Top Pastries from Around the World

A pastry is basically any food made from dough consisting of flour, water, and shortening. However, that general description can be used as the base for an almost unquantifiable amount of unique and delicious dishes from around the world. And here at VBT we know a little something about world travel. As experiencing the native cuisine in your travel destination is such a distinct part of your travel experience, we thought it would be fun to compile a list of some of the tastiest pastries from around the world.

Apple Pie (2)United States: Apple Pie
Despite the expression “as American as Apple Pie,” this dish actually originated in Europe. However, it became widely popular among American settlers in the early 1800’s, especially in Delaware, and has morphed into a distinctly American dessert often served “a la mode” with a scoop of ice cream.

FranzbroetchenGermany: Franzbrötchen
Traditionally a breakfast pastry, this dish is made from dough, butter and cinnamon and is very common in the northern part of the country near Hamburg.

Gur cakeIreland: Gur Cake
This dish which originated in Dublin—the name is derived from a contraction of “gutter cake” with an Irish accent—is made from an inexpensive mixture of bread crumbs, raisins and a sweetener spread between two layers of pastry.

KrostuleCroatia: Kroštule
This traditional pastry found on the Dalmatian Islands will remind you of visiting the fair as a child as it is basically the Croatian version of deep fried dough.

StrukliSlovenia: Štruklji
This traditional Slovene dish is typically made from buckwheat dough which is flattened, filled with either sweet or savory ingredients and rolled up, baked (or fried or boiled) and cut into slices. VBT travelers will learn to make this on our Slovenia, Austria & Italy biking vacation.

KouignamannFrance: Kouign-amann
France, of course, is known for amazing pastries like éclairs and croissants; but is also home to this Breton puff pastry-like cake made from dough, butter and sugar.  

CannoliItaly: Cannoli
This delectable Sicilian dessert consists of fried pastry dough filled with a mixture containing ricotta cheese and topped with anything from chocolate chips to pistachios.

Basque Region: Gateau Basque
This unique dish found in Basque country is made from an almond flour cake filled with pastry cream and fruit, like cherries.

Pate ChaudVietnam: Pâté Chaud
This French inspired pastry common in Vietnamese bakeries is decidedly savory and consists of a puff pastry filled with ground meat like pork or chicken.

Smith islandMaryland: Smith Island Cake
The Smith Island Cake—which is the State Dessert of Maryland—is a local spin on a traditional English torte. The Smith Island Cake typically has from 7  to 10 thin layers of yellow cake with each layer covered in either chocolate  frosting or sometimes banana, orange or coconut.

If you consider yourself a “Foodie” and would like to learn more about VBT’s special Culinary Departures on vacations to the Amalfi Coast, Tuscany or Vietnam please click here.

Maryland Crab Cakes Recipe

When you think of local cuisine in the Chesapeake Bay the first thing that comes to mind are crabs. The best time of year to enjoy the fresh meat of the Maryland state crustacean— the blue crab—is from April to December. These tasty crabs can be served in a variety of ways from fried whole soft-shell crabs to crab rolls to crab salad. Today, we’d like to share with you a recipe for Maryland crab cakes that is sure to please your taste buds, courtesy of finecooking.com

- 1 lb. jumbo lump or backfin lump crabmeat, fresh or pasteurized
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1-1/2 tsp. Dijon mustardCrabCakes
- 1-1/2 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
- 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
- 1-1/4 cups fresh breadcrumbs (from
soft white sandwich bread,
such as Pepperidge Farm)
- 1 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
- 1 Tbs. olive oil
- Lemon wedges for serving

Cooking Directions
- Clean the Crab Meat—depending on the source of your crabmeat you may have to drain the meat or pick through it for shells
- Place crab meat in a mixing bowl and set aside
- In another bowl mix the egg, mayonnaise, mustard, Old Bay seasoning, lemon juice,
Worcestershire sauce, and 1/4 tsp of salt
- Add the contents of the bowl to the crab and mix gently with your hands until well combined
- Add the breadcrumbs and the parsley to the mixture and mix them in thoroughly but gently as you do not want to turn the mixture into a mash
- Cover the combined ingredients with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 to 3 hours
- Shape the crab mixture into 8 cakes about 1 inch thick.
- In a 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat the butter with the olive oil over medium heat. When the butter is frothy, add the cakes to the pan (8 should fit comfortably).
- Cook until dark golden brown on the underside, about 4 minutes. Flip the cakes, reduce the heat to medium low, and continue cooking until the other side is well browned, 4 to 5 minutes.
- Serve with lemon wedges on the side for squeezing over the cakes.

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