That unmistakable fall feeling is in the airâ€”weâ€™ll even go so far as to call it â€ścrispâ€ť outside. That means itâ€™s time to start baking and warming up the house with the aroma of spiced fruits, rich puddings and hearty cakes. Here are a few of our favorite autumn sweets from around the globe.
With origins in Vienna, this pastryâ€™s popularity spread rapidly through the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the late 19th century. You can find variations of â€śapple strudelâ€ť worldwide now, but the paper thin, flaky crust and cinnamon flavored apples are always recognizable.
This hearty beverage is perfect as breakfast; it will warm you with its sweet and rich texture. Milk and piloncillo (cane sugar) are thickened with masa (fine corn flour), then cinnamon sticks and vanilla are added to the brew on the stovetop. The chocolate variation is popular as the weather gets colder.
A tradition every fall in Ireland, â€śbrackâ€ť is a slightly sweet bread. Baked with tart dried fruits, the loaf traditionally hides a ring as well. Halloween fortune telling customs insist that whoever gets the slice of barmbrack with the ring is sure to be married within the year!
Indian Besan Laddoo
These balls are a staple at autumn festivals and events in Maharashtra. Chickpea flour, ghee (clarified butter), sugar, milk, saffron and cardamom are combined into dough, and then shaped into bite sized balls. If you celebrate Diwali this year, youâ€™re sure to see laddoo amongst the spread of traditional treats.
Italian Torta di Noci
Perfect on a chilly afternoon with a cup of coffee, this dense, flavor-packed cake is restorative. Anise, cinnamon and sometimes candied fruit bits or lemon zest are added to balance the bold walnuts, and though some bakers like to add rich dark chocolate to the mix, purists insist that the nuts be the focus of the dish.
French Poires au Vin Rouge
Leave it to the French to come up with a dessert thatâ€™s so simple, yet so sophisticated. Poach your delicate whole pears in a good red wine (from France, obviously) thatâ€™s been spiced with peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon sticks and vanilla. Anjou or Bosc pears work particularly well for this traditional dish.
American Pumpkin Pie
A long standing symbol for the harvest season, pumpkin pie is sweet and hearty and as American as well, pie! Itâ€™s traditionally made with the cooked pulp of a pumpkin, cream, eggs, and sugar. Spices like nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon and cloves are added for that unmistakable aroma of fall.
English Sticky Toffee Pudding
Though the origin of this dessert is much disputed in the UK, youâ€™ll hardly care once you take your first decadent bite of sticky toffee pudding. A dense but moist cake of dates or prunes is steamed and then topped with cream and sugar-high inducing toffee sauce in this singular treat. Itâ€™s a tradition you must indulge in on a gray, blustery fall afternoon in Britain.
Nuremberg is a haven for this widely loved confectionâ€”Gingerbread! Served either in almond festooned cookies or plump loaves, gingerbread is the spicy and sweet flavor that lets you know the holidays are coming. A miasma of dried spices like anise, nutmeg, cloves and cardamom are added to the strong ginger flavor, and often ground hazelnuts, lemon zest and orange liqueur round out the treat.
Portuguese Arroz Doce
Warm, sweet and comforting, this Iberian version of rice pudding is a favorite of old and young alike. Cooked white rice is simmered with milk, sugar, spices and raisins until a creamy, custard texture is achieved, then the cook festoons the dish with pretty patterns of sprinkled cinnamon.
Tell us about your favorite fall dessert in the comments! Did you taste while you were on vacation abroad? Make your luxury hotel bookings this autumn with Excellenthotels.com, where youâ€™ll find the best rates in Europe, the US and beyond!