Bathers Pavilion pavlova | Source: Pinterest

Gourmet Desserts: A Trip Around the World with Six Desserts

Every year, at least once or twice, mum would set out to whip up her traditional profiteroles. Not just any profiteroles, but the conventional kind. The type of profiterole that the French would appreciate.

She would start by placing some water, oil (the French typically use butter) and a pinch of salt into a pan and bring to a boil. Then, she would combine sifted flour and at least five eggs into the mixture and whisk them into a thick batter. This is then ready to be spooned onto a tray ready for baking. Sounds easy, right? Not exactly.

To bake a profiterole to a golden crunch on the outside and a soft, fluffy centre on the inside you need to have two of three things. One: A plan, two: some experience and three: a little bit of luck – mum had all three. She constantly served up the most delicate profiteroles – but sadly, I am compelled not to give away any of her codes.

These are such fond recollections I have growing up, as a little girl in the small village of Kuzmin, in Serbia’s North West.

The truth about dessert or any type of food for that matter is that nothing evokes us and draws us together, quite like food and sitting around a table with the people we love most. So, we’ve curated a list of the most relished gourmet desserts from around the world, devoted to bringing families together around the dinner table and adding a few inches to our waistlines.

New York

The New York Cheesecake

New York is appreciated for many things, but one of our all-time favourites is its traditional New York cheesecake. The New York Cheesecake is the more important, richer and extra indulgent cousin of the traditional cheesecake. This gourmet dessert steps it up a notch with even more cream cheese and the addition of cream or a few extra egg yolks to create an ultra-rich, creamy and larger than life cheesecake. Its creamy vanilla topping and simple biscuit base is something we just can’t get enough of.

Source: Taste

Where to try it:

Café Carlyle, New York

If you are in New York and fancy a taste of only the best, then look no further than the Café Carlyle. Located in the heart of the Big Apple, on E 76th Street, Café Carlyle serves its New York Cheesecake with cream cheese, rhubarb compote and chantilly cream. This establishment lives up to its expectations – with a luxe, mural-lined cabaret at the Carlyle Hotel, a dress code and many celebrity appearances – it was even considered a favourite spot for Jackie Kennedy, who would frequently visit.

Italy

The Tiramisu

You either love it or you hate it – there is no in-between when it comes to the traditional, Italian dessert of tiramisu. Made by using ladyfingers dipped in coffee, layered with a whipped mixture of eggs, sugar, and mascarpone cheese and flavoured with cocoa – this recipe has long been a favourite for families across Italy and the world. Its name, tirami su, actually means “pick me up,” perhaps a reference to the stimulating effects of the caffeine in the recipe’s espresso and chocolate. Tiramisù has become so popular that in 2017 it even received an international food holiday: World Tiramisu Day, celebrated on March 21st, as a homage to the restorative, renewing characteristics of this tradition.

Source: Taste

Where to try it:

Le Beccherie, Treviso

The Le Beccherie Restaurant’s claim to be the birthplace of tiramisu may or may not be true, but it remains a great place to try it. The ‘Beccherie classic tiramisu’ version uses just the original six ingredients, while the ‘wrong tiramisu’ features a mascarpone mousse, coffee cream, and prosecco jelly, a nod to another local product. The original restaurant closed in 2014 — but the new venture, bearing the same name, uses the first owners’ recipe. 

Making tiramisu at I Tre Mercanti, a smart deli in Venice that serves the dessert in 25 different flavours, including apricot and liquorice, coffee and sambuca, and tropical fruit.

Panna Cotta

Panna cotta doesn’t appear in Italian cookbooks before the 1960s, yet it is often cited as a traditional dessert of the northern Italian region of Piedmont and today stands as one of the favoured desserts when brought to the dinner table. One unverified story says that it was invented by a Hungarian woman in the Langhe in the early 1900s.

Source: Pinterest

Where to try it:

Trattoria Da Cesare al Casaletto

Recognised by food critics around the world as the place to visit for the best Panna Cotta is the Trattoria Da Cesare al Casaletto in Italy’s capital of Rome. Trattoria Da Cesare al Casaletto is one of the best addresses serving up the light dessert with its silky smooth cream and sauce.

The U.K.

The Trifle

The English trifle is a quintessential dessert that has graced British tables for more than four centuries. This decadent-looking dessert is simply sweet and often made with liquor, some with jelly and some not, while the fruit is a must-have for some and a turn-off to others – the choice is yours. While there may be several ways to make a trifle, the traditional U.K. recipe requires sponge cake or ladyfingers biscuits soaked into a juice or sherry liquor – we prefer the sherry liquor.  It also needs jelly, a thick layer of creamy custard, and a deep layer of lightly whipped fresh cream. The rest is all about personal preference. This one is easy to make and doesn’t have a 12-step process to follow – perfect for dazzling unexpected guests at dinner.

Source: Pinterest

Turkey

The Baklava

Baklava of some kind is made in many countries around the world, but it’s Turkey that’s most renowned for creating this delicacy. This little slice of great sweetness is usually enjoyed with an espresso or tea to balance the richness of the dessert. Wide sheets of pastry are stretched so thin they become transparent, before being buttered and layered on top of one another with your favourite choice of nuts. Pistachios from Gaziantep, Aegean almonds, walnuts or hazelnuts from the Black Sea Region are used as filling, and sugar syrup rather than honey is poured over the baklava after baking. Gaziantep in Turkey is famed for its pistachio orchards and its streets are lined with one baklava shop after another. In Gaziantep, they don’t bother with other nuts — only pistachios.

Pistachio baklava | Source: Pinterest

Australia & New Zeland

The Pavlova

‘The pav’ is a popular dessert and an essential part of national culture for both Australia and New Zealand. And, while there has long been deliberation for the country of origin for the pavlova, this much-loved dessert is one appreciated by both nations. The pavlova is considered to have been created in honour of the Russian ballerina, Anna Pavlova, either during or after one of her tours to Australia and New Zealand in the 1920s. The meringue-based dessert, with a crisp exterior and soft light inside, is usually served with whipped cream and a choice of seasonal fruits. Eating a pavlova at the end of a long lunch is a ritual for many households during the holiday season – a dish Christmas Day simply can’t go without.

Where to try it:

Icebergs, Bondi

The main drawcard at Icebergs might be the view, but their pavlova comes in at a close second. Affectionately referred to as The Iceberg, chef Monty Koludrovic serves the dish throughout the seasons in different forms. At the moment it’s a tower of strawberries macerated in passionfruit syrup, pink passionfruit granita, aerated Pepe Saya crème fraîche and zingy strawberry sherbet, spliced with shards of meringue.

Source: Icebergs Restaurant

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