A plastic cup of puerto rican piragua with a pineapple leaf in it

What is Puerto Rican Piragua?

Origin: Puerto Rico

Type: Shaved Ice Dessert

Main Flavours: Fruit Syrups, Tamarind, Coconut

About Piragua

Piragua is a Puerto Rican shaved ice dessert, best loved during the summer. Finely shaved ice is shaped into a cone and generously topped with sweet and tangy fruit syrups, such as tamarind and coconut. Piragua vendors, known as piragüeros, often serve this refreshing treat from colourful pushcarts, making it a delightful sight and taste on hot days. Customisable with various syrups, piragua remains a beloved treat for both locals and visitors.

See below for our recipe!

What Zsófi Says About Piragua

Similarly to gola, but from the opposite side of the world, piragua is another shaved ice dessert sold by street vendors on the street, this time by pragüeros on the wonderful island of Puerto Rico. Their small colourful pushcarts serve shaved ice desserts shaped into the form of pyramids, placed in a cup, and drenched in fruit syrup. In fact, the very dessert is named after its curious shape, combining the Spanish words for pyramid ‘pirámide’ and water ‘agua’.

This joy-bringing sweet treat, however, has a dark history. Its origins can be traced back to the African traditions of making ice brought to the island by enslaved peoples. These traditions then mixed with the ingredients readily available at the island to create the flavours popular today which can vary from the classic strawberry to the more exotic pineapple or coconut. Piragua has since become a national symbol, a real taste of Puerto Rico.

Read Zsófi’s full article on shaved ice desserts!

Piragua Recipe

Piragua Ingredients

  • Shaved ice (the best shaved ice comes from a shaved ice machine, but if you don’t have one at home you can put ice in a strong blender or put it in a bag and smash it with a rolling pin)
  • Fruit syrups (popular flavours in Puerto Rico are tamarind, coconut and pineapple)
  • Condensed milk

Piragua Instructions

Make the shaved ice using your chosen method. If it’s a hot day, keep it in the fridge whilst you prepare your other ingredients, or prepare the other ingredients first (don’t put it back into the freezer because it will freeze back into one big lump!).

Shape the shaved ice into a cone and pack it into a cup. Generously pour over your fruit syrup (you can use one or several at the same time) and add condensed milk for sweetness. Serve immediately!

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