One of the best parts of the holiday season is gorging yourself on gingerbread, sugar cookies, eggnog, candy canes… but that’s just here in North America. Here’s some interesting trivia on some holiday sweet treats from elsewhere on the planet.
It’s a very dense, very sweet bread made with brandy-soaked cherries, currents, and raisins. It’s also sometimes filled with almond paste and topped with a frosting so sweet it makes your teeth hurt.
It’s a pudding made from rice, whipped cream, and chopped almonds. Whoever finds the one whole almond dropped into the mix, they win a small gift.
Kutya (Ukraine, Belarus)
Christmas is a somber, religious holiday in the Eastern Orthodox church, which has a major presence in Eastern Europe. The holiday concludes on January 6—Epiphany—with a 12-course Christmas dinner. It starts with dessert: kutya, a sweet grain pudding made from wheat berries, poppy seeds, walnuts, and honey.
Buche de Noel (France, Quebec)
It’s a thin layer of sponge cake that’s topped with buttercream, then rolled up to look like a fireplace log or a Yule log. It’s then baked and topped with chocolate buttercream frosting or chocolate ganache, and then decorated with marzipan and sliced.
Another sliced pastry roll, the fillings in this are traditionally a poppy seed paste, or one made from minced walnuts.
It’s traditional to serve one of these sweet, red-colored raisin rolls with a mug of hot chocolate. The Christmas angle is that they’re shaped to resemble the baby Jesus in his swaddling clothes.
Pan de Pascua (Chile)
German immigrants to the South American nation introduced stollen, but locals devised this takeoff. It’s a sponge cake batter made with walnuts, raisins, ginger, and candied fruits.
Buñuelo, (Dominican Republic)
Christmas doughnuts! Flavored with anise, shaped into a bowl, and fried, they’re then glazed with coconut water and drizzled with a cinnamon-sugar syrup.
Truchas de Navidad (Canary Islands)
Turnovers that have been fried and filled with a hot, sweet potato pie puree.