Sugar Stories: What’s For Dessert?

Sugar Stories: What’s For Dessert?
15 desserts from around the world you cannot miss, Photo Credit: Shutterstock

What dessert looks like around the globe

Roshni Subramanian
October 08 , 2019
22 Min Read

From the bustling streets of Tokyo to the chic cafes in Paris, if there’s one thing that unites the world, it is the love for sweet treats. Nearly every country has its own dessert culture. Be it  traditional holiday desserts or fried desserts and even the strangest ones, those with a sweet tooth will agree that it’s the most gratifying part of the meal. Cakes to cookies and pastries to puddings, desserts have taken several forms around the globe. Delve into the world of sweet stuff and give your taste buds a much awaited trip around the globe. 

Jiggly Cheesecake, Japan

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A post shared by Istana Cake & bakery (@istana_cb) on Oct 6, 2019 at 7:27pm PDT

All it takes is a viral video to make an internet sensation. And we must agree. The Japanese cheesecake is worth all the hype. Light and fluffy, this dessert is a real treat for a cheesecake enthusiast. A ‘jiggly’ take on the airy and creamy American cheesecake, what sets the Japanese cheesecake apart is the bouncy texture. 

Mango Sticky Rice, Thailand

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A post shared by TasteAtlas (@thetasteatlas) on Sep 12, 2019 at 1:40am PDT

Made with glutinous rice, fresh mangoes and coconut milk, this authentic thai street food is available in many places in Bangkok. Known as khao niew ma muang in Thai, it is similar to a tropical rice pudding. The sticky rice used in this dessert is staple to many Thai dishes. One of the most popular orders at street food stalls as well as high - end restaurants, Mango Sticky Rice is a crowd favourite.

Pineapple Cake, Taiwan

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A post shared by PO Taiwan 🇹🇼 (@titipdongjes) on Jul 26, 2019 at 12:22pm PDT

A popular treat in Taiwan, these cakes are typically square or rectangular in shape and stuffed with a pineapple filling. While the debate over whether it’s a cake, cookie, biscuit or pie has been going on for eternity, we prefer the cakey version.  Available throughout the year, the filling is often mixed with nuts or salted egg yolk and each pastry is packed individually in a perfectly shaped square. 

Bastani Sonnati, Iran

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The Persians are often considered the pioneers of frozen desserts. They were the first ones to store winter snow in traditional icehouses. Credited with the invention of faloodeh, the kebab loving Iranian culture sure has a weakness for sugary treats. One such gem to come out of Iran is bastani or what is essentially a concoction of saffron, vanilla ice cream, rosewater and pistachios. The earthy flavour of the saffron and crunchiness of the nuts make it a popular dessert even outside Iran.

Baklava, Turkey

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The most popular Turkish delicacy, Baklava is on every food enthusiast’s bucket list. It consists of a decadent multi - layered phyllo pastry filled with nuts and has a buttery flavour. Just before serving, the dish is drizzled with caramelized syrup. In restaurants it is served as a dessert and in bakeries it is presented as a snack. Baklava is the finest example of Turks’ addiction to sweets.

Trifle, United Kingdom

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Rachel’s English Trifle. Does it ring a bell? The thanksgiving trifle episode has been one of the highest moments for the popular sitcom F.R.I.E.N.D.S.  And thanks to Jennifer Aniston’s much loved character ‘Rachel’ the ‘nightmarish concoction’ has found its way into our kitchens. Well, fret not. The real deal is not that bad. On the contrary, the traditional English trifle happens to be Britains’ favourite dessert. Sponge cake soaked in sherry or wine and topped with custard, fruit, jam and whipped cream. Many claim that it’s Britain’s greatest gift to the global dessert culture. 

Cardamom Buns, Sweden

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The multiple Cinnabon outlets around the world might have made cinnamon rolls a household name, but have you ever tried the Swedish cardamom buns? Though, there isn’t a world of difference between the cinnamon and cardamom variants, what makes the latter stand out from the American imitation is the absurd amount of cardamom and lack of icing. This Swedish dessert is usually served during fika or the afternoon break.

Crème Brûlée, France

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From colorful macarons to airy pastries the Parisian cafes are home to some of the most indulgent desserts in the world. One such French classic  is the crème brûlée. A custard based dessert topped with crystallized caramel, it consists of two luscious layers of vanilla with a hard top of caramel.

Apple Strudel, Germany

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The German apple strudel or what is more popularly known as the apfelstrudel is a customary holiday dessert. Made during fall and winter, this traditional pie recipe uses phyllo pastry. It has a flaky buttery crust and is stuffed with a spiced apple filling. Just before serving, top the warm pie with chilled vanilla ice cream or vanilla sauce and you’ve got yourself a quintessential German dessert.

Mandazi, Sudan

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Quite similar to doughnuts, Mandazi is a common tea time snack and street food in East Africa. It contains coconut milk and a dash of cardamom powder which sets it apart from other fried desserts of its kind. It’s usually made in a triangular shape, identical to an Indian samosa and is served with various dips. 

Butter Tart, Canada

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While the iconic poutine has made its mark as Canada’s national dish, it’s the Canadian butter tart that showcases the national obsession with buttery sugary treats. This classic dessert consists of three layers. The base is of wafer crumb with a centre filling of custard flavoured butter icing and topped with chocolate. The flaky crust, gooey filling and chewy top, all come together to satisfy your sweet cravings. 

Peach Cobbler, United States of America

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The art of bringing the best of two worlds together is something the Americans have completely mastered by now. And a live example of this perfection is the traditional peach cobbler. The goodness of fresh fruits in a pie is exactly what we need to make the summers a little bearable. A well made peach cobbler is juicy, jammy and with a crispy crust. It might not classify as a ‘pretty’ dessert like most French dishes do, but just add a scoop of vanilla ice cream and this  ‘not so fancy’ fare will be etched in your memory as one of the best culinary experiences. 

Alfajores, Argentina

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Argentina, a country where every meal is nothing less than a celebration and an excuse to indulge in something sweet, those with a sweet tooth are in for a ride. Alfajores or the Argentine equivalent of a cookie is a popular treat here. It consists of two cornstarch biscuits put together using the dulce de leche or caramel. Coated with chocolate, meringue and powdered sugar, as per your preference, these biscuits can be eaten throughout the day, typically as dessert after lunch or dinner or even as breakfast. 

Brigadiero, Brazil

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Brigadiero is a Brazilian take on bite-sized fudgy chocolate truffle. One of the most hassle-free desserts,birthday parties in Brazil are considered quite incomplete without brigadieros.  A classic party food, the popularity of this dessert has reached a global audience. While traditionally considered a treat for kids, even adults can’t resist these candies.

Pavlova, Australia

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A post shared by Ê™á´Â€á´Â‹á´Â‡Ê€'êÂÂÂœ±ðŸ”¸ÊÂÂÂœá´Â‡ɴɴá´Â€ á´Â€Ê€á´Â›ɪêÂÂÂœ±á´Â›ðŸ”¸á´Âá´Â‡ÊŸá´Â€á´Â‹á´Â€ (@sukamakan_sweetdesserts) on Oct 7, 2019 at 3:55am PDT

Who would have thought that a dessert could be a source of dispute. Well, the origins of pavlova have been the subject of a long standing debate between the kangaroos and kiwis. There is also a contrasting theory that says that the dish is named after Russian ballerina, Anna Pavlova. The theories are numerous and there seems to be no end to it. Essentially, pavlova is an airy dessert made from crisp meringue shell topped with fresh fruits. This 200 year old holiday dessert will surely make you forget all your diet plans. 


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