If you were to imagine the best dessert or baked item in the world, then your favourite would likely be very different from your friends and family members. From childhood treats to family favourite recipes, there are many foods that are personal to each individual and this is especially true when it comes to desserts. Sugary, sweet treats hold a lot of nostalgia for most people and often these bakes and desserts use influence from local flavours.
A lot of these “desserts” are actually classed as afternoon snacks or morning eats, depending on their cultural heritage. Tiramisu, for example, relies heavily on chocolate, coffee and sugar which arrived in Italy via the global trade market, whilst Dan Tats from Hong Kong have links to Portugal and their pastel de natas. Whilst there is no definitive list of the best bakes from around the world, here are 5 of the best!
Baklava is a sweet treat made from dozens of layers of pastry, which come together in one single bite. Whilst it remains a much sought after treat across Africa and the Mediterranean, the spiritual home of baklava is Turkey. In Turkey, pastry shops serve huge, great trays of baklava sliced into diamond shapes, which are filled with ground nuts and honeyed syrup. With a simple list of ingredients and multiple different variations, it is often ranked in the world’s best-baked goods from around the world, and for good reason!
Black Forest Gateau, Germany
Germany’s Black Forest region is known as the origin of Germany’s most luscious cake, along with mountain-top castles and fairy tales. Black Forest Gateau is made up of dark chocolate cake, which is then doused in cherry syrup and kirschwasser, which is a sour cherry brandy, and then stacked on top of a thin, chocolate base. This is then finished with deep layers of whipped cream, dark chocolate shavings and fresh cherries.
Cannoli is a huge part of Italian culture and has a huge, vast history. Some historians place the origins to be around 827-1091 AD. With cannoli, you’ll find a creamy cheese filling, surrounded by a crisp, sweet pastry shell. Traditional cannolo uses silky-smooth ricotta cheese, mixed with sheep’s milk and flavours include pistachio, lemon and vanilla.
Crème Brûlée, France
Creme Brulee is a study of baked contrasts, with a shiny burnt top covering a creamy dessert. Each blend of a creme brulee should have a combination of crispy caramel - just burnt to the edge of bitterness - and a smooth, vanilla custard. Creme brulee is often made using pure cream and is amongst the richest custard desserts created and must be gently cooked in a water bath in order to prevent overbaking and curdling. For pastry chefs, the crispy creme brulee topping is seen as part of the overall appeal and the end result can be achieved with everything from blow torches to hot, cast-iron salamanders.
Gulab Jamun, India
Galub Jamun is a lush, syrupy dessert full of milky flavour and these deep-fried sweet, Indian treats are far from your simple, traditional doughnut. Traditional recipes call for gulab jamun dough to start with kohya, which is a reduction of buffalo or cow milk that simmers for hours over a low flame and lends the finished product a soft, melting texture. Gulab jamun is fried in ghee, which provides a second-injection of fatty flavour before the soft dumplings are soaked in a rich aromatic syrup. This rich and intensely sweet bake is a much-loved favourite across India and the rest of the world.
The world is full of delicious baked goods and sweet treats, making it almost impossible to find the best and most popular. Almost every country in the world has its own staple dessert and sweet treat, so it is well worth exploring bakery products from around the world.