This is a shell-shaped filled pastry with fillings such as orange-flavoured ricotta, almond paste and candied peel of citron. Its wonderfully crispy flakiness makes it seem as though you’re biting through 1000 layers of super thin dough. It is the ultimate pastry symbol of Naples and the south. They’re extremely difficult to replicate due to the really thin dough, so they’re definitely worth searching for when you’re in Italy, especially in Naples! For the best, head to Pasticceria Attanasio in Naples. They make some of the best pastries in the city, particularly sfogliatelle.
The princess cake is a traditional Swedish layer cake or torte that consists of alternating layers of airy sponge cake, pastry cream and a thick-domed layer of whipped cream. To give the cake its iconic smooth rounded top, it is usually topped by green marzipan. The name of dessert varies with the different marzipan colours, such as prinstårta (prince cake) for blue marzipan and operatårta (opera cake) for red or pink marzipan. This dessert is pretty popular in Sweden, therefore you’ll probably find one in any bakery you visit.
This French dessert is typically served at weddings, baptisms and first communions. It consists of choux pastry balls, a light pastry dough used to make other desserts such as profiteroles and éclairs. They are piled into a cone and bound with threads of caramel, which gives each mouthful a nice crunch. It can also be decorated with sugared almonds, chocolate and edible flowers. In elaborate versions, macarons and ganache may be added. Since this wonderfully extravagant dessert is usually eaten at big celebrations, as alternative you can go to any French bakery and try a single éclair or profiterole.
This specialty comes from the south of Switzerland and might not look that tempting at first glance, resembling brown spaghetti. Children call this wonderful autumn and winter dessert “sugar spaghetti.” Vermicelles is made from puréed chesnuts, which are refined with butter or cherry brandy and commonly served with whipped cream and meringues. It is also common to serve Vermicelles as little pies on biscuits along with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Unlike the other desserts on this list, this one is fairly easy to recreate at home and can actually be bought in your local supermarket.
From a distance these may seem like typical American pancakes. However, these are a traditional Dutch butter treat that resemble small, fluffy pancakes. They’re made with yeast and buckwheat flour. Unlike American pancakes they have a light and spongy texture. They’re typically served with powdered sugar, butter, syrup and advocaat, a traditional Dutch alcoholic beverage. These are very popular during the winter season, with temporary stands preparing the fresh and selling them by the dozen. For the best fresh poffertjes buy them at the street-side stands in Amsterdam, particularly in Boerenmarkt op de Noordermarkt and Albert Cuypmarkt.
Aletria is the Portuguese translation for “angel hair pasta.” Aletria Doce then translates to “sweet angel hair pasta.” It is a very popular dessert mainly in the northern regions of Portugal. It is the distant relative of rice pudding, but this dessert employs a similar base of sweetened milk and vanilla but replaces the rice with vermicelli noodles. These are traditionally served at Christmas parties and decorated with elaborate stenciled designs of powdered cinnamon and served with either warm of chilled, sometimes garnished with berries. It’s best if you can get your hands on some homemade Aletria Doce.
BlodplättarFinland and Sweden
These are probably the oddest dessert on this list. You might mistake them for chocolate pancakes, but they’re actually blood pancakes, made of whipped pig’s or cow’s blood and milk instead of the cream and cocoa that you imagined. They’re sometimes served with pork, reindeer meat or lingonberry jam. These are rarely served in restaurants nowadays but you can still find premade microwaveable ones in supermarkets in Sweden and Finland or you can buy the ingredients and make them at home.