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Traditional desserts worldwide

12 Dec 2016
by Linda Canter

What do you bring as somebody invites you over for Christmas? A good bottle of wine is fine, as always, but you can also bring a Christmas dish. When all the guests bring (a little) something, it cuts serious cooking time for the host or hostess. Don’t choose for a corny ice cream dessert or an almond Christmas pastry ring but instead a traditional dish that is eaten worldwide.

Christmas pudding

Christmas Pudding

Christmas pudding is a dessert that is eaten in England, Ireland and other English speaking countries. It is not really a pudding like what we know in the Netherlands, but it is a kind of cake. Traditionally it has 13 ingredients which symbolize Jesus and his 12 disciples. Raisins and currants are the most important ingredients of the pudding. And it also contains a coin. The person who finds the coin in his cake, will have a long and happy life according to the myth, and will also get a present. Christmas pudding can be made months ahead of time because of the high alcohol percentage.


CroquemboucheNot only the name is a tongue twister, but croquembouche is also very difficult to make. It is a reason why the tower of puffs with caramel, chocolate and sugared almonds has been seen a few times in top notch cooking shows such as Masterchef Australia. The literal meaning of the name is ‘crackle in the mouth’. And that is exactly what the crispy puffs and caramel do. It will take at least five hours to make the puffs, the filling of the puffs, make a tower of all your puffs and decorate it all, but you will have a true masterpiece dessert.

Gingerbread men  or gingerbread house

GingerbreadCrispy gingerbread is not commonly known and eaten much in the Netherlands, but did you know that the Dutch gingerbread and ginger cake is also categorized as ‘ginger’ bread? In case of a typical Christmas dessert we’re talking about crispy gingerbread cookies that look like a gingerbread man or gingerbread house. Because we all know these from the Christmas movies, don’t we? In Finland gingerbread is a traditional dessert at Christmas. The gingerbread house and  men are fun to make together with children and chance is that you have all the ingredients available for a basic recipe. Typical gingerbread is nice and spicy, has the right amount of ginger of course, clove, cinnamon, and brown sugar.


Some fruit during or after the holidays is always a good thing. Fruit is already present in wine of course, but it can also be an ingredient of cake. Okay, because it is sugared a fruit cake is not really healthy, but still worthwhile to make. American fruit cake has nuts in it, sugared fruit like the small red and green balls you can buy in the baking department of the grocery store and a considerable shot of alcohol. This way you can keep it longer. Icing goes on the top of the cake.
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