Favorite dessert by nationality?
- ipsedixit Jun 13, 2014 08:21 PM
American - Frozen custard
Italian - Pistachio gelato
French - Ecclair
Chinese - Egg tart
Indian - Kulfi
Spanish - Churros
Mexican - Paleta
Polish - Krówki
Indonesian - Martabak Manis
Japanese - Monaka
Frozen custard? There's nothing as American as apple pie...
I'm not a big dessert person, but I'll always go for cannoli if they're on the menu. Whether they're Italian or Italian-American I can't say.
For French, tarte tartine (at least northern France). I think of churros as more Mexican than Spanish, but that's me (I'll go for flan in either case).
I don't really know what Chinese cuisine (a very varied thing of itself) does for desserts, but if I had to pick a sweet it would be the black bean/sesame seed balls.
English cuisine has some good desserts - sticky pudding and trifle come to mind.
Cannoli are definitely Italian. If you have a chance, visit Naples. You'll recognize a lot of the desserts there, but they'll be spectacular and blow you away. During my first visit there, in 1991, I walked down Via Toledo (officially Via Roma) one night and had fantastic baba au rhum, cannoli, and various other things. It was a great night.
Slovenia - Gibanica and Kremeschnitte
Germany - Schwartzwalderkirschtorte
Italy - Stracciatelle gelato
Austria - Sachertorte
Denmark - Weinerbrod
Norway - Krumkaka
France - Palmier
American - deep dish apple crisp
Italian - tiramisu or lemon ricotta cheesecake
French - *any* pâte à choux pastry
Chinese - candied walnuts with vanilla ice cream
and/or red bean donuts
Indian - carrot halwah
Portuguese - pastel de nata
Mexican - flan
Dominican - morir soñando
Polish - paczki
Japanese - chilled sake
Greek - galaktoboureko
re: Cheese Boy
Yeah, carrot halwah can be fantastic. Oddly enough, though I've been to India and ate marvelously there, the best carrot halwah I've ever eaten is still the first I ever had, at an Indian restaurant in Tokyo that was associated with the Indian Embassy there. We actually disgusted the waitstaff and manager by pigging out so much there, everything was so outstanding!
Do you mean your favorite dessert from each country or what you think is the national favorite dessert? I'm assuming it's the former.
American: Apple pie with vanilla ice cream
English: Gooseberry fool
French: Tarte tatin
Austrian: Germknoedel (plum dumpling served in a butter sauce with poppy seeds)
Chinese: Egg tarts
Not really, mc.
There are cakes - like carrot cake, fruit cake, Victoria sponge, Battenburg, bara brith - which you'd only eat as a snack with a coffee or tea. You'd never seem them as dessert.
On the other hand, chocolate brownies often appear on dessert menus. I suspect that's an import, if you like, from Brits having visited America. From time to time, you do see cakey type desserts - generally also involving chocolate.
By way of example, we had a pub lunch yesterday - the dessert menu comprised - sticky toffee pudding, chocolate parfait, cheesecake, creme brulee, bread & butter pudding, Vimto trifle, cheese, ice cream and sorbet. We actually passed on dessert but I am so going back for Vimto trifle.
In the past, you might have seen cake served as dessert in what used to be called "high tea". High tea was an early evening family meal (usually working class family)where there would be a basic hot main course, followed by cake or, perhaps, pie.
American -Chocolate chip cookies
Japanese - Ice cream Takiyaki
Indian - Gulab Juman
Vietnamese - Pandan sticky rice
French- Créme Brûlée
British - Treacle tart
Canadian - Nanaimo bars. Actually, I'm going to make some this week...
Sri Lankan - muscat
Indian - Jellabie (although gulab jamun is a close second)
re: Kris in Beijing
The thiackry at Chez Aunty Libe in DC is (I think) creme fraiche - or maybe fromage blanc, millet, vanilla sugar, and orange blossom water. The grain is cooked beforehand. This is an assembled dish as opposed to a pudding. I am not familiar enough with ashure to say.
Could be there are as many versions as there are chefs. At Chez Aunty Libe this needs to be ordered in advance as she doesn't get much call for desserts.
American- . carrot cake with cream cheese
Chinese-... moon cakes
Japanese-. Mochi ice cream
Scot -........ Selkirk Bannock
Turkish-.... Noah's Pudding [EDIT: Aşure]
It should be said that TRULY HORRIBLY BAD iterations of most of those are fairly accessible, but the great ones are few and far between.
Oh I just meant that ~personally~ I don't include dessert items with my own meals.
Dessert is a stand-alone (family tradition is called "Night Snack") because it is best enjoyed without the pressures of being the perfect end to a perfect meal. I'll just take another serving of the starchy side, thank you, if I'm not full near the end.
Some green bean or corn ice cream Popsicles would be a wonderful Night Snack right now.
re: Kris in Beijing
Aşure is truly wonderful,
There is also a very different Malay version that was pronounced "sura" with typical abbreviation and elision from Terengganu and Kelantan Malays when I was living in Terengganu in the 70s. They made it in huge cauldrons and distributed it throughout the village, where it was eaten more as a snack than a dessert after a meal. It was sweet but also contained savory items like chicken, all mixed into a thick, gray substance that was one of the most delicious and complex things I've ever had.
There are recipes online, and it turns out, there are different Malay versions from the different Malaysian states. An enterprising person, especially one who can read Malay and is comfortable with metric measures, should try making them.
Portugal - pastel de nata/Belem
I'm not big on desserts, but man, these littl things are one of the simplest yet most delicious things I've ever had the pleasure of tasting.
'Merican: Peanut butter pie with whipped cream on top
Indian: Pistachio Kulfi
H- I think you're right that they're more of breakfast item.One of my favourite Spanish places in London -Salt Yard- has them a dessert. Also I seem to have developed the habit of a two course breakfast,something savoury followed by something sweet so I'd claim churros as a dessert in that case.
American - harder to pin down; how to choose between Bananas Foster, Peach Melba, Lemon Meringue Pie (and its second cousin, Key Lime Pie), and Devil's Food Cake? How?
Austrian: Apple Strudel
British: Banoffee Pie
German: Black Forest Cake or Pfeffernüsse
Italian - a variation on Sfogliatelle called Lobster Tail (shaped accordingly
and filled with "French cream" rather a ricotta cream.)
French - Tarte Tatin or Chocolate Mousse
Portuguese - Pastéis de Nata
Spanish - Flan
Well you can move Peach Melba to England, France or better yet, Australia, that should help winnow your America category ;)
Not nitpicking, but I had it in my head as Australian, so I had to look. From Wikipedia:
"The dish was invented in 1892 or 1893 by the French chef Auguste Escoffier at the Savoy Hotel, London, to honour the Australian soprano, Nellie Melba."
I'll concede the Swiss origin, but the pie has such a long history in the US and is so wildly popular on these shores, that I'll say it's a naturalized pie citizen. :D
And nothing better for dessert after a seafood meal, IMO, unless you happen to be in those parts of Florida where truly great Key Lime Pies can be found.
American -- strawberry shortcake (the cake kind) or chocolate cake
French -- pot de creme
Italian -- ricotta cheesecake
Romanian -- papanasi
Portuguese -- pastel de nata
Lebanese/Egyptian/Turkish/Palestinian, and others -- kanafeh
English -- sticky toffy date pudding
Korean/Chinese -- sool dduk
Indian -- ras malai
Austrian/Hungarian -- apple strudel
Filipino -- leche flan
Trinidadian/Jamaican -- black cake
Japanese -- castella
Indonesian/Malaysian -- pulut hitam
re: Miss Needle
My favorite retes (Hungarian strudel) is meggyes retes (sour cherry strudel). Makos retes (poppy strudel) is second, apple is third (and I don't remember the Hungarian word for apple offhand because I ordered the others more often while I was in Hungary).
Pulut hitam is very soothing.
I love knafeh (various transliterations).
Pot de creme is wonderful, but so are so many French desserts. France is really has one of the best bunch of desserts in the world.
Palestinian - Om Ali (this is also North African from Egypt to Morocco). A pastry soaked in pudding . Two desserts for the price of one!
Why not count the egg tarts as Portuguese so that you can add another for China?
As for murtabak, even though it's not originally from Indonesia, it's good both in savory and sweet forms. I am rarely able to finish it all, which is in stark contrast to the usual fate of my meals.
(I'm only being pedantic because I'm curious as to which other Indonesian desserts you've tried).
American: fudge. May not be dessert to some, but it was in my family.
India: ras malai. Rasgullas, with gilding
Greek: baklava. A Greek friend's grandmother made the most exquisite one I ever had, but she died without passing along her secrets.
French: creme brulee. First time I ate it, I actually swooned.
Japanese: a red bean paste candy, made by an exchange student--wish the heck I knew the name of it.
US: NY cheesecake
Mexico: pastel de tres leches
El Salvador: flan de leche
France: chocolate mousse
England: rhubarb tart with almond crumble top
Egypt: kunafah with 'ishta
Levant region: baqlawa and asaabi zainab (that's a handful of countries, so I'm naming two :)
Gulf Arab countries: lugeimaat
Kenya-Tanzania kaimati (^same thing as this above)
Pakistan: gulab jamun
Bangladesh: roshomalai (^interchangeable)
Thailand: sticky rice w/ coconut milk with fresh mango
Vietnam: banh cam
China: dunno what it is called in Chinese languages but it is banh bao chi in Vietnamese, both this and banh cam are from either country
American - pecan pie, hazelnut or raspberry cheesecake (I remember both kinds of cheesecake from Miss Grimbles, formerly a store in Manhattan)
Italian - Panforte
French - for something non-restaurant, tarte rhubarbe. Or as a whole category: Pates de fruits.
Chinese - fresh lychees are better than anything else
Indian - pista burfi, but there is lots of good stuff
Spanish - flan
Malaysian - sago gula Melaka
Thai - pumpkin custard
Japanese - green tea cream puffs with azuki beans (I got great ones in the basement of a department store in Ginza last time I was in Japan). Mont blanc is also great.
Levantine - baklava (for Greece, too, though galaktoboureko is soothing and nice), mamoul (with date paste)
German - Kaiserschmarrn
Hungary: Gundel palacinta, gestenygolyu, gestenypure
And now I start to go blank on countries - these are all countries I've been to. I suppose I could say maple candy for Canada, but you can get equally good maple candy in Vermont.
I frankly don't remember desserts much from my visits to Indonesia. I remember great savory food more. Murtabak is also a Malaysian dessert - of Indian origin, I believe. I love bubur, but I still think of it as breakfast food from my time in Malaysia in the 70s. If I could use a time machine, my favorite Malaysian dessert would be the kueh bakar I had during recess in my elementary school canteen, but I found nothing much like it on my last trip to Malaysia, because it requires a wood-burning stove.
American: Red velvet cake
Tex-Mex: Fried ice cream
Canadian: Butter tarts
Mexican: Tres leches cake
Brazilian: Papaya mousse
Puerto Rican: Tembleque
English: Sticky toffee pudding
Filipino: Ube halaya/ice cream
Japanese: Mochi ice cream
Chinese: Lao po bing
Indian: Motichoor laddoo
My Armenian grandmother used to make homemade Baklava, but to serve with coffee on special occasions, a neighbor lady down the street would make Roejig. If you were on good terms with her, she'd gift a couple of long strands of it to neighbors whenever she made a batch (although she used purple grape juice, not white as in the recipe linked below).
Oh man, I can still remember the taste from decades ago.
American: strawberry shortcake - the biscuit kind, and chocolate chip cookies.
I think these both make use of salty and sweet, and are homemade "simple" desserts yet actually somewhat complex in flavour, rich and satisfying. So for me they epitomize American-style dessert, which we also love in Canada :)
Side note: I've often thought of doing a thread of North American vs. European style baking. I used to idealize French patisserie so much but I've come to really appreciate North American-style home baking.
A lot of countries don't eat desserts as much as we do---they are more likely to end their meal with fruit, and save the pastries and sweets for a snack with coffee or tea at some other time. And churros are usually eaten for breakfast, with coffee or chocolate, and not as dessert after a meal.
American - Banana pudding
Italian - Tiramisu
French - Chocolate gateau
Indian - Gulab jamun
German - Black Forest cake
Spanish - Flan
Mexican - Mexican hot chocolate
Polish - Walnut cake
Thai - No idea what the name is, but it was some sort of smooth, gelatinous rice-based (?) custard, with heavy coconut flavoring, wrapped in a banana leaf. I ate myself sick on those at a Thai neighbor's Chinese New Year party around age 12 and have never seen it since. I also love mango sticky rice.
Peru - LUCUMA anything. Mousse, ice cream, anything. We just discovered this incredible fruit and its caramel-like flavor a few months ago. It is similar to eggfruit and is being grown in California but it hasn't shown up in markets in the DC area. It can be purchased in a powdered from so I am going to buy some and experiment with it.
I've been to both countries (Chile twice) and I've never had lucuma in Chile. Never saw it on a menu. The fruit itself grows in the Andean valleys of Peru but it could have been planted in Chile. And of course, people move between countries so foodstuffs from one country end up in another. Though we have a large Spanish-speaking population here, I haven't been able to find the fresh fruit in any of the markets, probably because they are the tiendas and mercados operated mostly by and for people from Central America. But I keep looking!
I don't know what country - as I've had this in numerous Central American countries - tamales de elote. It is a sweet corn pudding type of filling and served with a sour cream type of topping. LOVE IT!
I love the American, New England, "Yankee" desserts: Grapenuts pudding and Indian pudding. Really hard to find in restaurants near me, so I've been making my own.
Another favorite from Peru: Suspiro de limeña -- how can you not love a caramel-like pudding with the name "Sigh of a woman?!" :)
American: peach cobbler
French: Iles flottantes/clafoutis