European Desserts

“In America, there’s a failure to appreciate Europe’s leading role in the world.” 

Barack Obama, Former US President 

Desserts are the fairy tales of the kitchen, a happily-ever-after to supper. Even the word ‘dessert’ implies it: it stems from the French word ‘des-servir‘ which means ‘clear the table’ – in other words: the last food item served before a meal is ended. So if you get only one chance per meal to get your sweet treat, choose it carefully! Would you go for the creamy Swedish Semla? The mouthwatering Belgian Waffles? The cheesy Romanian Papanași? Or the salty Spanish Churros? Maybe you’ll be more interesting in healthy Cypriot Pasteli? Yummy Norwegian wafer cookies? Or the fatty but iconic Turkish Baklava? No matter what you opt for to satisfy your sweet tooth, we ensure you that once you dive into the rich diversity of European desserts, you’ll never come back!

Portugal

Pastel de Nata

The Pastel de Nata is the symbol of Portugal – Nata, for those who wonder, means ‘cream’ in Portuguese. This unlikely dessert is a kind of cupcake with puff pastry layers and cream inside. There’s something addictive about the combo of blistered, caramelized custard and flaky golden brown puff pastry. Keep an eye on it: this iconic pastry is on its way to becoming as ubiquitous as the croissant.

Pão de ló – sponge cake made with eggs, flour and sugar.

Queijada – a cheese cake with cream cheese, eggs, milk and sugar.

Pudim de ovos – egg-based pudding.

Aletria – a cake made with vermicelli pasta, milk, sugar, yolks of eggs, cinnamon and chips of lemon or orange.

Rabanadas – slices of a loaf of bread that are soaked in either milk, wine or sugar syrup, then also in eggs, then fried with sunflower oil.

Natas do céua kind of an egg “jam” with a mixture of cream, white eggs, sugar.

Spain

Churros

Most people can think of a handful of Spanish desserts off the top of their head. And in that list, you’ll usually find churros! Churros are Spain’s version of fried dough. These yummy sticks are simple to make: basic versions include little more than flour, water, and salt. Churros are amazing when dipped in rich and creamy Spanish hot chocolate or sprinkled with sugar.

Turrón – almond nougat with crisped rice cereal and two kinds of chocolate.

Mantecados – crumbly anise-scented drop cookies.

Flan – a velvety vanilla egg custard flan, topped with a sweet and sticky caramel sauce.

Crema Catalana the Spanish version of the creamy and delicate crème brulée of French fame.

Bunuelos de Viento  round fritters dusted with powdered sugar or filled with pastry cream, egg custard, or marmalade.

Pantxineta – pastry cream between puff pastry sheets and cover in chopped almonds, hazelnuts and powdered sugar.

Frixuelos de Asturias – Asturian crepes traditionally get filled with apple compote then served with custard and whipped cream.

France

Éclair

Éclairs are one of the most delectable French pastries you can treat yourself to, but it’s a hard dessert to find if you don’t have a good French bakery in your area. Eclairs are based on pâte à choux filled with pastry cream that is typically flavoured with chocolate or coffee. And for the little story, its name comes from the French éclair, meaning “flash of lightning”, so named because it is eaten quickly (in a flash)!

Crème brûlée – custard based dessert topped with a layer of crunchy caramel.

Profiteroles – balls of flakey pastry typically filled with a sweet whipped cream, custard, or ice cream.

Macarons – jam, butter cream, or ganache sandwiched between two meringue-based cookies.

Tarte Tatin an upside down fruit pastry traditionally made with caramelized apples and puff pastry.

Mille-feuille a layered puff pastry filled with pastry cream (it means ‘thousand-leaf’ in French).

Madeleines small sponge cakes sometimes flavored with lemon zest.

Paris-Brest-Paris praline flavored cream sitting between two pieces of choux pastry.

Clafoutis a flan-like dessert cake usually made with black cherries.

Kouign-amann a sweet, crispy cake made of bread dough, sugar, and lots of butter.

Canelés petite pastries flavored with vanilla and rum and with a soft custard center and a caramelized crust.

Mont Blanc a towering mountain (hence the name) of puréed, sweetened chestnuts usually topped with whipped cream or powdered sugar.

Meringues lightweight desserts made of only whipped egg whites and sugar, and often flavored with almond, vanilla, or lemon.

Kouglof bundt cake sometimes marbled with chocolat, but almost always featuring raisins, almonds, and Kirschwasser cherry brandy.

Iceland

Vínarterta

Vínarterta: what is it? It is a very flavourful, seven-layered Icelandic cake of buttery shortbread with a cardamom and dried prune filling. It is a typical treat for Christmas, weddings and other major celebrations and can be baked a few weeks before an occasion.  Vínarterta has its origins in Vienna (the name is Icelandic for “Viennese torte”). In the late 1700s, layered cakes made with almond flour and dried fruit were highly popular in Austria.

Kleina – slightly sweetened fried dough rolls cut into special trapezoidal shapes.

Hjónabandsæla – a bakery treat with a buttery pastry and a blueberry paste, ticker than jam.

Aðalbláber og Rjómi – bluberries with a sprinkling of sugar, and cream only.

Skyr – the distinctive Icelandic yoghurt.

Ireland

Porter Cake

Porter Cake is not very well known outside of Ireland but it is a recipe that uses something that Ireland is well known for exporting globally – its Guinness! This is a rich, dark fruit-cake which keeps very well. The original recipe used porter, a weaker variety of stout, which used to be a very popular working man’s pint. However, as porter died out with the advent of bitter and is no longer produced, stout makes an admirable substitute.

Barmbrack – sweet bread made with sultanas, raisins and glacé cherries.

Carrageen moss pudding – a pudding made using Chondrus crispus, a species of red seaweed.

Irish apple tart – an apple tart baked in a shallow dish; giving it a perfectly balanced ratio of crisp, sweet pastry and stewed apples.

Whiskey truffles – a truffle made using local Whiskey.

United Kingdom

Apple Crumble

Puddings and desserts are the backbones of British food and they are renowned throughout the world and there is no more a quintessential pudding than a traditional British Apple Crumble. Down the centuries, this stewed fruit cake topped with a crumbly mixture of fat, flour, and sugar has kept tummies filled, and hearts warmed. They became popular during World War II, when the topping was an economical alternative to pies due to shortages of pastry ingredients.

Scones – a baked cookie, usually made of wheat, or oatmeal with baking powder.

Eton Mess – a strawberry meringue

Jam Roly-Poly – a rolled pudding with layers of fruity jam.

Knickerbocker Glory – a layered ice cream sundae served in a tall glass.

Banoffee Pie – bananas and toffee.

Treacle Tart – a syrup tart

Spotted Dick – a pudding, traditionally made with suet and dried fruit and often served with custard.

Norway

Krumkake

Krumkake are traditional Norwegian wafer cookies. The batter is made with a combination of eggs, sugar, vanilla, flour, baking powder, cardamom, and butter. Descendent from the Italian pizzelle, the batter is cooked on a special griddle that imprints the wafers with a visually attractive design. One bite of these Norwegian krumkake cookies and there’s no way you’ll go back…

Kransekaka – a cake in concentric rings layered to form a tower, with ground almonds.

Skolebrød yeasty dough formed into buns, filled with smooth, creamy vanilla pudding.

Fattigman sweet diamond-shaped cookies with superfine sugar, heavy cream, and optional cognac or brandy.

Berlinerkranser cookies using hard-boiled egg yolks for its batte

Sweden

Semla

This cream-filled bun is a familiar sight in Swedish bakeries. The roll in Semla is flavoured with cardomom and the cream filling is comprised of almond paste and whipped cream. Traditionally eaten on Shrove Tuesday, Semla is now eaten pretty much at any time. Customs suggest that the top should be eaten first. But, the oldest Swedish tradition is to serve the entire bun soaked in a plate of warm milk, when it’s known as hetvägg.

Prinsesstarta – layers of cream, sponge cake and jam topped with green marzipan.

Knäck a toffee prepared with caramelized sugar and butter or heavy cream.

Klenät rhomb-shaped, crispy deep-fried pastry.

Ostkaka a cheesecake prepared with rennet that converts milk into cheese, combined with flour, eggs, sugar, cream, and almonds.

Kladdkaka  a dense and gooey chocolate cake.

Våfflor waffles traditionally shaped into hearts and served with fruit jams, whipped cream, and ice cream.

Finland

Runebergintorttu

These cylinder-shaped rum cakes topped and filled with raspberry jam are named after Finland’s national poet, Johan Runeberg, who was said to eat them for breakfast every day. There is even a legend that they were invented by his wife. This flavor-packed national treat is usually enjoyed throughout January leading up to Runeberg’s birthday, celebrated on the 5th of February.

Mämmi – a pudding prepared with a combination of rye flour, rye malt, and water.

Munkki deep-fried doughnuts made with buttery, leavened dough.

Karjalanpiirakat  oval-shaped pastries filled with rice porridge, potato or carrot.

Vispipuuro a creamy semolina porridge prepared with fresh fruit such as tart lingonberries, cranberries, or red currants.

Laskiaispulla sweet pastry prepared with yeasted, cardamom-spiced dough shaped into buns.

Denmark

Æbleskiver

They literally mean “apple slices” – but it is a total misnomer as these sweet popovers don’t often involve apples. They do, however, involve a generous amount of sweet jam and powdered sugar and mostly incorporate ingredients such as vanilla, citrus zest, or cardamom. Traditionally associated with Christmastime, these sweet treats are usually served dusted with powdered sugar or complemented with various fruit preserves.

Rødgrød strawberry rhubarb pudding.

Lagkage a type of round layered cake consisting of at least three layers of sponge intertwined with pastry creams, fresh fruit, or fruit preserves.

Risalamande – cherry-pie filling, rice pudding, almonds, and whipped cream.

Jodekager cookies made with butter, flour, sugar, and eggs.

Kammerjunker popular double-baked cookies.

Kagemand a sweet treat shaped to resemble a man or a woman.

Netherlands

Tompouce

Its name sounds like a fairytale, but its taste goes beyond magic! These delicious, sandwich shaped pastries are quite similar to mille-feuille, but are stuffed with considerably more custard than their French counterparts. During King’s Day in the Netherlands, Tompouce are often topped with orange, rather than traditional pink icing to honour the nation’s royal family; the House of Orange-Nassau.

Bosche bol – a kind of chocolate profiteroles.

Space cake – a cannabis-infused edible

Speculaas – a type of spiced shortcrust biscuit.

Stroopwafel cookie-like waffles glued together with hot sugar syrup.

Spekkoek – multi-layered cake with many spices.

Vlaai a traditional pie from Limburg that can be stuffed with many different types of filling, including apricots, plums or cherries

Belgium

Gaufre

Waffles are the pièce de résistance of Belgian sweets and don’t need much introduction. What is less known is the variety of waffles found in Belgium, where one might even say ‘the Belgian waffle’ doesn’t exist. Instead, there are regional varieties and the two most popular are the gaufres de Liège, also known as gaufres de chasse or hunting waffles, and the Brussels waffle.

Liers vlaaike – sweet and spicy, tart-shaped filled pastry.

Mattentaarten – small, round sweet puff pastry cakes with a light, airy filling of mattenbrij or curd cheese.

Dame Blanche – hot fudge sundae.

Stofé – sweet cheesecake.

Couque de Dinant – hard-as-rock sweet biscuit made with wheat flour and honey.

Craquelin – brioche filled with nib sugar.

Germany

Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte

Probably the most popular German cake, the Black Forest Cake is a must-try in Germany – especially if you like boozy cakes. It consists of several layers of chocolate sponge cake sandwiched with whipped cream and cherries. The cake appeared in written recipes for the first time in the mid-1930s, growing quickly in popularity to end up in 13th place on a list of favorite German cakes as from 1949.

Käsekuchen – cheesecake made with quark instead of cream cheese.

Dampfnudeln mit Vanillesauce – a steamed yeast dumpling smothered in vanilla sauce.

Zwetchenkuchen – plum cake.

Berliner – pillowy, soft doughnuts filled with fruit jam.

Bienenstich – Vanilla custard or buttercream sandwiched between sweet yeast dough.

Lebkuchen – gingerbread often in the shape of a heart

Apfelstrudel – a flaky crust, a warm apple filling, and powdered sugar.

Kaiserschmarrn – caramelized, shredded pancake served hot with powdered sugar and fruit compote.

Vanillekipferl – vanilla crescent cookies.

Baumkuchen – thin layers of dough covered in chocolate.

Austria

Apfelstrudel

The simple and unpretentious Apfelstrudel is probably the best-known Viennese pastry. The buttery, cinnamon-y apple-raisin filling, folded between layers of whisper-thin pastry dough, might just become your new favorite comfort food. If you’re not a fan of apples, you can also get strudel with curd cheese or milk-cream, as well as sour cherries, nuts, poppy seed, and other fillings.

Gugelhupf – marbled or poppyseed sponge cake.

Kaiserschmarren – a pull-apart pancake with caramelized sugar and rum raisins.

Linzer Torte – shortcake topped with fruit preserves and sliced nuts with a lattice design on top.

Mozartkugeln – almost golf-ball-sized chocolate pralines with nougat and marzipan filling.

Kiachl – fried dough pastry.

Salzburger Nockerl – a sweet soufflé.

Switzerland

Meringue

It has been claimed that meringue was invented in the Swiss village of Meiringen and improved by an Italian chef named Gasparini between the end of the 17th century and the beginning of the 18th century. But the story is contested. In any case, Swiss meringue is a yummy buttercream made from cooked egg whites and sugar, butter, and flavorings like vanilla and salt.

Wähe – a sweet quiche with fruit.

Brönnti Creme – a very caramel like pudding.

Nusstorte – a cake with a nice nut-caramel like filling.

Zuger Kirschtorte – a cake with cherry liquor from the canton of Zug.

Cremeschnitten – a millefeuille pastry filled with vanilla cream and topped with sugar glaze.

Biberli – Gingerbread filled with marzipan.

Italy

Tiramisù

Probably the most famous of all Italian desserts, Tiramisù is a powerful layering of coffee-soaked savoiardi (sponge finger biscuits) and a rich cream made with mascarpone cheese, eggs and sugar, sometimes spiced up with a drop of liqueur. According to some, it was first found on the menu of a restaurant in Treviso in 1971, even though the habit to serve it as a ‘tonic’ to the customers of local brothels would have dated back to the 1930s.

Panna Cotta – sweetened cream thickened with gelatin and molded.

Babà – a small yeast cake saturated in syrup made with hard liquor, usually rum.

Tartufo di Pizzo – an Italian ice cream dessert composed of two or more flavors of ice cream, often with either fruit syrup or frozen fruit.

Bônet – custard-like dessert with eggs, sugar, milk, cocoa, spirit, amaretto biscuits and sometimes hazelnuts.

Cassata Siciliana – a sponge cake made of Italian ricotta cheese,  candied peel, filling of chocolate or vanilla.

Sfogliatelle – a crisp, multi-layered and crinkled shell of thin puff pastry filled with a luscious mix of ricotta cheese, semolina, sugar, eggs and candied citrus.

Pasticciotto leccese – a crumbly oval crust made of crema pasticciera and sometimes preserved sour cherries.

Torta Barozzi – a black cake made of almonds, peanuts, coffee and dark chocolate.

Malta

Qaghaq ta ghazel

Although the literal translation for these ring-shaped desserts is ‘honey rings’, there’s actually no honey hiding in the filling or pastry, but rather treacle. This delicacy was made in Christmas back then. But now you’ll find them available in supermarkets or any local confectionary. Qaghaq ta ghazel is best tried with a hot cup of tea as an afternoon snack.

Kannoli Tal-Irkotta – a thick pastry shell filled with sweet ricotta.

Imqaret – deep-fried sweet pastry date-filled cake.

Torta Tal-Lewz – an almond cake.

Konnalli – crunchy cubes filled with ricotta, dark chocolate, nuts, and a mix of fruits.

Prinjolata – a round cake coated with cream, melted chocolate, and cherries.

Torta tal-Marmurat – almond and chocolate pie.

Czechia

Trdelník

Try the Trdelník it’s delicious! This sweet cake consists of a piece of leavened dough that is rolled by hand into a thin snake shape. The dough is then twisted around a metallic roller and dipped in a mix of sugar, vanilla, nuts and cinnamon. The dough itself isn’t actually all that sweet, but the outside has a really lovely, caramelized richness and aromas of burnt sugar. It is said to be perfect with mulled wine

Makový koláček – a brioche-like yeasted dough. 

Medovnik – a Honey cake baked in circles.

Marlenka – a Honey cake baked in rectangles.

Valašský frgál – a traditionally made, round-shaped sweet cake with toppings.

Mazanec – a sweet Easter bread prepared with a brioche-like dough and enriched with raisins, lemon zest, and rum.

Lívance – traditional Czech pancakes.

Kolace – pastries consisting of a round piece of leavened dough topped with some sweet filling.

Bublanina – a light sponge cake prepared with eggs, butter, sugar, flour, and a variety of different fruits.

Ovocné knedlíky – sweet, fruit-filled Czech dumplings.

Slovakia

Šúlance

What is the difference between the Slovak Šúlance and the Italian gnocchi? Nothing! Both are made the same way and with the same ingredients – but to be fair: there is a slight difference in the way you eat them. The Italian gnocchi come with pesto, tomato sauce, and cheese while the Slovak Šúlance are usually served as desserts with ground poppy seeds and powdered sugar, or walnuts or a roasted breadcrumbs with caster sugar.

Medvedie labky –  traditional cookies consisting of flour, butter, eggs and walnuts.

Lokše – a soft potato dough which rolled into flat circular shapes and dry-baked until crispy and golden.

Laskonky – cookies consisting of two crispy meringues combined with various buttercream fillings.

Veterník a pastry made of choux pastry with vanilla and caramel cream filling.

Krémeš – vanilla pudding and fresh cream sandwiched together between two layers of puff pastry with some chocolate icing.

Poland

Pączek

These deep fried pieces of dough filled with jam and covered with powdered sugar and dried orange pieces are famous in Poland since Middle Ages. It is actually so famous that it even has its own national day – Pączek Day which takes place the day before Ash Wednesday. Those who would be fasting during Lent needed to empty the pantry; this Polish pastry was an ideal way to use up what was in the larder!

Szarlotka – shortcrust pastry and apple filling mixed with cinnamon and cardamom.

Makowiec – a cake filled with poppy seed mass full of walnuts, almonds, raisins, honey, dried fruits and big amount of dried orange.

Pierniki – cookies in chocolate or in sugar coat made from gingerbread pastry.

Ptasie mleczko – soft chocolate-covered candy filled with soft meringue.

Ciasta drożdżowe – a tall, airy unkneaded yeast cake baked in a Bundt pan.

Ciepłe lody – waffle infilled and topped with mousse.

Kremówka a cream pie made of two layers of puff pastry, filled with whipped cream.

Lithuania

Tinginys

This simple, no-bake dessert, translated as the lazy man is regarded as an authentic Lithuanian delicacy. It is prepared with a blend of crumbled cookies, cocoa, condensed milk, butter, and sugar, shaped into the desired form, and left to set. According to a widely accepted anecdote, Tinginys was created by accident, but immediately became the nation’s favorite. 

Šakotis – tree cake prepared with a thick batter which is repeatedly poured over a rotating horizontal spit.

Kibinai – traditional pastries filled with mutton and onion.

Skruzdėlynas – dessert consisting of deep-fried pieces of dough.

Latvia

Medus Kūka

The honey cake is one of the most popular desserts in Latvia. It is a multi-layered cake with a creamy filling made from sour-cream between the layers. It is a sweet and delicious treat that goes very well served with an afternoon tea. The cake tastes even better after it’s kept overnight in the refrigerator, the flavors will blend together nicely.

Kliņģeris – a traditional birthday cake shaped into a large pretzel.

Rupjmaizes kārtojums – a traditional dessert consisting of dark rye bread, whipped cream or cream cheese, and cranberry jam.

Debessmanna – a cream made with berries, farina of wheat, water, and sugar.

Estonia

Kringel

Estonian Kringel is a delicious variety of sweet bread. It comes in the shape of a rounded braid, and it is rich in butter and cinnamon. Crusty in the top but soft and buttery in the interior, it can be a perfect breakfast choice or a part of the menu during Christmas celebrations. The filling of the dough can be changed to cocoa powder, walnuts or almonds, as long as it still contains large amounts of butter.

Vastlakukkel – a traditional sweet roll.

Roosamannavaht – an attractive pink pudding made from cranberry or black currant juice boiled with farina or semolina.

Kohupiimakreem – a cream made of milky curd cheese and mixed with sugar and vanilla.

Belarus

сырнікі (Syrniki)

Syrniki are fritters made from a farmer’s cheese called tvorog mixed with flour, eggs and sugar, sometimes adding vanilla extract. It’s very similar to cottage cheese and ricotta, but is drier and has a tangy taste. They are traditionally sweet and served for breakfast or dessert, but can be made savory as well.Raisins, chopped dried apricot, fresh apples or pears are sometimes added into the batter.

Solodukha – a cake with malt dough.

Varenye – a popular whole-fruit preserve.

Vatrushka – a ring of dough with quark in the middle, sometimes with the addition of raisins or bits of fruit.

Ukraine

Varenyky

This crescent shape dessert is prepared with dough filled with some sweet stuffing –  cherries, apples, plums you name it. Varenyky have two ways of cooking: they may be boiled in a saucepan with hot water or fried in a frying pan. Varenyky are served with either sour cream or the juice. Sweet Varenyky are obviously kids’ favorite dish!

Pampushky – donuts filled with jam or poppy.

Nalysnyky – big thin pancakes fried in a frying pan.

Paska – a tall cake with raisins inside and sugar glazing.

Sochnyky – similar to varenyky, but baked in an oven.

Kyiv Cake – a cake consisting of different layers, which include flour, crunchy hazelnut meringue.

Medovyk – a honey cake.

Romania – Moldova

Papanași

If you’ll ask any Romanian about what popular desserts you should try, most certainly the first answer that you’ll get will be papanași! They are a kind of doughnut-shaped sweets made of cow’s soft cheese similar to ricotta or cottage cheese, flour, eggs, sugar, topped with delicious blueberry or sour cherry preserve and a good spoonful of sour cream! When in Romania or Moldova, you just can’t miss this mouth-watering dessert.

Vargabéles – baked-noodle pudding with sweet cheese.

Brânzoaică – pastry with sweet-cheese filling.

Plăcintă cu mere – a sweet apple pie with several layers of sweet dough flavored with vanilla sugar.

Pască – a traditional Easter dessert of sweet bread with a cheese and raisins filling.

Mucenici – a cake either baked as sweet bread topped with walnuts, or boiled and prepared with a syrup containing ground walnuts.

Frigănele – a piece of bread dipped in beaten egg mixed with milk, then fried, and served with marmalade.

Gogoși – a donut prepared with a dough mixture flavored with vanilla extract and grated lemon or orange peel.

Hungary

Zserbó

This famous layered pastry with walnut, apricot jam filling, covered with a shining chocolate glaze is often prepared for festive occasions, such as Christmas and Easter. It is named after its inventor, Emil Gerbeaud, the famous Swiss confectioner who originally owned the Gerbeaud Café on Vörösmarty Square. Due to the popularity of his recipe, the spelling of his name became more Hungarian over time – that’s why it’s spelled Zserbó today.

Bejgli – a rolled-up crust with lots of filling, such as walnut and sweetened poppy seeds.

Rákóczi túrós – a cottage cheese cake.

Császármorzsa a shredded pancake-like dessert.

Szilvásgombóc dumplings made of potato and filled with plums and dipped in cinnamon sugar.

Flódni – a very thick, sweet cake consisting of five different layers of dough, and filled with apple, sweetened poppy seeds, plum jam and walnuts.

Somlói galuska a trifle cake made of several layers of sponge and custard cream, studded with raisins soaked either in rum or the sweet Tokaji Aszú wine.

Dobos torte a round cake consisting of six thin sponge cake layers and five layers of chocolate buttercream.

Slovenia

Prekmurska Gibanica

This well-known dessert is a traditional dish of Prekmurje, Slovenia’s northeastern region, but today, it is one of the most popular Slovenian traditional desserts. It is a type of layered pastry, containing walnuts, poppy seeds, apples and raising. It also has a unique name, as the word “gibanica” would translate to “something that is folded”, which describes this tasty dessert and its many layers well.

Kremna rezina – custard cream cake.

Jabolčni zavitek – a type of sweet layered pastry with a filling made out of grated apples or other types of fruits.

Pohorska omleta – a dessert made with eggs, sugar, vanilla sugar, salt, flour, rum, cranberry jam, whipped cream, and mint liqueur.

Krof – a fluffy round fried dough bun filled with apricot jam.

Croatia

Trogirski Rafioli

The origin of trogirski rafioli is a legend about a girl from the Rafioli family. Captured in the Kamerlengo tower, she passed her time baking little crescents with a sweet filling until a knight would come to her rescue. All went well: they rode into the sunset but she kept baking rafioli as a token of gratitude. Rafioli delighted emperors and statesmen. While empires rose and felt, rafioli remained… A proud expression of the Dalmatian sense of identity.

Orahnjača – a sweet, spongy or crispy nut roll.

Samoborska kremšnita – a crispy puff pastry with soft filling inside.

Čupavci spongy, fluffy, chocolaty cake covered in coconut shavings.

Paprenjak – peppery cookies.

Breskvice – peach shaped cookies.

Kremšnita – custard cream cake.

Fritule – mini boozey doughnuts.

Serbia – Bosnia and Herzegovina – Kosovo

Gomboce

They are yummy plum-filled dumplings made with potatoes, eggs, and flour and you can find them throughout the Balkans. Once prepared, the dough is rolled and plums are placed in the middle of each square, which is then assembled into a dumpling. These dumplings are boiled, then rolled in a combination of breadcrumbs, sugar, and (optionally) butter for the best experience.

Torta cokolada – a moist, rich cake frequently served for Christmas, Easter.

Reforma torta – a rich, many-layered walnut sponge cake with creamy chocolate filling.

Torta praska  – a tart made with a layered yeast dough with apricot filling and crackly meringue topping.

Krofne – Serbian doughnuts.

Palachinke thin crepe-like pancakes filled with jam, fruit, or sweet or cheeses.

Tulumbe similar to a French pate a choux dough, and an unfilled, unglazed eclair.

Krem pita a custard and chantilly cream cake.

Slatko od kajsija   a variety of fruit preserve made with apricots.

Montenegro

Palačinke

Palačinke is a crepe which is made either sweet or savoury depending on the toppings used. This is a popular dish throughout the Balkans. The most popular savoury type is filled with sour cream, cheese and ham and it is also deep fried. The most popular version of the sweet Palačinke is filled with ground Plasma biscuits and Eurocrem spread. Other sweet fillings include Nutella, jam, honey and nuts.

Priganice – fritters or flat doughnuts served with honey, cheese, or jam.

Sutlijaš – rice pudding.

Slatko od Dunja – quince relish.

Džem od Šljiva – plum jam.

Sok od Šipka – homemade syrup made from wild pomegranates.

Albania

Kabuni

As far as Albanian desserts go, Kabuni is among the most popular. This sweet dish consists of butter-fried rice, raisins, salt and mutton broth. It’s topped with sugar, cinnamon and ground cloves. Once finished, it’s a delicious kind of rice pudding. Its name is derived from an Arabic word which came to Albania through the Ottoman empire. It means: “wait, accept”.

Baklava – a rich, sweet pastry made of layers of filo filled with chopped nuts and sweetened and held together with syrup or frosting or honey.

Ballokume – a dry cookie.

Trilecea sponge cake or butter cake soaked in three kinds of milk: condensed milk, evaporated milk and heavy cream.

Bulgaria

баница (Banitsa)

This is probably the most traditional of all traditional pastries in the country, being the breakfast norm for many, if not most Bulgarians. Usually, you will find Banista with Bulgarian feta cheese filling, but banitsa can be sweet as well. It can be filled with pumpkin, with apples – you can also find version with little pieces of Turkish delight between the pastry sheets, which gives a completely different taste.

Kifla – a crescent roll with a filling of marmalade, chocolate or Turkish delight.

Mekitsa – a deep fried and dripping with oil pastry garnished with sweet such as jams, cheese, marmalade, chocolate or simply powdered sugar.

Kozunak – traditional Easter cake with various fillings such as chocolate, raisins, or walnuts.

Tikvenik – a pastry consisting of thin sheets of dough filled with grated pumpkin, coarsely ground walnuts, sugar, and cinnamon.

Kurabiiki – Bulgarian cookies.

North Macedonia

Kozinjak

This sweet bread is usually prepared for holidays, especially for Easter and Christmas. Kozinjak is soft, moist, and has a thread-like texture, usually flavored with lemon zest or orange zest, and filled with dried fruits, typically raisins soaked in rum or orange juice. The dough is braided, brushed with a yolk-milk mixture on top, and then baked in a well-oiled baking tray or high bread pan in the oven.

Krushevo lokum – the Macedonian version of Turkish delight.

Ohridska torta – a cake combining walnut sponges and a sweet egg yolk filling.

Greece

γαλακτομπούρεκο (Galaktoboureko)

Master chefs and Greek grandmas make Galaktoboureko by sprinkling melted butter on top of creamy custard and then topping it with a thin pastry layer. The final topping? A syrup bath. Even though the dessert’s origins are lost in history and it remains unknown when exactly this mouthwatering dessert entered the Greek culinary scene, the first pastry shops serving Galaktoboureko in Athens date back over 100 years.

Μπακλαβάς (Baklava) – sweet dessert pastry made of layers of filo filled with chopped nuts and sweetened and held together with syrup or frosting or honey.

μελομακάρονο (melomakarono) – an egg-shaped Greek dessert made mainly from flour, olive oil, and honey.

κουραμπιέδες (Kourabiedes) – sugar-dusted butter cookies.

μπουγάτσα (Bougatsa) – filo pie, commonly filled with custard cream or cheese.

Ρεβανί (Revani) – a syrup-soaked cake made with semolina and yoghurt.

Πορτοκαλόπιτα (Portokalopita) orange and cinnamon syrup-drenched cake.

Cyprus

παστέλι (Pasteli)

This traditional Cypriot sesame seed candy is usually made from carob fruit syrup, which tastes and looks almost exactly like caramel. Cooled syrup is cut into small and thin bars. Sometimes grounded peanuts or sesame seeds are added. Though the modern name pasteli is of Italian origin, very similar sweets are documented in Ancient Greek cuisine: Herodotus himself mentioned “sweet cakes of sesame and honey”, but with no further details.

Ππαλουζές (Palouzes) – a type of grape jelly with a hint of orange-blossom flavour.

Σουτζούκος (Soutzoukos) –  nuts, mostly almonds or walnuts, dipped in Palouze.

κυδωνόπαστο (Kidonopasto)  –  a dessert made from quince, a mysterious fruit that is barely eaten raw.

Turkey

Baklava

Baklava, is the most famous Turkish dessert. Not much to say, but you should note that baklava is not just a single type of dessert. It has various types and our suggestion to you is to taste all of them! Although its history is not well documented, its current form was probably developed in the imperial kitchens of the Topkapı Palace in Istanbul. The Sultan presented trays of baklava to the Janissaries every 15th of the month of Ramadan.

Tavuk Göğsü – very thin slices of chicken breast often served with maraş ice cream and cinnamon.

Şekerpare – little cakes made with an almond-based dough and soaked with a hot sugar syrup.

Muhallebi a pudding made with mastic and covered with grated pistachios.

Helva semolina flour.

Pişmaniye  a sweet made by blending flour roasted in butter, which is then pulled into fine strands.

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