Every country has its own Christmas traditions. Have you ever seen a Christmas card featuring a young girl wearing a wreath with candles on it around her head? That’s a Swedish Christmas tradition based on the story of St. Lucia, a young girl who would bring food to the persecuted Roman Christians who hid in the catacombs. She would wear candles on her head so that her arms were free to carry necessities. That’s just one example. At One Green Planet, the tradition we’re most excited for is (you guessed it) the food — particularly dessert. There are so many different kinds of Christmas desserts across the world, and we kind of want to try them all. The traditional recipes may contain products like eggs and dairy, but that’s never a problem because we can easily make them vegan!
Are you ready? We are. Here are 15 Christmas desserts from around the world that’ll sweeten your holiday dessert spread.
1. Tropical Christmas Fruit Cake
Somehow, fruit cake has become a dreaded Christmas dessert of sorts — but nobody will shy away from grabbing a slice of this fabulous Tropical Christmas Fruit Cake. Packed with mangos, coconut, pineapple, and other dried fruit, this cake is made from almond meal, so it’s flourless. The gorgeous cashew frosting on top makes it picture-perfect, but you might have trouble snapping photos before your guests try to grab a slice.
2. Dark Chocolate Marzipan Nougat
Inspired by Spanish Christmas sweets, this delicious Dark Chocolate Marzipan Nougat will get everyone talking. This amazing candy will melt in your mouth with rich, sweet nutty flavor. Customize it with whatever toppings you prefer to make your own version! Surprisingly simple to make, this dessert is sure to be a hit at your holiday dinner.
3. Raw Three Kings Cake
The king cake is a sweet dough cake traditionally served at celebrations like Christmas in Europe, celebrating the gift of the Magi to baby Jesus. This Raw Three Kings Cake is made from almonds and cashews, filled with hazelnut butter, and garnished with candied fruit. It typically has a small baby Jesus figurine hidden inside and whoever finds it gains special privileges.
4. Flourless Bishop’s Cake
A bishop’s cake is a traditional British Christmas recipe. It’s a fruit cake speckled with glacéed fruit, which is allegedly where it gets its name because the colorful fruits make it look like stained glass. In this Flourless Bishop’s Cake, sugary glacéed fruits are replaced with big chunks of colorful dried fruit that give it a festive appearance without all the refined sugar. Since it’s made from coconut and cashew or almond flour, it’s also gluten-free! The flavor and texture are incredible — perfect for celebrating the holidays.
5. Coconut Flan With Caramel Sauce
This creamy, dreamy Coconut Flan With Caramel Sauce, is the perfect dessert for the holidays! Traditional flan is made from eggs and gelatin but in this recipe, it is made from coconut milk, tofu, and agar agar powder. Making the flan might seem like a science, but it’s a simple process that can be mastered by anyone.
6. Italian Anise Cookies
Time to bust out the Italian in you and make these Italian Anise Cookies! These crumbly, buttery cookies are the perfect addition to your Christmas cookie tray, and they are easy to make. They’re a Christmas tradition!
7. Pavlova With Coconut Whipped Cream
Crispy meringue and coconut whipped cream come together into a beautiful, elegant dessert — the Pavlova With Coconut Whipped Cream. Pavlovas are said to have been created in honor of a Russian ballerina (they even share the same name) during her tour of Australia and New Zealand. They’re made by stacking meringue discs with layers of whipped cream, followed by a topping of fruit. This recipe uses aquafaba, the liquid from a can of chickpeas that typically gets poured down the drain, to make the meringues and coconut cream for the whipped cream.
8. Fruit Mince Tarts
These Fruit Mince Tarts are based on a traditional British recipe is a Christmas classic that dates back to the 13th-century. It typically is made from a combination of minced meat, fruit, and Middle Eastern spices, but this raw version uses all dried fruit as the filling. There are two different crusts: one nut-free and one made from cashews. These mini fruit mince tarts are the perfect size for a Christmas dessert spread: delicious enough to satisfy your sweet tooth, but small enough to leave room for more dessert.
9. Panettone: Milanese Sweet Bread
Panettone, also known as pan dulce, is a sweet bread originating from Italy, but it’s gained popularity all over the world during the holidays, particularly in South America. It’s the perfect treat for any occasion. Inviting a friend over for coffee? Offer them a slice. Craving a snack? You know what to do. You won’t be able to get enough of it.
10. Poppy Seed Roll
Having this Poppy Seed Roll on the side of a cup of coffee or tea on Christmas is unbeatable, especially when the roll is fresh and full of natural ingredients. This delicious cake is popular across Central and Eastern Europe during the holiday season. This raw version has a filling made of poppy seeds and coconut oil and a cake made from dates and almond flour — yum!
11. Struffoli: Fried ‘Honey’ Balls
Struffoli are little fried dough balls that are topped with honey and sprinkles that are a popular Christmas dessert in Italy. The warm honey makes them sticky so they can be arranged into the shape of a Christmas tree and then decorated with the colorful, festive sprinkles. If you live anywhere near an Italian bakery, you’ve seen these goodies. They are usually tall and wrapped in colored cellophane with a bow. They make a great centerpiece on the table. Tradition says that you can leave the struffoli out, uncovered, and they will last for weeks … or as long as it takes to eat them all. They taste even better the next day.
12. Mazapán de Cacahuate: Mexican Peanut Marzipan
Mazapán de Cacahuate, or peanut marzipan, is a typical sweet emblematic of Mexican culture. Like many other traditional dishes from Mexican cuisine, it has a Spanish influence. In Mexico, you can find peanut marzipan throughout the year and at any store, but it is super-easy to make, requiring only peanuts, sugar, and a good food processor. These delightful sweets will brighten up any dessert table.
13. Spiced Speculaas Cookies
Speculaas, also called speculoos is a cookie made for the Saint Nicholas feast in the Netherlands, Belgium, and closer to Christmas in Germany. In spite of its seasonality, speculoos cookies (and that delicious cookie butter) have made a splash in the U.S. and can be found all year round. These simple Spiced Speculaas Cookies are laden with warm spices — ginger, cardamom, nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon — and they’re crunchy texture makes them perfect for dunking in coffee or tea.
14. Gingerbread Christmas Cookies
Of course, we can’t talk about Christmas desserts without talking about gingerbread! These traditional Gingerbread Christmas Cookies are thin, crispy, and spicy! Have fun and get creative with cutting them into whatever shape is your heart’s desire and decorating them with icing!
15. Gingerbread Cake With Cream Cheese Glaze
You can never go wrong with a classic Gingerbread Cake! This special treat is the perfect dessert to bring to your next holiday party! Cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and molasses all blend to create an amazing, rich gingerbread flavor for this bundt cake. An easy to make cream cheese glaze adds a little extra sweetness and makes it even better
We hope you’ve found your favorite traditional recipes! For more dessert ideas, visit our vegan Christmas desserts. Happy holidays!
Lead image source: Fruit Mince Tarts