HomeFood & DrinkFood Heroes

Around the world in 10 delicious pastries

3 min read

Around the world in 10 delicious pastries
Whether you find yourself savouring a croissant in a Parisian café or biting into a samosa at a bustling Indian market, each pastry tells a story
In the enchanting world of culinary wonders, where flavours transcend borders and textures weave tales of tradition, few delights evoke as much universal joy as pastries. As we welcome the advent of National Pastry Day in December, we embark on this delectable journey around the globe to honour these sweet and savoury treasures. Join us as we explore pastries from every corner of the world, indulging in the sweetness of cultural exchange. 

1. Croissant

Let's commence our global pastry tour in the enchanting streets of Paris with the iconic croissant. This crescent-shaped masterpiece, known for its buttery, flaky layers, has become a breakfast staple worldwide.
"The croissant stands as a testament to the French artistry of baking"
Legend has it that the croissant was inspired by the crescent moon, symbolising victory over the Ottoman Empire during the 17th century. Today, it stands as a testament to the French artistry of baking and is a symbol of indulgence and sophistication. 

2. Baklava

Our journey then takes us to the sun-soaked lands of the Middle East, where the baklava reigns supreme.
Layers of thin filo pastry, generously filled with a mosaic of chopped nuts and sweetened with honey or syrup, create a dessert fit for royalty. This exquisite pastry has become a symbol of celebration in many Middle Eastern and Balkan cultures.

3. Pastel de Nata

Portugal introduces us to the sublime pleasure of Pastel de Nata, a custard tart with a crispy, golden crust. These petite pastries, with their smooth custard filling and delicate layers, are a staple in Portuguese bakeries and have enchanted dessert lovers worldwide. The delicate balance of sweetness and texture in each bite reflects the passion and precision of Portuguese pastry chefs.

4. Empanada

The empanada, a pastry filled with a variety of savoury delights, takes us on a journey across Latin America, Spain, and even to the Philippines. These hand-held treasures come in various shapes and sizes, each region adding its unique twist to the filling.
"The empanada takes us on a journey across Latin America, Spain, and even to the Philippines"
Whether it's the savoury blend of meats and spices or the comforting embrace of a vegetarian filling, the empanada is a testament to the adaptability of pastry in embracing diverse culinary traditions.

5. Samosa

Stepping into the vibrant tapestry of Indian cuisine, we encounter the samosa. This triangular pastry, filled with spiced potatoes, peas and sometimes meat, is a popular street food and a staple at festive gatherings.
Its crispy exterior and flavourful interior have made it a global favourite, representing the art of street food with a perfect blend of spices and tradition.

6. Pirozhki

Our pastry adventure continues to Russia, where pirozhki beckon with their promise of comfort. These small, baked or fried buns come filled with an array of ingredients, from savoury mixtures of meat and cabbage to sweet fruit fillings.
Each bite tells a story of Russian hospitality and culinary creativity, reflecting the resilience and resourcefulness ingrained in the nation's history. 

7. Mooncake

As we venture into the heart of China, the mooncake takes centre stage. A traditional delicacy enjoyed during the Mid-Autumn Festival, the mooncake boasts a thin crust and various fillings, such as sweet bean paste or lotus seed paste.
"As we venture into the heart of China, the mooncake takes centre stage"
Beyond its culinary appeal, the mooncake is a symbol of unity and family gathering under the moonlight, carrying deep cultural significance in every bite.

8. Alfajor

Our journey takes a sweet detour to Argentina, where the alfajor reigns supreme. This South American delight consists of two delicate cookies sandwiching a luscious layer of dulce de leche, often coated in chocolate or powdered sugar.
A true indulgence for those with a sweet tooth, the alfajor reflects the warmth and sweetness of Argentine culture, inviting everyone to savour life's simple pleasures.

9. Cannoli

Italy beckons us with the irresistible cannoli. Hailing from Sicily, these tube-shaped pastries boast a crunchy shell filled with sweet, creamy ricotta cheese.
Dusted with powdered sugar and sometimes adorned with candied fruit, cannoli showcase the artistry of Italian pastry chefs. Each bite is a celebration of the rich culinary heritage that Italy brings to the global table. 

10. Kouign-Amann

Our global pastry journey concludes in the enchanting region of Brittany, France, with the divine Kouign-Amann. This Breton pastry, often dubbed the "butter cake," is a symphony of layers, with butter and sugar creating a caramelised, crispy exterior that gives way to a tender, flaky interior. The Kouign-Amann embodies the dedication to craftsmanship and the appreciation of simple, high-quality ingredients that define French pastry traditions. 
Keep up with the top stories from Reader's Digest by subscribing to our weekly newsletter