Traditional Holiday Desserts from Around the World

From flaky French pastries to crispy Italian cookies, these authentic holiday puddings, cakes, tarts, and more will take you on a delicious culinary journey around the world.

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Citrus-Pumpkin Flans

    These syrup-glazed Mexican custards taste like pumpkin pie without the crust.

Makes: 4 servings
Prep   15 mins 
Chill  4 hrs 
Bake   40 mins 
Dulce de Leche Bread Pudding with Glazed Pears

    Cinnamon and dulce de leche flavor this custardy, Mexican-inspired dessert. Brown butter-glazed pears are a warm and fruity complement.

Makes: 8 servings
Prep   40 mins 
Chill  1 hr  to 2 hrs 
Cool   20 mins 
Easy Chocolate-Almond Croissants

    Refrigerated crescent rolls make recreating this rich French pastry so easy.

Serving size: 8 croissants
Prep   25 mins 
Bake   15 mins  350°F 
Italian Amaretti Cookies

    These light and airy bites are flavored with almonds and amaretto liqueur.

Makes: 4 servings
Serving size: about 48 cookies
Prep   30 mins 
Bake   13 mins  to  15 mins  325°F 
Linzer Pinwheels

    For pretty, Austrian-inspired cookies, slather buttery cookie dough with raspberry preserves, and then slice into spirals and bake.

Serving size: about 72 cookies
Prep   35 mins 
Chill  5 hrs  to 24 hrs 
Bake   10 mins  375°F 
German Chocolate Wafer Cookies

    These no-bake treats mimic German chocolate cake with its decadent coconut-pecan frosting and rich chocolate flavor.

Makes: 40 servings
Serving size: 40 cookies
Start to Finish   30 mins 
Plum-Almond Kuchen Roll

    This old-world German recipe bakes into a tender, fruit- and nut-filled pastry.

Makes: 24 servings
Serving size: 2 loaves (12 servings each)
Prep  1 hr 
Rise  1 hr 30 mins 
Bake   20 mins  375°F 
Sugar & Spice Steamed Pudding

    With spices and candied fruit, this English stove-top dessert is the perfect holiday stand-in for coffee cake.

Makes: 12 servings
Prep   30 mins 
Cool   40 mins 
Cook  1 hr 45 mins  325°F 
Classic Gingerbread

    English-style gingerbread takes on a cake-like form, instead of the more familiar, brittle cookies. This version is served with a warm lemon sauce.

Makes: 9 servings
Prep   20 mins 
Cool   30 mins 
Bake   35 mins  350°F 
Chunky Dried Fruit Cake

    A take on the classic dessert that has roots in ancient Rome, this recipe features five kinds of dried fruit and three kinds of nuts.

Makes: 20 servings
Prep   30 mins 
Bake  1 hr 15 mins  325°F 
Cool   15 mins 
Sweet Vanilla-Polenta Pudding

    Tiny seeds from a vanilla bean give this dessert pudding its mouthwatering flavor. Rich mascarpone cheese topping adds decadence.

Makes: 6 servings
Prep   30 mins 
Stand   20 mins 
Ginger Pear Galette

    Frozen puff pastry makes a flaky crust similar to pastries traditional to French tarts or galettes. Choose slightly under-ripe Anjou or Bosc pears for this elegant dessert.

Makes: 8 servings
Prep   25 mins 
Bake   18 mins  400°F 
Madeleine Cookies with Vanilla Bean Buttercream

    The rich flavor of real vanilla bean is the perfect complement to these buttery French cookies.

Serving size: 48 cookies
Prep   30 mins 
Bake   10 mins  375°F per batch
Cool   1 min per batch
Honey-Roasted Pears with Caramel Sauce

    The secret to these moist and flavorful, Mexican-inspired pears is basting the fruit with a honey-spice and vanilla bean syrup during roasting.

Makes: 2 servings
Prep   30 mins 
Roast  1 hr  325°F 
Sweet Ricotta with Amaretti and Fresh Plum Sauce

    Macaroons flavored with sweet almonds are known in Italy as amaretti cookies. They make a delightful topper for this creamy fruit dessert.

Makes: 6 servings
Prep   30 mins 
Chill  4 hrs  to 24 hrs 
Festive Rice Pudding

    The Arborio rice in this dessert is a short-grain rice used for Italian risotto. For a Scandinavian twist on rice pudding, hide a whole almond in the dish. Whoever eats it is believed to have good luck in the coming year.

Makes: 16 servings
Prep   20 mins 
Cook  5 hrs 
Greek Honey-Dipped Cookies

    "Melomakarona," a traditional Greek Christmas cookie, is made in a rounded shape so it retains its soft texture. After the cookies cool, they are dipped in a mixture of honey and spices.

Makes: 60 servings
Serving size: about 5 dozen cookies
Prep  1 hr 15 mins 
Bake   9 mins  375°F per batch

    We've added lemon glaze to Germany's famous cardamom- and cloves-spiced, honey cookies.

Serving size: 48 cookies
Prep   35 mins 
Chill  3 hrs 
Bake   8 mins  to  10 mins  350°F 
Caballeros Ricos (Bread Pudding with Almonds and Cinnamon Syrup)

    Pure decadence, this Mexican pudding boasts an ultrarich flavor thanks to the combination of whole milk, coffee, cloves, and almonds.

Makes: 8 servings
Prep  1 hr 
Bake   25 mins  350°F 
Honey Pistachio Tart

    Simply flavored but incredibly delicious, this pistachio-packed tart is a French-inspired finale to a holiday party. It's rich, dense, and infused with the sweet essence of honey.

Makes: 8 servings
Prep   25 mins 
Bake   35 mins  375°F 

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