Different countries might not see eye-to-eye on travel policies or climate change; but one thing’s for sure, we all have a delicious way of satisfying our sugar cravings. So next time you have a taste for ice cream or apple pie, consider of one of these unique international desserts instead.
Popular throughout the Middle East, baklava is made from paper-thin layers of flaky filo dough, filled with chopped nuts and spices then drenched in honey syrup. Each country has their own spin, but the biggest dispute is whether to use almonds, pistachios, or walnuts to create the dish’s quintessential crunch.
Dango are small circular dumplings served on a bamboo skewer. The cooking process is very similar to making mochi, where dough is pounded with a mallet to create a glutinous texture. Azuki bean paste, black sesame, or green tea are often added for flavor.
3. Gulab Jamun
Gulab jamun is a modified version of luqmat al qadi, which made its way to India with the traveling sultans and shahs of Persia. Similar to donut holes, gulab jamun are soft, spongy fried balls of powdered milk, flour, butter, and milk (or cream), drenched in a rosewater-scented syrup.
4. Maple Taffy
The ideal winter treat, maple taffy is pure maple sap, boiled then poured over a slate of snow to set. Most people enjoy this confection off a wooden stick like a lollipop, but it’s also available as individually wrapped candies.
5. Gajar Ka Halwa
One of the somewhat healthier recipes on our list, gajar ka halwa is made of fresh carrots, milk, sugar, and ghee (a type of clarified butter) – boiled, mashed, and accented with cardamom, raisins, almonds, and pistachios. In addition to Nepal, this carrot pudding is also popular in Bangladesh, India, and Sri Lanka.
6. Crème Brûlée
It only takes a few simple ingredients to make this world-renowned custard: eggs, cream, sugar, and vanilla. The prestige lies in the iconic burnt finish, achieved most memorably with an iron salamander, but also possible with a kitchen blowtorch or broiler.
7. Kuih Dadar
Kuih dadar (or kuih tayap) are coconut and palm sugar-stuffed crepes. Its distinctive green color and saccharine scent comes from pandan juice, a tropical plant that is added to the dough before it’s cooked into a crepe.
8. Pastelitos de Dulce
Pastelitos have been a tasty way to celebrate Argentinian independence ever since the women of Buenos Aires sold these flaky, fried pastries to anxious crowds gathered to hear news of their country’s fate on May 25th, 1810. Underneath the layers of puff pastry, you’ll get a sweet surge of sweet potato or quince filling.
9. Dragon’s Beard Candy
In China, making dragon’s beard candy is a traditional art form. The intricate process involves stretching sugar and maltose syrup into silky white threads then wrapping the long, thin strands around a peanut, sesame seed, and shredded coconut center. It’s like if cotton candy got the gourmet treatment.