They say variety is the spice of life. If you ever start to feel bored with your food, there’s a good chance you can make it exciting again by simply trying a new recipe — no matter how easy it is. As the unofficial grand arbiters of devouring food, this is something we know to be true. But sometimes when it comes to desserts, we get trapped in a cycle of vegan cookies, brownies, ice cream, and pies simply because they’re what’s most familiar. When it comes to trying new savory recipes, it’s often easy to gather all the ingredients you need, even if it’s an international recipe. We often forget that there’s also a world of sweets out there that we’ve never tried. Now, here’s a reason to celebrate: we can also make those desserts at home just like we can with savory recipes.
Not only can we make them at home, we can make all those sweets that typically use eggs, milk, butter, or gelatin completely vegan! Some international desserts are naturally vegan, like this Burmese Coconut Jelly that uses agar agar powder instead of gelatin. Others, like crème brûlée, require some crafty kitchen skills but don’t let that get you down because we can veganize that, too. Whoohoo! We can barely contain our excitement because we’ve got 15 international desserts that you absolutely have to try.
1. Whole Wheat Crepe Cake With Chocolate Mousse
This Whole Wheat Crepe Cake With Chocolate Mousse is a modernized take on a classic French dessert. Light and fluffy crepes are layered with whipped coconut cream and creamy chocolate avocado mousse that’s sweetened with dates. This delicate cake is the perfect dessert to serve at spring parties.
2. Raw Punsch Rolls
A punsch roll is a Swedish pastry made from cookie crumbs, butter, and cacao that are rolled in a layer of green marzipan, then dipped in chocolate. If that sounds tasty to you, then rejoice! It’s easily veganized. These Raw Punsch Rolls get their bright green color from spirulina and spinach, but you’d never know from the way it tastes. It’s soft, almondy, chocolatey, and it’ll be your new favorite dessert to make to parties.
3. Filipino Maja Blanca With Coconut Latik
Maja Blanca is a Filipino dessert made mainly of coconut and sweet corn. It’s inspired by the Spanish manjar blanco, a sweet milk-based cream used as a pastry filling and the Spanish blancmange, a cream-based and pudding-like dessert. This Filippino treat is light yet rich, creamy, and sweet.
4. Khaman Dhokla: Indian Steamed Chickpea Flour Cake
Khaman Dhokla is a savory, sweet, and spiced Indian dessert made from chickpea flour. Anyone gluten-free will rejoice this delightful light and fluffy cake because it’s a power packed comfort food without any allergens. These cakes have a light, spongy texture that makes them perfect for serving with tea. These are also a great go-to dessert if you’re not all that into the sweet stuff.
5. Ichigo Daifuku: Strawberry and Red Bean Mochi
Daifuku is the name for a Japanese confection that consists of mochi, or sweet rice cakes, that have different kinds of fillings. One of the most popular is Ichigo Daifuku, or daifuku filled with fresh strawberry and sweet red bean paste. These mochi are soft and slightly chewy, with the distinct flavor of sweet red beans and a burst of fresh fruitiness from the strawberries. Serve these as a light dessert for a special occasion or sweet snack.
Swedish semla, also known as Fastelansboller is a cardamom bun cut in half with an almond cream in the middle topped with whipped cream. It is so awesome. In this version, the traditional cardamom bun is replaced with flaky puff pastry, but the creamy almond and vanilla whip filling stays the same. Yes, yes, a million times yes.
7. Mango and Coconut Jelly
This Mango and Coconut Jelly is inspired by a Burmese dessert called “kyauk kyaw” — a light and sweet jelly made without the gelatin. The mango adds extravagance, with its pronounced, sweet, and tangy flavor. The creaminess of the coconut complements the sharp flavor of the mango. If the mango you have purchased is of the tangy variety, omit the lime juice from the recipe. Otherwise, a splash of lime juice adds a nice punch to the dish.
8. Banana Akaras: Sierra Leone Banana Fritters
Akaras appear in a multitude of recipes throughout the world, both sweet and savory. These Banana Akaras are a favorite breakfast sweet in Sierra Leone. Light and fluffy, but also gluten-free, the taste and texture of these fritters is like banana pancakes combined with doughnuts. They’re also ready in just 20 minutes, from start to finish! These may originally be for breakfast, but they also make an awesome dessert.
9. Toffee Vanilla Ice Cream Slices
These Toffee Vanilla Ice Cream Slices are a veganized version of the Golden Gaytime, a finger-sized toffee and vanilla ice cream bar dipped in chocolate and covered in biscuit pieces, originating from Australia. This recipe is a healthier version of the Aussie dessert, made with a crumbly oat base, creamy coconut ice cream filling, and all topped with a drizzle of chocolate and a divine cookie crumble. These little bars have the same texture and taste of the original with just a fraction of the guilt!
10. Raw Swedish Princess Cake
Sweden’s beloved cake gets a raw makeover! A princess cake is a Swedish dessert consisting of a layer of sponge cake, a layer of pastry cream or custard, and a thick layer of whipped cream all surrounded by a layer of green marzipan. The sponge cake in this Raw Princess Cake is light and fluffy, made from coconut and almond flour and is covered with sweet strawberry chia jam, a layer of vanilla custard, whipped coconut cream, and raw marzipan.
11. Baklava Saragli
Baklava is a sweet and flaky pastry made from layering filo dough with chopped nuts and sweet syrup. When you make Baklava Saragli, it’s served in a rolled form rather than layered in a pan. If you want to get fancy with this recipe, you can twist the rolls into a round cake pan for strifti or coiled baklava. Rolled or coiled, this sweet treat is as lovely as it is delicious!
12. Pavlova With Coconut Whipped Cream
Crispy meringue and coconut whipped cream come together into a beautiful, elegant dessert — the Pavlova. 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.
13. Fa’ausi: Samoan Caramel Over Coconut Bread
This Fa’ausi: Samoan Caramel Over Coconut Bread is a must-try. The bread is light and fluffy, perfect for absorbing the sweet coconut milk caramel. Serve the leftover fa’apapa bread for breakfast, sliced and lightly toasted with vegan butter and jam and use the remaining caramel sauce for dessert.
14. Biko: Filipino Sticky Rice
Biko is like a soft, warm, sticky rice cake. It uses sweet rice or sticky rice. It is sometimes called glutinous rice because it gets gluey when cooked, but this sweet dessert is 100 percent gluten-free! Biko is perfect for potlucks because it requires only four ingredients and it can be made in a big pan. If you like crispy edges, it can also be baked in muffin tins or a brownie pan!
15. South African Milk Tart
This South African Milk Tart is usually served chilled as a dessert or as an afternoon tea treat. The tart has a stiff consistency, somewhat similar to Panna Cotta, but thicker. Usually, this milk tart’s thick consistency is achieved using corn starch or egg whites, however, as this recipe proves, arrowroot powder works as a viable alternative.
After looking at all these recipes, we think our dreams are going to be pretty sweet — pun intended.
Lead image source: Raw Swedish Princess Cake