The best desserts in the world

1. Pasteis de Nata - Custard Tarts from Portugal

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Photo: Tasting Table

When asked what the best cuisine in the world is, Portuguese food rarely gets a mention. But it certainly should when it comes to the best desserts in the world!

Pasteis de nata is a traditional Portuguese custard tart, with a deliciously crispy and flaky pastry shell, filled to the brim with a sweet, creamy custard centre. Best served warm with a light dusting of cinnamon, it’s impossible to eat just one of these. You’ll be going back for more if you’re holidaying in Portugal this year!

These little morsels of delight were first created by the residents of the Jeronimos Monastery over 300 years ago in Belem. After the monastery closed, the original recipe was sold on to a little cafe around the corner, Pasteis de Belem, which still keeps it a closely guarded secret.

Almost every bakery in Lisbon has tried to recreate it, but each recipe has its own quirks and tweaks. You can now knock up a pretty good version at home, thanks to this pasteis de nata recipe from Delicious Magazine.

Pasteis de nata is a very worthy entry on our top 10 bakes from around the world list.

2. Tiramisu - Coffee Flavoured Dessert from Italy

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Photo: Olive Magazine

Tiramisu needs no introduction - but we’ll give it one anyway. This classic Italian dessert is made up of sponge fingers soaked in coffee, traditionally layered between a coffee-flavoured mascarpone cheese whipped with eggs and sugar, and then topped with cocoa. Literally meaning ‘pick-me-up’ in Italian, tiramisu is the perfect end to an Italian feast and can be found on most menus across the country.

Tiramisu is still a relatively new dessert, with most records stating it was invented in the 1960s in the Veneto region of Italy. Despite its youth, tiramisu has rapidly become one of the most popular desserts in the world - and soon, your home! Butterlust blog has got the perfect recipe for a super simple tiramisu that you can whip up back in Blighty.

3. Gulab Jamun - Deep-fried sweets from India

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Photo: The Better India

Gulab jamun is easily one of the best desserts in the world. Imagine a deep-fried doughnut in bitesize form, soaked in a sweet syrup. Now imagine something that’s even better than that, and you’ve got gulab jamun.

Gulab jamun is made by mixing dried milk powder, flour, yoghurt and clarified butter with flavourings before rolling into a ball and deep frying. It is then soaked in an infused syrup for a few hours before being topped with crushed nuts and served.

It’s one of the best desserts from around the world, traditionally served to celebrate festivals and parties or to welcome guests in Southern Asia. If you’re travelling to India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal or Sri Lanka over your summer holidays, there’s a high chance you might be treated to gulab jamun at a restaurant.

If you want to make these Indian sweets at home, head over to Pepper, Chilli and Vanilla blog for a Gulab Jamun recipe you can try at home.

4. S’mores - a campfire treat from USA

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Photo: Glenstar Connect

If you’re headed to North America for your summer holidays, one thing you’re bound to try is a s’more - particularly as National S’mores Day is celebrated every 10th of August!

Said to be a contraction of the words ‘some’ and ‘more’, s’mores were first eaten around the campfire at Scout camps as far back as the 1920s. A s’more is made up of two biscuits sandwiched together with melted chocolate and marshmallows - traditionally melted over the campfire itself!

S’mores remind us a lot of our Choc Mallow Melt Cookie Kit, as it’s essentially a fancy version of s’mores using home-baked cookies. So once you’re back home, don’t shiver outside next to a campfire, get your bake on and make these s’mores from the comfort of your cosy kitchen!

5. Churros - deep-fried dough sticks from Spain

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Photo: The Spruce Eats

Churros are traditionally deep-fried dough sticks originating from Spain, but they’re now really popular in Latin America, particularly Mexico, Colombia and Guatemala. You’re bound to find them served by street vendors or in cafes in each of these countries over your summer holidays.

Churros are made from a choux-like pastry, piped through a star-shaped nozzle into hot oil where they’re fried until golden brown and then sprinkled with sugar. They are traditionally eaten for breakfast, dipped or drizzled with hot chocolate or dulche de leche, but you might also spot them on dessert menus in some restaurants.

Though churros are traditionally deep-fried, check out our very own baked churros recipe that gives you all the flavour without the fuss and guilt of deep fat fryers. Give them a go!, cites

6. Sundae - United States of America, North America

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Photo: BBC Good Food

Along with Banana Split, sundae is one of the most served ice cream-based desserts in the United States of America. A sundae is ice cream topped with a sauce or syrup, typically served in a bowl. The most popular varieties of sundae are chocolate caramel, butterscotch, and strawberry.

Cherries, dairy cream, and nuts are the most common additions to the popular treat. Food historians still argue about the origin of the ice cream sundae, but there are three theories which remain the most popular. The first one says it was created in Illinois, where the law prohibited the selling of soda water on a Sunday.

As an alternative, local soda fountains started selling ice cream sodas without the soda, leaving the customers with only syrup and ice cream, known as sundaes. The second theory says that it was invented in Wisconsin by a soda fountain owner named Ed Berners, who served ice cream topped with syrup used for sodas to his customers.

Berners loved the dish and charged a nickel for it. His competitor, George Giffy, started to serve the dessert on Sundays. Once he started to make money, he changed the name from Ice Cream Sunday to Ice Cream Sundae and served it every day of the week.

7. Chocolate Chip Cookie - Whitman, United States of America

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Photo: JoyFoodSunshine

Usually accompanied by a glass of milk or a cup of hot tea or coffee, chocolate chip cookies are well balanced between salty and sweet in flavor, tenderly chewy in texture, and filled with small melting chocolate pyramids, bringing a generation of Americans back to their childhood.

The origin story of these sweet treats is incredibly interesting, almost as the cookies themselves. The Toll House Inn was a popular bed-and-breakfast in Whitman, Massachusetts, bought by Ruth Graves Wakefield and her husband in 1930. Ruth's cooking was so good that the inn gained an excellent reputation in a short span of time.

Enter Duncan Hines, a traveling salesman from Kentucky who began compiling a list of the best roadside eateries in 1935. First, he included the Toll House Inn's Indian pudding on the list, and a decade later, he also included the chocolate chip cookies that we all know and love today.

The name of this partially frozen French dessert means perfect – so one can imagine that its creators intended the experience of eating it to be no less thrilling than its name implies. Parfait is a frozen dessert made from a base of egg yolks, sugar, and whipped cream, and it can be flavored with any number of additional ingredients such as fruit, nuts, or coffee.

8. Parfaits - France Europe

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Photo: TasteAtlas

Today, however, parfaits can be made with savory ingredients as well, and there are versions made with seafood, vegetables, and even foie gras. Parfaits were originally served on decorative plates, but today they are usually layered in tall and thin flute glasses.

The dessert is so popular that it even has its own holiday in the US – National Parfait Day – which is celebrated on November 25th.

9. Brigadeiro

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Photo: Betty Crocker

Brigadeiro is a decadent Brazilian dessert made by heating three key ingredients together - unsalted butter, cocoa powder, and condensed milk, which are then rolled into a small ball, similar in shape to a truffle. First made in the 1940s, when fruit and sweets were in short supply, brigadeiro was born out of creativity with just a few ingredients.

According to one legend, Brigadeir Eduardo Gomes was running for presidency in 1945 with a slogan that said "Vote for Brigadeir, he's handsome and single". The slogan won over a lot of girls who baked and sold the sweets in order to raise funds for Brigadeir's campaign.

Whether the story is true or not, today it is impossible to find a birthday party in Brazil without these chocolate sweets. Brigadeiros are very sweet, with a rich chocolate flavor, and are usually topped with chocolate sprinkles. Today, they are marketed as a gourmet delicacy, made in many different flavors such as almond, mint, hazelnut, coffee, and coconut.

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