International desserts to cook in quarantine

International desserts to cook in quarantine

Do you get the impression that you see a lot of homemade cakes on social networks? It's not just boredom. The taste of sugar that our taste buds perceive has a calming and consolatory effect, so it is no coincidence that when we want to reward ourselves, we think of a sweet and not a salad. Eating a slice of cake improves the mood and reduces stress. In short, if we eat sweet food, we feel pampered and we know how much we need it right now.

In many countries quarantine is still mandatory, so if you are working from home and you want to find a good pastime that allows you to distract yourself, take your mind to far and exotic places and discover delicious international desserts, I suggest you to try to cook some of the recipes that I propose in this article. In your home it will smell very good and you will immediately feel in a great mood.

Portugal - Pastel de nata

Pastel de nata is an egg tart pastry dusted with cinnamon. The outside is crispy and flaky while the inside is creamy and sweet. They are delicious and I assure you that after you have tasted one, you will not be able to stop eating them. To prepare pastel de nata you need very few ingredients: puff pastry, eggs, cream, milk, sugar and cinnamon.

Put a pot on the fire and pour four yolks and 150g of sugar into it. Mix with a whisk, pour 250ml of fresh cream and cook over low heat continuing to stir until it thickens. Then let the cream cool. Place the puff pastry inside a muffin mould, fill each basket with the cream to the edge and sprinkle with a little cinnamon. Bake at 200° for 20 minutes. When the surface is brown and caramelized, you can bake the sweets.

Turkey - Baklava

Baklava is a dessert rich in sugar, honey and dried fruit originating from Turkey and widespread in many Middle Eastern and Balkan countries. The versions of this dessert are numerous but all delicious.

Melt 200g of butter in a saucepan and let it cool, while chopping 250g of pistachios and 300g of walnuts together with two tablespoons of sugar. Butter the pan, then roll out a first sheet of phyllo dough, brush it with melted butter and put a second and a third one on top, always buttering. After the third layer, put chopped walnuts and pistachios and start the procedure again: every 3 sheets of buttered dough, insert a layer of walnuts and pistachios until the phyllo dough is finished. Bake at 180° for 15 minutes, in the meantime prepare the syrup by boiling it on a medium heat and constantly stirring 150g of sugar, 300ml of water, a tablespoon of lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of honey. Once cooked, sprinkle the baklava with syrup, let it cool and serve it cut into diamonds and covered with chopped walnuts and pistachios.

Germany - Apfel Strudel

In Germany this is the most popular dessert and is sold in all bakeries and bars. It is based on a thin sheet of pastry and a filling of apples, raisins, pine nuts, flavoured with cinnamon. It is often served with whipped cream and is perfect as a snack.

Peel 700g of apples and cut them into cubes and wet them with the juice of half a lemon to prevent them from blackening. Toast 50g of breadcrumbs with 50g of butter in a pan, add the apples, 60g of pine nuts, 60g of raisins, a teaspoon of cinnamon and 50g of sugar. Let it cook for a few minutes. Take the puff pastry and roll it out giving it the shape of a rectangle. Place it on a plate covered with baking paper and stuff it with the filling of apples, raisins and pine nuts, taking care to leave the long ends of the rectangle of puff pastry free. Roll the strudel on itself, cut the excess dough on the sides and seal it well. Brush the entire surface of the strudel with milk and bake at 180 degrees for 40 minutes.

Spain - Churros

The churros are fried sweets typical of Spain, also widespread in South America, particularly in Argentina. They are usually sold at street stalls and served covered with sugar or dark chocolate. They are not particularly light but on the other hand they are very quick to prepare.

Put 250ml of water and 50g of sugar in a saucepan and melt them on the fire. Once the sugar has melted add 100g of butter and let it melt then start adding 250g of flour little by little and stirring quickly with a wooden spoon. Continue stirring until you see that the dough will start to peel off the walls and let it cool. Add 3 eggs one at a time, then put the mixture obtained in a sac a poche with the star-shaped spout. Heat plenty of peanut seed oil and when it is hot make with the sac a few sticks of about 10 centimetres in diameter directly into the pot with the oil. Fry the churros for about 5 minutes until golden, drain them and roll them in sugar.

USA - New York Cheesecake

If I say New York many of you will think of the Statue of Liberty, or the Manhattan skyline, the gluttonous ones will surely imagine one of the most famous sweets: the New York cheesecake! It is a typical American traditional dessert, prepared with a fragrant base of biscuits and a cream made with cream cheese; in fact, this is the main ingredient to which New York Cheesecake owes its name. Sweet, soft and slightly acidulous thanks to the sour cream topping, this cake will transport you to one of the bakeries in Times Square!

Melt 100g of butter and let it cool; in the meantime, place 250g of cookies in a mixer and blend them until they become powder, then transfer them to a bowl and pour the butter. Mix with a spoon until the mixture is even, then take a zipper mould and line the base with baking paper. Place the biscuits inside and on the sides and crush them with the back of the spoon to compact them. Put the base of your New York cheesecake to cool in the fridge for 30 minutes. In the meantime, prepare the cream: in a bowl break an egg, add an egg yolk, 100g of sugar and beat it all with a whisk until a cream is obtained. Take the seeds of a half vanilla bean (keeping aside the rest that will serve later) and put them together with the eggs. Add also 500g of spreadable cheese, the juice of half a lemon and 25g of corn starch and continue to stir with a whisk. Finally, add 100g of fresh cream. Take the biscuit base from the fridge and pour the mixture inside. Bake in a preheated static oven at 160° for 60 minutes, then continue baking at 170° for another 20 minutes. Once cooked, let the cheesecake cool in the oven off with the door open and in the meantime take care of the topping. In a bowl, add the sour cream with the seeds of the half vanilla berry kept aside and mix everything with a spatula. Pour the topping over the cheesecake at room temperature and spread it evenly, then put it back in the fridge to rest for 2 hours.

Have you ever tasted any of these recipes? If so, did you like them? Are some of your language exchange friends from the countries where these delicious desserts are baked? Let us know in the comments below!

Written by: Martina Sassi, Staff Writer Language Exchange