A smile may be the universal language of kindness, but dessert is the universal meal. And thanks to all the sweet tooths across the globe, our favorite dessert recipes range from classic French crème brûlée to North African semolina-coconut cake and a New Zealand pavlova flecked with Australian Tim Tams. Try your hand at our 22 best dessert recipes from around the world.
Classic American French Cream Pie
The whipped cream filling doesn’t require any cooking—no custard here—while some slices of banana and toasted almond add texture and flavor. A fast, easy-to-make pie from a bygone era that deserves a comeback. Classic American French Cream Pie
Argentinian Giant Apple and Dulce de Leche Pancake
Soft apples with a hint of tartness balance a bittersweet caramelized crust, spurred on by rich dulce de leche. Get the recipe for Argentinian Giant Apple and Dulce de Leche Pancake
French Meringue Floating in Crème Anglaise
Sprinkled on top of these delicate meringues—which float in a vanilla custard—are praline roses, caramel-coated almonds dyed a bright pink. Get the recipe for French Meringue Floating in Crème Anglaise
For this dessert, from cookbook author Hiroko Shimbo, adzuki bean paste is wrapped in an extremely tender, sticky rice dough called gyūhi. The toasted green soybean flour that is dusted over the sweet is reminiscent of the revered bird, shaded in greens. Get the recipe for Japanese Mochi
When it comes to eclairs, homemade is always better. Bakeries have to chill their filled eclairs, which makes for soggy centers and mushy crusts; you can freshly fill yours at home and eat them right away.
Chinese Rice Cakes Stuffed with Coconut and Brown Sugar (Yi Bua)
Like a tropical version of mochi, these chewy rice cakes, often eaten on sweltering Hainan days with a tall glass of coffee, hold a brown sugar and coconut filling.
Turkish Black Mulberry Soup with Kaymak Ice Cream
This pleasantly tart soup is a welcome break from super-sweet desserts. The accompanying ice cream is made from kaymak, a traditional Turkish dairy product; crème fraîche makes a good substitute.
Italian Baked Pears and Prunes with Red Wine Sauce
Taking poached pears to the next level, in this dessert, whole Bosc pears are cooked in a red wine syrup, with succulent prunes adding complexity to the sauce.
Get the recipe for Sticky Rice and Almond Cake (Nian Gao)
This chewy steamed cake, with flavors of almond and caramel, is traditionally eaten for the Lunar New Year. Eat it warm or let the cake cool completely, then cut into slabs, batter with beaten egg, and fry them until crisp.
Israeli Cashew Baklava
Brown sugar, cinnamon and nutty, rich cashews are rolled into tight baklava cigars in this eminently snackable dessert.
Get the recipe for Cashew Baklava
North African Semolina-Coconut Cake with Orange and Rose Waters
This North African cake is baked with dried coconut and sweetened condensed milk and then soaked in a fragrant lemony syrup with orange blossom and rose waters.
Slovenian Layered Strudel Cake (Prekmurska Gibanica)
Able to be assembled up to 2 days prior to baking, this multilayered pastry cake is stuffed with poppy seed, walnut, cottage cheese, and tart apple fillings.
Korean Rice Cake
Korean rice cakes, known as songpyeon, are half moon-shaped dumplings that are stuffed with fillings like sweet potatoes, chestnuts, red beans, or nuts, and then steamed and served with honey.
The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies
We’ve found that rolling these cookies into bigger portions, then refrigerating them for at least 2 hours before slightly under-baking them at 350°, results in incredibly gooey, soft chocolate chip cookies.
Indian Goan Coconut Cake (Baath)
A hint of rosewater adds sweet, floral aroma to this moist, dense semolina cake, packed with four types of coconut. Refrigerating overnight gives the semolina time to soak up the sweet coconut liquid, resulting in a softer, more tender crumb.
Phillippine Fruit Salad
Simple fruits cut and covered in sweet condensed milk sauce.
Chilean Baked Custard with Caramel Sauce (Leche Asada)
This classic custard is ubiquitous in Chile, where it is served in cups for a quick afternoon snack or baked in a larger pan for a family-style dessert.
Swedish “Gooey” Chocolate Cake (Kladdkaka)
Chef Magnus Nilsson’s wife likes to serve this beloved Swedish cake, similar to a fudgy American brownie, chilled, but it’s just as good piping hot from the pan with a scoop of ice cream. Melting the butter in this recipe first and then stirring it with the other ingredients helps ensure that as little air as possible gets incorporated into the batter. The result: a gooey, more moist cake.
Beating egg yolks with sugar until pale and fluffy is the key to the smooth texture in this rich, classic French dessert, as made by Dennis Wist, father of Saveur Art Associate Allie Wist.
Danish Dream Cake (Drømmekage)
This delightfully basic white sponge cake, encrusted with a coconut and brown sugar topping, is a dream to make and eat.
Burmese Sesame-Topped Semolina Cake with Coconut (Shwekyi Senyinmakin)
This sticky-sweet cake, made with semolina flour and coconut milk, is commonly served at holidays and special occasions in Myanmar.
Australian Tim Tam Pavlova
Pavlova, a traditional Russian dessert, gets an addition from a chocolatey Australian favorite. The thing that differentiates this classic kiwi dessert from a meringue is the addition of vinegar: it helps give the outside a lovely crunchy shell, while the inside remains soft.
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