What will your turkey, ham and stuffing be followed by this year?
Are you a stickler for tradition and will be delighted to see a Christmas pudding or a sherry trifle on your plate on the big day?
Or will you take a bigger view of desserts and attempt to buy or make one that comes from another part of the world?
Well, here’s a look at twelve sweet treats that are big hits in different countries that may change your mind.
1 - Argentina
The first stop in our sweet journey around the world is Latin America and, more specifically, Argentina. At a traditional Argentinean Christmas dinner you’ll most probably find turrón at dessert. Turrón, also known as nougat, is typically made of sugar, honey and egg white, with toasted almonds or other nuts. It comes in different shapes, such as a rectangular tablet or a round cake.
2 - Australia
It might be hot in Australia at Christmas time, but Australians still have a White Christmas. This is the name of their traditional Christmas dessert. It’s basically a mixture of raisins, cherries, dried coconut, icing sugar, milk powder and rice bubbles, with hydrogenated coconut oil as the ingredient that puts all the rest together. White Christmas is usually served cut into squares and because it’s very easy to make even children give it a try in the holiday season.
Belgians bake cougnou or bread of Jesus during Christmas time. This sweet bread is formed like a baby Jesus and is decorated with different elements such as flowers, circles etc. The composition includes flour, eggs, milk, yeast, raisins, sugar and is usually enjoyed with a cup of hot chocolate.
One of the most popular Brazilian desserts is pudim de leite condensado or condensed milk pudding, containing condensed milk (obviously), regular milk, eggs and caramelized sugar on top. Whether it’s Christmas or other festive occasions, Brazilians take every opportunity to serve this custard dessert.
The Yule log, a dessert shaped to resemble a miniature log or a chopped off tree branch, is a form of sweet roulade made of sponge cake. It is traditionally prepared for Christmas in other countries as well; for example, in France it’s known as bûche de Noël. The original Yule log recipe dates back in the 19th century and has developed many variations along the way. The most common combination is basic yellow sponge cake and chocolate butter cream.
In France, it is customary to serve 13 desserts at the Christmas table. Les treize desserts de Noël (French for thirteen desserts of Christmas) represent Jesus Christ and the 12 apostles and they include walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, apples, pears, green melon, black and white raisins, figs oranges and mandarins. The desserts are traditionally set out on Christmas Eve and remain on the table three days, until December 27.
Iceland’s Laufabrauð (leaf bread) consists of a round, very thin flat cake with a diameter of about 15 to 20 cm (6 to 8 inches), decorated with leaf-like, geometric patterns and fried briefly in hot fat or oil. Baking this leaf bread is an important part of the Christmas preparations in every home in Iceland.
A popular Christmas cake served by the Christian population of Hindustan in India is the allahabadi, a rum fruit cake originating and lending its name from the Northern Indian city of Allahabad. It’s made with maida flour, eggs, clarified butter, sugar, petha - a translucent soft candy from North India, marmalade, nuts, ginger and fennel as its main ingredients.
The cupola-shaped sweet bread called panettone is originally from Milan and it became an omnipresent dessert on Italians’ Christmas Eve dinner. The process of properly preparing the panettone in order to obtain its distinctive fluffy characteristics takes several days. It contains candied orange, citron, and lemon zest, as well as dried raisins. It is served in slices, vertically cut, accompanied with sweet hot beverages or a sweet wine. In some regions of Italy, it is served with crema di mascarpone or crema di zabaione.
Even though Christmas is not a national holiday in Japan - with only about 1 percent of Japan’s population being Christian - the Japanese do have a Christmas cake. The dessert is a type of sponge cake, covered with snow-white whipped cream and topped with red strawberries. The red and white in this cake reminds of the Japanese flag colors and this is probably why the cake became so popular in Japan that it even has its own emoji. The Japanese Christmas cake is a perfect example of Western traditions being adopted by the Japanese culture and given a different and fresh meaning.
Hot beverages are almost as popular as baked desserts at Christmas time. In Mexico, the drink that accompanies the festive meal is atole, which includes masa (corn flour), water, piloncillo (unrefined cane sugar), cinnamon, vanilla and optional chocolate or fruit. Atole varies in texture, ranging from a porridge to a very thin liquid consistency. Instead of masa as a main ingredient, rice, flour, or oatmeal can be used.
The most commonly eaten Christmas cookie in all of Norway is pepperkake - translated as pepper cake. It’s a ginger bread cookie spiced with black pepper and formed into a heart or other shape. Pepperkake is complemented with coffee, tea or especially gløgg, a spiced drink served warm, with or without alcohol.
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