Imagine the most delicious dessert you can imagine. Ask other people what their favorite dessert is. You can bet your last dollar that their answer will differ from yours.
Foods are very personal, whether they’re childhood favorites or recipes from a grandparent. Desserts are a good example. Despite the nostalgic appeal of sweets, however, some surpass local flavors.
You can find dan tats from Hong Kong in many cities worldwide. Like dan tats, many recipes don’t qualify as desserts – they are more commonly eaten in the afternoon.
It is a relatively new idea to serve a dessert at the end of an elaborate meal. Desserts are an import in some places, such as Africa or Asia.
It’s challenging to determine what is “foreign.” Tiramisu is made from coffee and sugar, brought to Italy by global trade. Hong Kong’s iconic sweet, however, has its roots in Portugal.
This list combines the personal and something more appealing to a broader audience. This list results from my nine-year career in the pastry chef’s kitchen. I traveled the world to discover new flavors. Here are the top desserts from around the world, listed alphabetically:
Alfajores, South America
These cookies are stacked high in neighborhood bakeries from Argentina to Peru. Shortbread crumbles into dulce de leche, a sweet caramel-like treat made by cooking sweetened milk into a decadent, mellow treat.
Latin American chefs have found that the simplicity of these cookies is the perfect foundation for their creative cooking. Try dunking them in dark chocolate or coating them in white chocolate. You can also roll the cookies in coconut and add spices.
Make a traditional strudel to learn about the architectural marvels of gluten. It is not rolled but stretched into a thin, transparent sheet.
The delicate dough is then wrapped around an apple filling, which may be enriched with raisins, buttery fried breadcrumbs, or walnuts. You can find this delicious pastry in many countries, but Vienna is the best.
This syrupy confection is one of the sweetest legacies of the Ottoman Empire. It has dozens of layers that melt together into a single bite. The baklava remains a popular treat in the Levant and other regions once ruled by Constantinople, including the Balkans, Caucasus, and North Africa. However, the modern country of Turkey has the most spiritual connection to baklava.
Pastry shops there serve trays sliced into diamonds and filled with nuts, then dripping in honeyed syrup. It’s the most popular of the Ottoman Empire’s syrup-soaked pastry and for a good reason. It’s easy to see why this is one of the most popular treats in the world.
Black Forest Cake (Germany)
The Black Forest is not only known for its fairy tales but also for the mountaintop castles. It’s also the name of Germany’s most delicious cake. Dark chocolate rounds are drenched in cherry syrup spiked by kirschwasser – a sour brandy – and layered on top of a thin chocolate base. The layers include whipped cream, fresh cherries, and a chocolate base.
Borma, Middle East, and Turkey
This sweet dessert is a close relative of baklava. It’s made with golden knafeh threads that wrap around a rich nut-filled center. Unlike baklava, borma can be fried to add extra flavor and crispness.
While baklava conceals its filling within a modest layer of filo, broma rolls, and slices, revealing a cross-section of colorful pistachios or pale pine nuts. This eye-catching presentation is what makes standard so popular as a gift. In pastry shops in the Middle East, Turkey, and other parts of Europe, a pile of Burma is displayed to tempt passersby.
Brownies United States
What is better, cake or fudge? What’s better, a corner piece or a slice in the middle? The best and worst ways to make this American favorite are well-known to brownie aficionados. Fannie Farmer’s 1906 “Boston Cooking School Cook Book” featured one of the first brownie recipes, which used unsweetened cocoa powder to give the brownies their fudgy texture.
Over the past century, brownies have become a staple treat, a base for sundaes, and an addictive ice cream flavor.
Even Katharine had a view on the best way to make them. According to an old tale, the actress said: “Never give up, be yourself, and don’t use too much flour.”
This Sicilian classic is rooted in the island’s rich culinary history. Its shatteringly crisp shell is filled with creamy, smooth cheese. The cannolo has its origins in the Palermo Carnival celebrations. It is filled with silky, soft ricotta made from sheep’s dairy.
You can taste the Arab influence in the rich, creamy filling: the candied citrus flavoring is a favorite throughout the Middle East.
Cardamom Buns from Sweden
Cardamom buns are part of the family of wheat buns, or vestibular. They’re best enjoyed as a part of fika, the coffee break that occurs twice daily in many Swedish workplaces. Cardamom Buns, which are part of the family of wheat buns called vetebullars, are best eaten as part of fika – the two daily coffee breaks that many Swedish offices take.
A freshly baked cardamom roll is not only a tasty treat but also one that’s easy to make. A classic recipe by Johanna Kindvall stirs crushed cardamom into a lightly yeasted, enriched dough. Then, the dough is rolled with a sweet, spiced sugar layer.
Fika is a Swedish coffee break that is all about chatting and sharing.