15 Holiday Dessert Recipes From Around The World


It’s never too late to start a new holiday tradition with some old holiday traditions! Enjoy the taste of the festive season no matter where you are, or just make them at home. These are sure to put some joy in your stocking this year!

England: Christmas Pudding

Also called figgy or plum pudding (actually made with raisins), this more resembles what we know as a fruitcake and has been a holiday staple in the UK for over 200 years. Sometimes it’s doused with brandy and set aflame, sometimes there are tiny charms baked into the mix that signify your fortune in the new year.

Australia: Pavlova

Named for the ballerina, the Pavlova is a warm weather dessert, because Christmas is in summertime Down Under. This wonder has a hard meringue shell filled with fluffy cream layers inside, and is traditionally presented with fresh fruit.

Mexico: Rosca de Reyes (Three Kings Cake)

Another holiday tradition is Epiphany or Twelfth Night, usually celebrated on January 6 as the feast of the three wise men. In Mexico gifts are exchanged this night, not Christmas, in recognition of the gifts of the magi. This sweet delight is good enough to make all year round.

France: Bûche de Noël

This French holiday favorite is basically an edible Yule Log cake; think of the world’s biggest Hostess Ho Ho. The more the cake looks like an actual log, the better – be sure to sprinkle some powdered sugar on top for a nice snow illusion!

India: Kulkul

Native to the Goa region, this is a curly cookie made traditionally with coconut milk and shaped with a special tool… but you can use a fork to get the same effect, so have fun with these and we dare you not to eat them all right out of the oven.

Jamaica: Rum Cake

Yes it’s a fruitcake, but with a wonderful twist: the rum! The dried fruit is infused with rum, the longer the better, but also the longer the stronger. For a party with adults, this would really make the season bright. You’ll be sorry for every bad word you’ve ever said about fruitcake.

Sweden: St. Lucia Buns

This saint’s day (December 13) is celebrated as part of the Swedish Christmas tradition, during which a girl dons a white robe and a red sash and a holly wreath crown of candles and delivers coffee and sweet buns called “lussekatter” to the parents in bed. Now this is one tradition we can all get on board with!

Germany: Pfeffernuss

The most delicious way to serve gingerbread is in these tiny cookies. Made with cinammon, clove, nutmeg, and anise, they’re called “Pepper Nut” cookies because they’re small like nuts and you can eat them by the handful. Feel free to test this theory! These cookies are enjoyed all through Germany, Denmark, and the Lowland countries and are specifically identified with the feast of St. Nicholas on December 6.

Canada: Nanaimo Bars

This hasn’t been around too long, maybe 50 years, but it’s already become a Canadian holiday staple in British Columbia. It’s a three-layer chocolate and coconut bar that, best of all, needs no baking whatsoever. It’s named after the town it was invented in, and the town is very lucky indeed to have such a great flavor representative.

Japan: Christmas Cake

Literally “Kerisumasu Keki,” this winter dessert is basically the opposite of the heavy dried fruit cake we normally associate with the holidays: this is a light cake with strawberries and it’s absolutely wonderful. This is the sugar plum we wish was dancing in our head!

Philippines: Bibingka

Another literal Christmas Cake, it’s made with coconut and rice. Street vendors sell it in front of churches during the holidays. It’s also popular as a treat with cheese and egg on top of it, but this version is cheeseless and the eggs are cooked into the batter. The rest is up to you!

Ukraine: Kutya

This is more like an English pudding, only made with wheat berries instead of flour. This is a wonderful, hearty treat for cold winter nights; it takes some work but it’s well worth the effort:

Colombia: Natilla

Originating in Spain as Natillas de Leche, this is a Christmas custard to be reckoned with. Made with lemon, vanilla, and cinnamon, variations on this are made all through Central and South America; it is the standard by which all other Christmas custard should be judged.

Greece: Melomacarona

These yummy honey-dipped cookies with a hint of cinnamon, cloves, and almonds are a staple of Greek Christmastime.

Israel: Sufganyot

This Chanukah dessert is basically a jelly donut, but what a jelly donut it is! Sweet and crispy, they make a wonderful snack, or dessert, or breakfast… they’re so addictive!