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The best dessert in 25 countries around the world

Forget that diet.

A MEAL ISN’T complete without dessert.

That’s true around the world, but desserts differ from country to country.

Some are light and fruity and some are rich and chocolaty.

From Japan’s mochi to Poland’s poppy seed rolls, read on to see what people use to satisfy their sweet tooth in 25 different countries.

Crème brûlée is a favorite dessert all over France. It’s a mix of rich, creamy custard topped with a layer of hard, crunchy caramel that’s just slightly browned.

IMG_2728 Source: Neeta Lind via Flickr/Creative Commons

In Indonesian, dadar means pancake and gulung means to roll, so it’s no wonder this dessert — popular on the Indonesian island of Java — is named dadar gulung. It’s a green pancake made from pandanus leaves that is rolled and then filled with coconut sugar.

shutterstock_271807310 Source: Shutterstock/Alphonsine Sabine

It doesn’t get any more American than apple pie. The pie — consisting of apple pieces wrapped in a flaky crust — can be served with whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, or even cheddar cheese.

11/21: Apple pie and my first diamond lattice crust! Source: axmai via Flickr/Creative Commons

One of Turkey’s specialties, baklava, consists of phyllo dough layered between a mixture of chopped nuts. The squares are held together by syrup or honey.

Buying baklava Source: withassociates via Flickr/Creative Commons

The streets of Italy are lined with restaurants selling gelato, an Italian version of ice cream that’s more like soft serve than traditional American ice cream. Gelato comes in a wide variety of flavors, from raspberry to pistachio to rum to chocolate.

Firenze: Hmmm... Gelato! Source: Flavio~ via Flickr/Creative Commons

Picarones are the Peruvian version of an American donut. They’re made by deep frying a combination of sweet potato, squash, flour, yeast, sugar, and anise.

Que ricos picaroes! Source: Flickr - Photo Sharing! via Flickr/Creative Commons

Russians are particularly fond of syrniki, a pancake that’s made out of quark — a fresh dairy product made from cheese that has a texture similar to sour cream. The pancakes are then fried and served with jam, apple sauce, sour cream, or honey.

shutterstock_263352455 Source: Shutterstock/Katerina Belaya

Tarta de Santiago is Spanish for cake of Saint James. The almond cake has a rich history: It originated in the Middle Ages in Galicia, a region in the northwest of Spain.

Tarta de Santiago Source: diekatrin via Flickr/Creative Commons

Japanese mochi gets its name from mochigome, a glutinous rice that’s pounded into a paste and then molded into a circular shape. Mochi is available year round, but it’s most commonly eaten and sold at Japanese New Year. It’s often wrapped around a small scoop of ice cream.

Bubbies Homemade Desserts - Mochi Source: emleung via Flickr/Creative Commons

Commonly eaten on Argentinian independence day, pastelitos are flaky puff pastries filled with sweet quince or sweet potato, then deep fried, and finished with a dusting of sprinkles.

Pastelitos Source: sbassi via Flickr/Creative Commons

England is home to banoffee pie, a delicious pie made with bananas, cream, toffee, and sometimes chocolate or coffee.

banoffee pie Source: Eljay via Flickr/Creative Commons

Brigadeiros are eaten at any major Brazilian celebration. Similar to a truffle, the dessert is made with powdered chocolate, condensed milk, and butter. It can either be eaten as a cooked mixture or molded into little individual balls covered in sprinkles.

Brigadeiro Source: maych via Flickr/Creative Commons

Dragon Beard Candy is not only a Chinese dessert, but also a handmade traditional art of the country. Resembling a white cocoon, dragon beard candy is made mainly from sugar and maltose syrup, along with peanuts, sesame seeds, and coconut.

shutterstock_75690505 Source: Shutterstock/Mau Horng

As the name suggests, Belgian waffles come from Belgium and are a common street snack throughout the country. The buttery treats are best when eaten warm and topped with either powdered sugar or Nutella.

Belgians For Breakfast Source: CarbonNYC [in SF!] via Flickr/Creative Commons

Gulab Jamun is one of India’s most beloved desserts, although it’s also eaten throughout Southeast Asia. Best described as donut holes dipped in a sugary syrup, gulab jamun is made with milk powder and traditionally fried in ghee — a type of butter — and not oil.

Dessert in Hyderabad - Gulab Jamun Source: philozopher via Flickr/Creative Commons

If Austria is known for one kind of dessert, it’s the Sachertorte, a dense but not overly sweet chocolate cake invented in 1832 by Austrian Franz Sacher. The recipe is still only known by confectioners at the famous Hotel Sacher in Vienna.

Travel Trip Europe in NYC Source: Associated Press

Lamingtons are Australian dessert squares that consist of yellow sponge cake coated in chocolate and then topped with coconut flakes.

Lamington Source: fugzu via Flickr/Creative Commons

A kind of Korean cookie, yakgwa is made from honey, sesame oil, and wheat flour, giving it a very sweet taste.

yakgwa, honey cookies Source: KOREA.NET - Official page of the Republic of Korea via Flickr/Creative Commons

Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte literally translates to Black Forest cherry torte and comes from Germany’s southwest Black Forest region. The mixture of cream, chocolate, cherries, and Kirsch — a Germany fruit brandy — makes for a decadent cake.

Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte Source: mikelo via Flickr/Creative Commons

Skyr has been a part of Icelandic cuisine for thousands of years. The yogurt-like dessert is served chilled with milk and sugar and sometimes fruit as well.

The Canadian nanaimo bar gets its name from the city of Nanaimo in British Columbia. The simple dessert requires no baking; it’s a wafer crumb crust layered with custard-flavored butter icing and topped with melted chocolate.

Nanaimo in Nanaimo Source: flossyflotsam via Flickr/Creative Commons

Commonly paired with tea, koeksisters are a South African dessert named after “koekje,” the Dutch word for cookie. They’re extremely sweet rolls of dough that have been fried and dipped in cold sugar syrup.

Koeksisters Source: Wikimedia

Princess cake — or prinsesstårta in Swedish — is a layer cake from Sweden that’s covered in a hard topping of marzipan which is usually green, giving the cake a unique look. Beneath the marzipan are alternating layers of sponge cake, pastry cream, and whipped cream.

Swedish prinsesstårta Source: tjdee via Flickr/Creative Commons

Umm Ali is the Egyptian version of American bread pudding. It’s made with puff pastry, milk, sugar, vanilla, raisins, coconut flakes and a variety of nuts.

File:Umm Ali.JPG - Wikimedia Commons Source: Wikimedia

Although makowiec is most commonly served around the holidays in Poland, the pastry can be found in most of the country all year round. It’s a roll of sweet yeast bread that’s filled with dense poppy seed and sometimes topped with icing.

File:Makowiec 1.JPG - Wikimedia Commons Source: Wikimedia

What would you like to put forward for Ireland? Let us know in the comments below…

- Sarah Schmalbruch

Read: 12 desserts that made your childhood sweet >

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