One of the fantastic things about living in an increasingly multicultural society is the incredible range of international foods that we’re exposed to. Those with adventurous tastebuds have more and more tasty options available to them every day. But most will have at least heard of (if not devoured) Baklava and Belgian waffles, there are many more incredibile international desserts that have flown under our radar. Here’s 10 delicious desserts from around the world that made my Monday that much better, just knowing they exist.
1. Gulab Jamun – India (Recipe)
This is one of the easier desserts on this list to find in NZ, and boy is it worth finding. These little milky deep fried balls of goodness are dipped in a cardamom and rosewater syrup and melt in your mouth.
2. Mandazi – Kenya (Recipe)
If that sounds a wee bit too sweet for you, Mandazi might be more to your taste. Similar to doughnuts but with a more earthy flavour thanks ground peanuts or almonds. Incredibly simple to make, they’re often dusted with cinnamon sugar to bring out the mild sweetness.
3. N’dizi No Kastad – Zanzibar (Recipe)
Banana, vanilla and custard – what a combination. This smoothly delectable concoction also features nutmeg, ground cloves and cinnamon for an exotic flavour that brings to life what could be a mildly bland dish.
4. Tangyuan – China (Recipe)
A traditional Chinese wedding dessert, these filled rice flour balls are as diverse as they are delicious. Originally containing sugar, sesame and sweet bean paste, they’ve evolved to keep up with demand and now can include fillings like pumpkin paste or chocolate.
5. Guava Duff – Bahamas (Recipe)
After something a more fruity? This one is for you. Guavas are folded into a dough containing cloves, pepper, nutmeg and rum, then boiled. Locals in the Bahamas enjoy guava duff with switcha (a lemon, sugar and water mixture) or beer.
6. Quindim – Brazil (Recipe)
Created by African slaves in 17th century Brazil, this is a unique take on Portugal’s egg-heavy desserts. With ground coconut as a key ingredient, this treat not only tastes amazing but it also presents beautifully, with a bright yellow shiny finish.
7. Galaktoboureko – Greece (Recipe)
While we eagerly adopted the concept of filo (Greek: phyllo) pastry desserts, this classic from the home of filo seems to have gone unnoticed. Lemon, orange or rose flavoured custard is baked inside the pastry, then it’s served a sweet syrup topping.
8. Phirni – Iran (Recipe)
This dish was too good to stay in one country and expanded across the Middle East and even as far as India, where it’s traditionally eaten at Holi. It’s a milky rice flour dessert with flavours of almond, pistachio and cardamom.
9. Mole de Platanos – Guatemala (Recipe)
A festival favourite in the small South American country of Guatemala, this features fried plantain slices covered a mole (Latin American sauce) containing Mexican chocolate, chili powder, cinnamon and pumpkin seeds. The perfect treat for the adventurous!
10. Dobos Torte – Hungary (Recipe)
And finally, something that looks a little more familiar to the Western palate. Invented in the late 1800s and first tasted by the Emperor of Hungary, this five layer sponge cake features chocolate buttercream, caramel and hazelnuts.