An overview of famous Christmas desserts around Europe

When its Christmas time, you know that means the must Christmas tree, Christmas carols, gifts … but the magic of Christmas is also flavors that tickle our taste buds to bring us back to our childhood and remind us some of the most cherished memories … The pastry chefs compete with ingenuity to revisit the traditional Christmas desserts. But do you really know them? Here are some typical desserts end the Christmas meal on a sweet note around Europe!

The Christmas log

The ultimate Christmas dessert in France. It is also very popular in many French-speaking countries like Belgium and Switzerland. But did you know that originally the Christmas log was…made of wood? The tradition was that a large trunk was specially carefully selected for use in the fireplace on Christmas Eve. The ‘Christmas log’ was thus destined to burn slowly throughout the Christmas eve night and it had to come from a fruit tree to ensure a good harvest in the coming year. During the lighting it had to be blessed was blessed by the head of the household. It was in the 19th century that we saw the appearance of rolled chocolate cake and covered with chocolate or mocha substituting the traditional wood log. More yummy over the years, this holiday delicacy little by little diverted from its original form, and we now find it destructured or covered with a pistachio ganache or a passion fruit jelly for a tropical touch.


The panettone

This brioche, typically served at Christmas in Italy, dates from the Middle Ages, when the traditional bread  was garnished with honey and dried fruits for the holidays. Nowadays it is prepared with flour, candied fruit, raisins, citrus zest, eggs and butter. This sweet treat with a height of about 13 to 15 cm must be cooked in a panettone pan.


Le Christmas pudding

The very British Christmas pudding also known as the ‘plum pudding’ is the traditional British and Irish sweet treat  during the Christmas season.  Queen Elizabeth would even have her own recipe for this iconic cake. Until 1595 the Christmas pudding was a porridge made from beef and mutton, with raisins, prunes, wine and spices. Eggs and breadcrumbs were added to give it the appearance of a pudding and beer and spirits to add flavor. It was during the Victorian era that it became a sweet preparation when the meat was removed from the recipe to add sugar and brandy. The contemporary pudding is steamed in a round mold on Advent Sunday (5 weeks with Christmas).


This confectionery is very popular in Spain at end of year parties. This hard nougat of rectangular shape is obtained from cooking honey (or sugars), egg white and peeled and grilled almonds. It may be accompanied by liqueurs, dried fruits or even chocolate among others.

The Christollen

This cake is THE German Christmas specialty, the local equivalent of our Christmas log. This pastry is a lightly baked brioche sprinkled with icing sugar and stuffed with candied fruit peel of almonds or even marzipan, to evoke the little Jesus, a swaddled baby.

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