The knäck is a typical Swedish dessert made of syrup and almonds.
Victor Tuda. Madrid.
During these holidays, the Spanish gastronomy is sprinkled with traditional Christmas desserts, which somehow take us to this festive period. What do other countries have as dessert during these holidays? Each region has adapted its tradition to its own religious culture or to its climate. Here, we show you eight of the world’s most curious Christmas desserts:
1. Argentina – Pan dulce
Argentina’s Christmas, with southern summer, is marked by sweet bread, which is a type of sponge cake filled with nuts and dried fruits that inevitably reminds us of Italian Panettone. Given the country’s great European tradition, everything indicates that the sweet bread tradition was exported by European immigrants.
2. Sweden – Knäck
One of the unequivocal signs of Christmas in Sweden is, apart from low temperatures, the knäck, a typical Swedish dessert made of syrup and almonds whose appearance reminds of British toffee. The knäck’s thickness depends on the cook’s taste: it can be hard and consistent or like caramel.
3. Venezuela – Dulce de lechosa
Dulce de lechosa is a typical dessert of the Venezuelan gastronomy that is more and more associated to Christmas. It is a delicate dessert made of papaya, cut into thin slices to be heated and cooked until it turns into a kind of Spanish quince jelly. At Christmas, this is served with syrup and it is given as a typical Christmas present to friends and relatives.
4. The Balkans– Baklava
Despite of having its origin in the Ottoman Empire, due to historical circumstances, the baklava is one of the most typical Christmas desserts of the Balkans. This cake is made of a thin walnut puff pastry and soaked in syrup or honey. It is a classic present in family dinners during these holidays in Serbia or Bosnia.
5. Portugal – Bolo do rei
This typical Portuguese dessert is similar to the ring-shaped cake eaten on 6January in Spain. In fact, it is named after the same tradition about the three wise men. However, in the neighbouring country, the bolo do rei is traditionally made for Christmas Eve and then consumed throughout the holidays. According to tradition, the one getting a bean in their portion pays the cake, both in Spain and in Portugal.
6. Germany – Spekulatius
These traditional ginger biscuits are typical of Central Europe and are also eaten in the north of Germany, Belgium and Holland. This dessert is characterized by its mixture of flavours due to the different spices it contains. In fact, the original recipe includes a mixture of cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, ginger powder, cardamom and white pepper.
7. Japan – Kirisumasu Keiki
Even though Christmas is not celebrated in Japan religiously, since it is a country with a Buddhist majority and 25 December is not a holiday, Japanese people have adopted western traditions and one of the most curious is the Kirisumasu Keiki or Christmas cake. This is a very sweet cake made of cream and decorated with fresh strawberries, which was originally served in weddings and has become a very typical Christmas dessert. It became popular in the fifties and its creator used the recipe of a North American cake.
8. Cuba – Casquitos de guayaba
Despite the prohibition of Christmas symbols in Cuba for almost four decades, there are dishes in its gastronomy that identify with these holidays, such as guava helmets in syrup. This is a dessert made of this tropical fruit that gives a fresh touch to finish a heavy meal. Therefore, cooked and soft guava is served with syrup like peaches in Spain.