Our Favourite European Christmas Desserts

Christmas is all about family, presents and snow. However, there’s one thing in particular that we all look forward to when being together: food. Dishes don’t only bring family together, but they are a product of traditions and customs which enhance a sense of togetherness and happiness, especially during the holidays. I chose three European desserts to inspire you whether you’re preparing the ultimate delicious Christmas dinner, or if you’re just looking for some festive delicacies.

Firstly, we’re travelling to Italy!

Itality is not only the home country of pasta, pizza and tiramisu, but also the home to the delicious pandoro. This famous sweet bread originated in Verona, near Venice. The dessert comes from a tradition of breadmaking within the region, where in the Middle Ages only the wealthiest people could afford white bread. Pandoro is made with flour, sugar, eggs and butter and was primarily consumed in palaces and castles of nobles. Due to its reputation within the aristocracy and its golden colour, it gained the name of ‘pan d’oro’ which literally means ‘golden bread’. This dessert is highly popular during Christmas and New Year’s Eve and it’s usually covered by a layer of powdered sugar, resembling the Alps during winter. It can also be served with a variety of sweet sauces; my personal favourite is made with mascarpone (the same one used for tiramisu).

Recipe: font-family:"Calibri",sans-serif;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-fareast-font-family: Calibri;mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:Arial;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;mso-ansi-language: EN-GB;mso-fareast-language:EN-US;mso-bidi-language:AR-SA">https://www.chowhound.com/recipes/pandoro-27957

However, in case you’re craving a richer sweet bread there is also another variable called ‘panettone’. It’s similar to pandoro, but it actually originated from Milan and the traditional recipe contains either raisins or pieces of candied fruit or both!

Recipe: font-family:"Calibri",sans-serif;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-fareast-font-family: Calibri;mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:Arial;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;mso-ansi-language: EN-GB;mso-fareast-language:EN-US;mso-bidi-language:AR-SA">https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/panettone

The next delicious dish to include in out Christmas dinner menu is risalamande, a traditional Danish rice pudding.

It originates from the 1800s and wasn’t very popular at the time because the two main ingredients, rice and cinnamon, were only affordable for the wealthiest individuals. However, after World War II, every social class had the chance to enjoy risalamande. It’s made with rice, whipped cream, vanilla and chopped almonds, and it’s eaten cold accompanied by a sweet cherry sauce. The whipped cream was originally added to the dish to make the dessert last longer, as rice wasn’t a cheap product. The person who finds the almond in their pudding wins a prize, such as a marzipan pig or some chocolate, however the lucky individual can’t tell others he found it until everyone has eaten their whole risalamande. When playing with children, everyone usually gets an almond, so everyone is happy while celebrating Christmas together.

Recipe: font-family:"Calibri",sans-serif;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-fareast-font-family: Calibri;mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:Arial;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;mso-ansi-language: EN-GB;mso-fareast-language:EN-US;mso-bidi-language:AR-SA">https://nordicfoodliving.com/risalamande-danish-rice-dessert/ mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-fareast-font-family:Calibri;mso-fareast-theme-font: minor-latin;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Arial; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;mso-ansi-language:IT;mso-fareast-language:EN-US; mso-bidi-language:AR-SA">

Next stop: France!

Here the most famous dessert to eat during a hearty Christmas dinner is la bûche de Noël. It originates back to the Middle Ages, when one of the traditional customs during the festive period was to let burn a log of wood for three days so it would bring luck to the family. However, more and more people stopped burning wood, probably because Napoleon Bonaparte ordered to not use chimneys anymore, as the winter’s cold air was making the French population vulnerable to diseases. As families needed a symbol of tradition to share with their loved ones, la bûche de Noël was created. The dessert in fact resembles a log of wood as Genoise cake is rolled and covered by a chocolate buttercream. Today, the dessert has several variables across France, but the traditional version uses a vanilla jelly roll cake, chocolate ganache and a fork to make the outside of the dessert look like a proper log.

Recipe: font-family:"Calibri",sans-serif;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-fareast-font-family: Calibri;mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:Arial;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;mso-ansi-language: EN-GB;mso-fareast-language:EN-US;mso-bidi-language:AR-SA">https://www.thespruceeats.com/traditional-french-buche-de-noel-recipe-1375219 mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-fareast-font-family:Calibri;mso-fareast-theme-font: minor-latin;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:Arial; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;mso-ansi-language:IT;mso-fareast-language:EN-US; mso-bidi-language:AR-SA">