As we explore desserts around the world, we enter a continent that also contains the largest desert, the Sahara desert in Africa. I am heading there this April. Until then I will dream about these desserts I will try in Africa.
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Contributed by Sarah from Borders & Bucket Lists
Basboosa is one of the most widely enjoyed Egyptian foods. This semolina cake topped with syrup has been eaten in the country for centuries! Each individual syrup-laden square of basboosa is topped with a single nut as decoration, which is a wonderful touch.
As with many popular desserts, there are a couple of variations of basboosa. While some versions of basboosa are topped with a rose water-infused syrup, other versions are covered in an orange-infused syrup. As expected, if you prefer flowery flavors, the rose water basboosa is the way to go. On the other hand, if fruity notes are your preference, opt for the orange-infused basboosa.
from Kenny of Knycx Journeying
Due to its closeness to the Arab World, many Egyptian cuisines have a trace of the Middle East, like Baklava. The pastry is a rich sweet dessert made of layers of filo filled. The scrumptious dessert has so many variations and I am surprised at every meal in different places. They could be filled with chopped nuts, hazelnuts, pistachio, walnuts or almonds. Some of them substitute milk for the syrup.
While Baklava could be found in Egypt, it is also common in the Middle East, and even Greece, Caucasus, Balkans, and Central Asia. Although sometimes Balkava might taste a bit too sweet for me, I love the texture that is crunchy yet incredibly light. It’s one of my favorite and I always have one after a meal when I was in Egypt.
By Rai of A Rai of Light
My favorite food in Egypt and one of the best desserts to try is konafah. A traditional Middle Eastern dessert, it is made with thin noodle-like pastry, filled with creamy unripened cheese, and baked to a deliciously rich treat. Konafah looks like noodles before it is cooked in a circular tray at home. After being baked, it is soaked in a sweet, sugar-based syrup and can then be served hot, warm, or cold, going down perfectly with some mint tea. Fortunately, the locals enjoy it as much as I do and it can be found in cafes and vendors throughout the country.
Among foreign visitors, Mozambique is mostly known for its seafood, but there’s a lot more to Mozambican cuisine. In fact, most of the seafood dishes you see served in restaurants are eaten only by tourists, as locals can’t afford them. To experience authentic Mozambican food, you need to head to the streets and the markets to taste the country’s street food. Not only will you have a more authentic culinary experience, the food you’ll find on the street is also much cheaper and really tasty!Those with a sweet tooth should seek out etoritory, a local treat that’s like a homemade peanut fudge. If you like peanut butter, you will love etoritory! It crumbles and melts in your mouth, kind of like eating the center of a Reese’s peanut butter cup. It’s typically baked in wide sheets and then cut up into squares or other shapes and sold by local women and children on the streets.
By Amber from Food And Drink Destinations
by Wendy of The Nomadic Vegan
By Louisa “Or-More” Moje of Island Revel
Chin-chin is probably one of the most liked Nigerian desserts. It is a deep-fried crunchy snack that looks like donuts and about the size of peanuts. Chin-chin is made from a dough mixture of flour, sugar, butter, milk, baking powder and sometimes a sprinkle of ground nutmeg. It is considered a light refreshment like chips that can be eaten as is or with cold drinks.
In the past, chin was made on special occasions. Now, they have evolved to become almost a staple for some families. Aside from the taste of this crunchy-goodness, chin-chin can last a long time if stored in air-tight containers to maintain its texture and crunch. I craved this delicious dessert so much that I had some shipped to me in Alaska!
Contributed by Louisa Moje of La Passion Voutee
There’s no denying that puff puff needs no introduction with West Africans.
Arguably one of the simplest desserts and most sought after street snacks, Puff Puff, is made from a mixture of flour, sugar, yeast, water, and salt. Simple right? It’s easier said than done. But, the result of a perfect executed Puff Puff cannot be underestimated.
Loved by kids and adults alike, a West African party would be incomplete without a serving of this dessert. Love your Puff Puff with a twist, add a touch of ginger, nutmeg, or whatever your heart desires. Indeed, there’s no end in sight at the sight of Puff Puffs #NoPunIntended!
From Michelle at Greedy Gourmet
One of the must-try desserts of South Africa is malva pudding. Malva pudding is also commonly referred to as marshmallow pudding. Its name also stems from the word malvalekker, which is translated to marshmallow. Hence, it is a cake with an incredibly soft texture. It is best served warm and with a caramel or vanilla sauce topping. You can also try it with Africa’s fruity liqueur, Amarula.
Although malva pudding is a rather traditional South African dessert, it only started to gain popularity overseas in 2006. It was introduced by Oprah’s personal chef Art Smith, who served it on Christmas show. Since then malva pudding has gone viral.
To learn more about malva pudding and how to make it, check out my food and travel blog.
From Sabine of The Travelling Chilli
From Wendy of The Nomadic Vegan
Eswatini, until recently known as Swaziland, is a tiny African kingdom that sits on the border between Mozambique and South Africa. As you might expect, many of its local specialty dishes are shared with neighboring countries. One of these is mafetsi, a popular treat of fried balls of dough that you’ll see sold on street corners by local vendors. They are also very popular at local fairs and festivals, such as the spectacular Umhlanga or Reed Dance Festival.
These balls go by different names in other southern African countries, but in Eswatini they are known as mafetsi. They are basically like doughnut holes, except that they are not as sweet as typical Western doughnuts. You could probably ask for extra sugar to be sprinkled over them if you want a sweeter taste, but most locals prefer them with just a touch of sweetness.
Contributed by Lydia from Africa Wanderlust
Have you ever heard of a meat pie? I am sure you have! How about a Nigerian meat pie? My guess is no! Meat pie in West Africa is one of the most popular snacks in the region. With influence from the British culture, this pastry is sold at many bakeries and has become the de facto of the West African desert.
A meat pie is a savory dessert made with flour, sugar, salt, and stuffed with sauteed meat. The buttery crust pastry has a rich flavor, and the flaky crust crumbles in your mouth as you take a bite. Once you have your first bite, you will be unable to stop eating until it is all gone. It has the right balance between sweet and savory, as most traditional West African desserts are not very sweet as we have in the United States.
Meat pie and other traditional desserts like puff puff or fried plantains are necessary for the perfect African Christmas. If you are reading this post after the holiday season and not currently in the region, you should find West African restaurants in your area. They most likely will have meat pie on the menu. Once you try it, then you will truly understand why meat pie is one of the best desserts in West Africa.
Which African dessert are you dreaming of?