HOLIDAY DESSERTS FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Throughout the centuries, in countries around the world, desserts have always been a staple among celebrations during the holiday season.
Each celebration is different, and every country has their own unique dessert that they serve, from Melomakaronas, Kekses and Beignets to Risgrynsgrot, the different offerings are invigorating. Looking for some new ideas to enliven your store this year? Check out our gallery of traditional holiday desserts from various countries around the world gathered from the PreGel AMERICA Professional Training Center staff, an iVillage article titled Christmas Foods Around The World and TheWorldGourmet.com Christmas recipe feature.
Recipes to Try From PreGel AMERICA:
Alfajores (Dulce de Lech Sandwich Cookies) – South America
While they have origins in Moorish Spain, alfajores are especially popular in South America. They are simple shortbread sandwich cookies with a sweet filling of dulce de leche. Different doughs are used for the cookies depending on the country. Some use flour dough, while others add cornstarch or even cassava flour for a more delicate crumb.
Anise Biscotti (Dried Bread) – Italy
While biscotti are highly popular items in American coffee houses and delis, Italians serve biscotti throughout the year and their holiday tables are never without them. Biscotti, which means twice-baked dough, is first baked as a loaf, then sliced and gently dried in the oven until lightly crisp. Tightly covered biscotti can keep for months.
Beignets (Pillowy Puffs) – France and United States
Pillowy puffs of fried dough dusted with snowy powdered sugar, beignets are most famously served on the banks of the Mississippi River in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Beignets are best enjoyed for breakfast with a hot cup of chicory coffee. Original from France, beignet is an umbrella term for a large variety of pastries made from deep-fried dough with fruit filling. It was French immigrants who brought these authentic French style doughnuts that are now the official state doughnut of Louisiana to the United States.
Bunuelos (Fried Dough Dusted with Cinnamon Sugar) – Mexico
Bunuelos, fried dough dusted with cinnamon sugar are a dessert favorite among Mexican culture during the holidays.
Candy Canes – United States
A candy cane is a hard cane-shaped stick of peppermint or cinnamon flavored candy. It is traditionally white with red stripes, and can be used as decoration or eaten for enjoyment.
Florentine Cookies (Crunchy Cookies) – France
Florentine cookies are a thin, crunchy cookie containing nuts and candied fruit hold together with a sticky mix of honey and/or sugar. The cookies are baked and then usually dipped in or drizzled with chocolate. Almonds, hazelnuts, and/or pecans are commonly used as the “nut” portion. The Florentine is particularly popular during the holiday season. Though there name would suggest the Florentine cookie is from Florence, Italy, they were allegedly invented in Paris, France.
Kekse (Little Cakes) – Austria
In every Austrian Christmas market you will find traditional little cakes called "Kekse," which Christmas wouldn't be complete without. They are made with butter and flavored with cinnamon, vanilla or jam, shaped like stars, Christmas trees or crescents.
Kolaczki (Flaky Cookies) – Eastern Europe
It just wouldn't be Christmas in Eastern Europe without Kolaczki. These flaky cookies start with a buttery cream cheese dough that's filled with fruit or sweet cheese filling. Kolaczki can be round, square or diamond shaped, and the dough can be flaky or yeast-risen, and the spelling varies widely.
Lebkuchen (Honey-Almond Pastries) – Germany
These wonderful holiday pastries come from Germany and are usually the first pastries baked as they keep well and improve with age. When you sprinkle with white icing and colored sugar, they are pretty and festive.
Mantecados (Crumble Cakes) – Spain
These traditional Spanish crumble cakes or "mantecados" crumble very easily. In fact, they are so soft, they will literally melt in your mouth. Light and with a delicate anise flavor, you'll have to make them to see why they are a Spanish favorite and why no Spanish home is complete without "mantecados" at Christmas!
Melomakarona (Spiced Honey Cookies with Walnuts) – Greece
Melomakarona is a traditional Greek holiday cookie made with cinnamon and cloves. The cookies are soaked in honey syrup and sprinkled with sesame seeds, walnuts and cinnamon.
Pudding – England
The traditional Christmas pudding is made with dried fruit and nuts, steamed and then aged, often for weeks, to enhance the flavor. It is almost black in color and is flambeed with brandy before serving.
Risgrynsgrot (Rice Pudding) – Sweden
This traditional dessert is a rice pudding that is customarily topped with lingonberry jam, a tablespoon of golden syrup and/or a sprinkle of cinnamon and sugar. During the holidays it's served with a single almond hidden inside, the receiver of which is entitled to an extra gift.