Iconic Desserts from Europe

This week we’re featuring some iconic desserts that you can learn to make on our cooking vacations in Europe. These are some of the tastiest of the dishes you’ll eat, preferably paired with a delicious local wine that can balance out the sweetness of these dessert recipes. Of course, there are far too many to feature in only one blog, so check back later this week for more!

Creme Brulee on a cooking vacation in FranceFrance
The French of course make many wonderful sweet pastries such as croissants, pain au chocolat, eclairs, and the like, but they also make some wonderful desserts. One of our favorites? Crème Brûlée. This custard is known for its hard caramel topping and is traditionally vanilla flavored. Have you had other flavors of Crème Brûlée? What was your favorite? I’ve had coffee flavored, lavender flavored, and Bailey’s-flavored Crème Brûlée, but vanilla is still my favorite!

You can try your hand at a Crème Brûlée recipe on many of our French cooking vacations!

Learn about French dessert wines.

Culinary Vacations in Greece, BaklavaGreece
My husband is not much of a dessert eater, but one sweet he can never resist is baklava. It might be memories of his childhood (his maternal Grandparents were Greek), or it could be the delicious mixture of honey and nuts. This iconic dessert can be found throughout Greece, Turkey, and the Middle East, although Greeks and Turks both claim to be the inventors of it. It’s actually very each to make, a simple layering of filo dough, butter (or oil), honey (or syrup), and nuts, and you can make it on one of our cooking vacations to Greece (or Turkey!).

Turkey cooking vacations, Turkish DelightTurkey
What sweet could be more iconic than Turkish Delight? These flavorful squares of candy are a bit like a gelatin – but harder in consistency (more like a gum drop). They are traditionally dusted with confectioner’s sugar and traditional flavors are orange, lemon, and rosewater. They are famously the addictive sweet that lured Edward into the White Witch’s service in the book The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. It’s also the only dessert featured in today’s blog that I’ve never made. Might be time for a cooking vacation to Turkey?

Pasteis de Nata, Portugal cooking vacationsPortugal
This is my favorite, the wonderful custardy tarts of Portugal known as “pasteis de nata” or “pasteis de Belem” for the bakery that specializes in them in Lisbon. These custard tarts are baked in a shell of puff pastry and are best eaten still slightly warm. They are like silk in your mouth, and an explosion of favor. I made them during a cooking vacation in Portugal, and although they weren’t as good as at the bakery in Lisbon, they were darn close!

Try an Italian custard-filled pastry: pasticciotti from Puglia!

What are your favorite iconic desserts? Did you learn to make them on one of our cooking vacations of foodie tours?

By Peg Kern

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