ALBANIA Walnut Cake with Lemon Glaze This dessert was interesting. It has the basic cake ingredients but the cake was slightly brown and there were walnuts in it. When it finished baking I poured lemon syrup over it and allowed it to soak into the cake. Because it had a very strong taste, partly because of the spices, I did not like it much. However, my mom loved it. I think it really just depends on if you like the spices or not. I know that I will not make it again, but my mom might.
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AUSTRIA Cardinal Slice I made this dessert for a family party. It uses meringue and an extremely light batter which I piped out into thin strips. Both mixtures squeezed out of the top of the pastry bag, so I got extremely messy; it got all over my hands. These strips were then baked. The cream between these strips had espresso in it so I ended up driving to Starbucks and ordering half a cup of espresso. I then surrounded it with fruit. I used strawberries, raspberries and blueberries. It looked quite beautiful and everybody thought it tasted amazing.
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BELARUS Apples Baked with Honey This recipe was frustrating to follow because it is so vague. One pound ends up being two and a half apples so I just used three apples. For removing the cores I used a knife and then scooped it out with a grapefruit spoon, which worked well. I filled the hollowed centers with sugar but I still had a lot of sugar left. It did not mention the temperature the oven should be or for how long the apples should bake for. I preheated the oven to 350˚ and baked them for about an hour. When they finished baking the sugar had all melted so that the syrup filled the apples up half way. The apple was also mushy and the skin was all shriveled and wrinkly. The texture and taste reminded me of applesauce. If I make these again I think I will add a bit of spice like cinnamon for a better flavor.
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BELGIUM La Truffe au Chocolate et Marrons Glaces (Chocolate Chestnut Truffle Mousse) Yep, this dessert is as good as it sounds. I found out that you can only get chestnuts in the late fall and not earlier, which was frustrating. The first thing I did was to blend the chestnuts to puree them. I had to keep adding water because there was not enough liquid, so it took a while. Chestnuts also smell disgusting, which I never knew; they almost have a similar smell to refried beans. Then I added them to the melted chocolate and butter, placed it all in a pan, and then refrigerated it. I made it for thanksgiving, and it was a huge hit. It was extremly rich so I ate it with whipped cream which balanced it out a bit. It is one of the best desserts I have ever made. There is no doubt that I will make this again!
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BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA Peras Estofados (Poached Pears) I made this dessert, and then went right up to the dorm for dorm exchange. It was a simple process. The pears were peeled and then placed in a pot standing, with syrup poured over them and then cooked. I expected to put a lid over the pears but the recipe said not to. Because the syrup only came half way up the pears, the tops were still a bit hard when they finished cooking. I think that they probably could have cooked longer and been even better. It was a bit difficult to get the stems of the pears out and I basically ended up cutting a wedge out of the top of each pear and wrenching out the stem. The recipe says to let the pears cool before serving but I ate some while it was still hot and I think that they would not be as good if they were cold. I was actually surprised how much I liked them. I do not like pears, but this dessert was delicious, I think the syrup made it extra good. I suppose each person could get a pear if there were only a few people, but in the dorm there are many people. I ended up just cutting off pieces of the pears and eating them and that way anybody could come and slice off as big a piece they wanted.
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BULGARIA Fruktova Salata (Brandied Fruit Salad) Hear is yet another fruit salad. The fruit was all fine but because it is winter a lot of it was not in season so they were not the best that they could have been. I was afraid that the alcohol would ruin the salad so I chose to take an 8th of the fruit and only add an 8th of the alcohol to it and leave the rest of the fruit untouched. I tried a piece of pear and a piece of apple in the alcohol and I really could not taste the brandy and wine. I could tell that there was something there but hardly. When my dad tried it he actually got some of the juice around the fruit and he could taste the alcohol strongly. Honestly, I will never make this again because just plain old fruit salad is way better than this.
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CZECH REPUBLIC Moravske Vano ni Kukyse (Moravian Christmas Cookies) This was another simple and easy dessert to make. It consisted of dark brown, moist dough. It called for molasses that made it dark in color and gave the cookies an extremely strong taste. I cut the dough into circles because it is not Christmas yet but I could have cut it into Christmas cookie shapes if I had wanted. They cooked only for six minutes, I think I ended up cooking them too long because some of them burned. I first tried a burned one. Bad idea! It was so strong and disgusting. Once I tried a non-burnt one, though, I found that it tasted okay. My mom particularly loved them, which was great. These were easy to make and I think that maybe I will make them again.
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DENMARK Pastry Pockets This Danish pastry is quite yummy. First I made the dough, which has a lot of butter, and then I cooled it in the refrigerator overnight. Next I rolled out the dough and folded it into thirds, similar to that of the croissant dough. Then I rolled it out and cut it into squares. Meanwhile I made a confectioners cream and raspberry jam. I actually picked the raspberries from our garden and then cooked it in the microwave. But the recipe failed to inform me to put a lid over it. Thus, the jam overflowed and got the microwave extremely messy. I managed to gather up all of the jam. Then I placed a dollop of both the cream and jam in the center of the squares. I cut diagonals from center to corner and bent every other point to the center, thus creating a pinwheel. They turned out to be not only beautiful but tasty as well. They reminded me of raspberry cream cheese croissants. These along with the trifle, Baklava and chocolate croissants are the best desserts so far.
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ENGLAND A Proper Trifle I made this delicious dessert with my good friend Lizzie Bastian who loves England, so it was a perfect dessert choice. It is made with crumbled up pound cake (which we made) mixed with raspberries, sliced bananas and raspberry jam. Then it is coated with a layer of custard. I think we cooked the custard too long because it ended up lumpy. However, it still tasted great. It is then topped off with whipped cream and sprinkled with sliced almonds. The recipe called for sherry, but we decided against adding it because we did not have any, and we thought it might ruin the taste for us. This so far has been my most favorite dessert (probably because I love raspberries so much). It is soooo delicious!
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ESTONIA Sweet Apple Bread Pudding This was a good dessert. The night before I left out the bread and it staled nicely. I mixed everything together and baked it. I baked it about twenty minutes longer than it said because I wanted it to be more solid. It ended up being the consistency of French toast. I waited to pour the sauce on in the morning. The sauce therefore, was cold from being in the refrigerator and too thick. I heated it up and poured it over the sliced up pudding. I should have cut slices in the pudding when it came out of the oven and poured the sauce over right away. Then I think the sauce would have seeped into the pudding more. I took it up to contemporary church and everybody loved it!
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FINLAND Mustikkapuras (Blueberry Yogurt Pie) In Finland they have lots of wild blueberry bushes so they utilize this fruit in many of their recipes, such as in this particular dessert. I made the piecrust first and then mixed the yogurt filling and poured it in the pie crust. Then I just put blueberries into the yogurt filling and baked it. I personally do not like yogurt so I did not really like this pie. However, my siblings and their friends all enjoyed it a lot.
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FRANCE Chocolate Croissants In France, this pastry is often eaten by children when they return home from school. I had no idea how long these take to make. First I made the dough and then I chilled it for 8 hours. Meanwhile I molded 4 ½ sticks of butter into an oval shape and chilled it (Croissants have so much butter in them!). Next I rolled out the dough and folded the butter into it. Then I rolled the dough out again and folded it into thirds. After 2 hours of chilling I took the dough back out, rolled and folded it again and popped it in the refrigerator. After repeating this once more I was able to roll it out a final time and cut it into thin strips. Then I placed a few chocolate chips on each strip and rolled them up. I was so confused by how I was supposed to fold the dough and how many times I had to chill it. So I read over the instructions many times until I completely understood them. I decided to make smaller croissants because I took them up to the dorm and this would allow more people to have them. However, I think they might work better being bigger. They turned out to be so scrumptious and everyone at the dorm loved them. My mom got angry at me because I was taking them up to the dorm. She wanted to eat them all (so selfish!). Even though it was time consuming in the end it was totally worth it!
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Published on May 31, 2011