Every country in the world has its own signature baked dish or dessert, meaning that there are hundreds of different bakes to enjoy. Many people discover these dishes for the first time whilst travelling or on holiday, meaning that they are associated with special memories.
Trying different foods and cuisines whilst travelling is one of the highlights of travel for many people, with some travellers even planning visits to certain places and countries in order to try signature dishes. With that in mind, here are 5 of the best baked goods from around the world.
Pasteis de Nata, Portugal
In terms of cuisine, Portuguese food rarely gets a look in, with very few key dishes to try. However, when it comes to desserts, they are up there with some of the best around the world. Pasteis de Natas are Portuguese take on traditional custard tarts, but with a deliciously crispy pastry shell on the outside, filled with a sweet custard centre. Typically served warm, with a light dusting of cinnamon on top, enjoying one (or two!) of these with a fresh coffee is an absolute must whilst holidaying in Portugal.
Pasteis de Natas were first created by Monks in the Jeronimos Monastery around 300 years ago, who used the leftover egg yolks to create the rich custard after starching their clothes with egg whites. When the monastery closed, the recipe was sold to a small cafe, Pasteis de Belem, who still regard it as a secret. Since then, almost every bakery in Lisbon has tried to recreate it, but every recipe is slightly different.
Gulab Jamun, India
Gulab jamun is easily one of the most popular desserts in the world. Imagine a sweet, deep-fried donut in bite sized form, soaked in a rich, sweet syrup and you’ve got gulab jamun. Gulab jamun dough is made using dried milk powder, flour, ghee and yoghurt, before rolling into a small ball and deep-frying. Then, they are soaked in a spiced, sweet syrup for a few hours before being served with crushed nuts.
Traditionally served to celebrate festivals and parties, or to welcome guests, gulab jamun is hugely popular in Southern Asia. If you’ve travelled to Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka or Pakistan previously, then there is a high chance that you’ve already enjoyed a traditional gulab jamun.
Lamingtons are a traditional Australian bake. Typically, they are a small square of vanilla sponge cake, covered in chocolate and desiccated coconut. They can also contain a layer of jam in between the two lamington halves. Lamingtons are said to have been named after Lord Lamington, who served as the Governor of Queensland in 1896.
The tale goes that he had some unexpected guests over, so his chef created the dessert by dipping leftover vanilla sponge cake into chocolate and coconut before serving. After all, some of the best desserts happen by accident. If you’ve travelled around Australia, then you’re probably familiar with the bake already, but if you’ve got plans to visit Australia in the future, then be sure to look out for these tasty treats in all good bakeries.
Rum Cake, The Caribbean
Rum cake is a traditional cake from the Caribbean, baked in savarin mould which gives it the typical doughnut-style shape. Once baked, the cake is soaked in rum and then topped with dried fruit, nuts and icing, so there is plenty of taste and texture. This cake is traditionally served during holiday seasons in the Caribbean, but many supermarkets and souvenir shops and supermarkets have caught on to the popularity of the bake, so sell it in huge quantities during peak travel season. There are many different types of rum cake now, including banana, pineapple and cinnamon, but the original traditional recipe calls for rum and rum only!
Bakewell Tarts, England
The Bakewell Tart is a popular dessert and afternoon treat in the UK and is named after the Derbyshire town, Bakewell, from which it is named. It is made from a shortcrust pastry case, which is then filled with a layer of jam and then frangipane, which is a sweet mixture of eggs, butter, ground almonds, sugar and flour. Then, the bake is topped with flaked almonds, glacé cherries and icing.
The Bakewell Tart is a variation of a traditional jam tart that was baked around 1805, when a recipe went wrong. From this, the Bakewell Tart we know now was born. Many bakeries around the UK have put their own spin on the Bakewell Tart in terms of bakery products, but bakers and cake shops in the town of Bakewell have remained true to the traditional recipe.
Guest Contributor: Natalie Wilson