pedro who did not want people seeing him drink whiskey so this dessert was the solution. The original recipe calls for 1 shot of whiskey, 1 scoop of icecream (usually Sambayon) y crushed nuts.