Delicious Holiday Pies and Tarts From Around The World

Written by Cambria Sinclair | Edited By: Aditi Khandelwal

November 24, 2020

Sinclair, Cambria. “Eat Around the World, Pies and Tarts From Around The World.” graphic design. Nov. 2020, Accessed 17 Nov. 2020.

Holiday Season is in the air, with joyous Christmas music playing at grocery stores, meal planning for thanksgiving, and holiday decorations going up around peoples homes. With all of the holiday festivities around us, let’s not forget that the holiday season is starting to look a little different for some families this year. Why not make light of some changes this season by spicing up your holiday meals with some unique micro-ethnic worldly pies and tarts.  If you are planning on having a holiday gathering with your family, an intimate celebration with your close friends, or a festive meal for yourself and your pet- why not take the opportunity to explore new cuisines with this wonderful assortment of pies and tarts. And for those of you with dietary restrictions, every effort was made to have gluten free and vegan versions of these recipes.

Buko Pie

From

The Philippines

We begin our micro-ethnic pie and tart journey in the Philippines, Gabrielle Marchan, a graphic designer for Cook and Culture, shared some of her family’s favorite Filipino recipes with me. The buko pie stood out to me as a unique dessert that combines tender young coconut meat, a rich flaky pie crust, and silky cream filling. The Buko pie originated in Los Baños, Laguna, from a shop called The Orient. Kawaling Pinoy, a Filipino and Asian recipe blog, has a delicious recipe for the Buko pie from Bebs at the Foxy Folksy and gives a great mini-history lesson about the Buko pie.

Substitutes:

Pie Crust

Flour (GF – Bob’s Red Mill gluten free all-purpose flour

Lard (V – vegetable shortening ratio 1:1)   OR   (butter + 3 Tbsp) 

Pie Filling

All-purpose cream (V – Cashew cream)   OR   (V – Coconut cream unsweetened) 

Egg wash 

Eggs (V – 2 Tbps coconut oil )   OR   (V –  2 Tbps non-dairy milk, and 1 Tbps agave nectar)

buko pie

Foxy Folksy, Bebs. https://www.kawalingpinoy.com/buko-pie/, 14 Dec. 2018, Accessed 10 Nov. 2020.

Sweet Potato Pie

From

Japan

Next we move onto Japan’s sweet potato pie, a soft and flaky pie that is great for an afternoon snack, dinnertime dessert, or both! The Japanese sweet potato is an extremely popular ingredient used in Japanese cuisine, purple in color and healthier than the normal potato. You can also try experimenting with this subtly sweet and savory ingredient in other dishes and desserts. Nami from Just One Cookbook, has a beautiful sweet potato pie recipe that I will be sharing with all of you today.

sweet potato pie

Substitutes: 

Puff Pastry 

Flour (GF – Bob’s Red Mill gluten free all-purpose flour) 

Butter (V – Vegan butter or margarine) 

Vegan puff pastry recipie

Filling

Unsalted butter ( V – coconut oil, or olive oil, or vegan butter) 

Egg yolk ( V – 1 Tbsp cornstarch to 3 Tbsp warm water – for thickening)   OR   ( V – Bob’s Red Mill egg replacer, follow their guide for conversions

Heavy Whipping cream ( V- coconut cream, or vegan soy cream, or dairy free heavy whipping cream alternative) 

Egg wash 

(V – 2 Tbps coconut oil )   OR   (V –  2 Tbps non-dairy milk, and 1 Tbps agave nectar)

Just One Cookbook, Nami. Jan. 2011, www.justonecookbook.com/sweet-potato-pie/. Accessed 10 Nov. 2020

Meat Pie

From

Nigeria

,Jumping across the globe we head to Nigeria for a savory meat pie dessert. Patrick Aziken, from the web development team at Cook and Culture, shared some of his culture’s desserts with me. The meat pie stood out for me at once because I love the concept of savory desserts. I personally have a reverence for salt, so a savory meat pie spoke wonders to me, and offered an option for those of you who, like me don’t have a huge sweet tooth. I learned that Nigeria boasts a multitude of savory desserts, due to an ancient cultural practice of avoiding overly sweet foods. Traditionally the meat pie is shaped in a half circle, however, this updated recipe showcases the pie as a 9-inch round. I hope you try out this meat pie recipe courtesy of All Nigerian Recipes, and explore more of what Nigerian Cuisine has to offer.

Substitutes: 

 Pie Dough 

Flour (GF – Bob’s Red Mill gluten free all-purpose flour) 

Margarine (V – Vegan butter or margarine) 

-Check out your local grocery store for pre-made pie crusts, most are vegan! 

Filling 

Minced Beef ( V – assorted vegetables equal to weight, celery, leek, turnip, or parsnip) for beef flavor try adding a small amount of Better Than Bouillon Vegetarian No Beef Base

Thickener 

Flour (GF – Bob’s Red Mill gluten free all-purpose flour)

Egg wash

Egg (V – 2 Tbps coconut oil )   OR   (V –  2 Tbps non-dairy milk, and 1 Tbps agave nectar)

Nigerian meat pie

My Active Kitchen. Feb. 2019, www.myactivekitchen.com/nigerian-meat-pie-recipe/. Accessed 16 Nov. 2020.

Zwetschge-nkuchen Tart

From

Germany

Our ethnic pie and tart journey takes us next to Europe, with Germany as the first stop. The German Zwetschgenkuchen tart is a plum tart that combines aromatic fruit preserves with Italian plums placed in a beautiful pattern to create a mouth watering masterpiece. Traditionally made with a short-crust dough and apricot preserves, the Zwetschgenkuchen tart is full of potential for variations in dough, filling, and decoration to cater to your personal taste. I recommend substituting fruit jams or preserves that are local to your area, to add a personal touch to your masterpiece.

plum tart

Substitutions: 

Pie Crust

Flour (GF – Bob’s Red Mill gluten free all-purpose flour) 

Butter (V – vegan butter or margerine) 

Egg yolk ( V – Bob’s Red Mill egg replacer, follow their guide for conversions)

Filling

Bread Crumbs ( GF – Make your own bread crumbs from your favorite GF bread by cutting or tearing the bread into small pieces, and bake at 300 degrees fahrenheit for 10 minutes)

Nathan, Joan. Kosher Eye, 2020, www.koshereye.com/best-kosher-recipes/desserts/4176-zwetschgenkuchen-italian-plum-tart.html. Accessed 10 Nov. 2020.

Linzer Torte

From

Austria

Germany’s next door neighbor Austria shines brightly with it’s world famous Linzer Torte. The Linzer torte is considered the oldest known cake, gaining popularity in Linz, Austria. The combination of hazelnuts, almonds, lemon, and jam creates a mouth watering dessert that you can’t help but come back to for seconds. I suggest you take some time to create unique lattice art on top of the torte to add some stunning visual appeal, and showcase your baking talents. And as always, it’s best to use homemade or locally produced jam. Unearth that jar of strawberry-rhubarb jam your grandma gave you, or visit your local farmers market to stack up some delicious jams and preserves.

Substitutions: 

Pie Crust

Flour (GF – Bob’s Red Mill gluten free all-purpose flour) 

Butter (V – vegan butter or margarine) 

Breadcrumbs

Substitute with a dusting of GF flour or regular flour

Filling/Egg wash

( V – Bob’s Red Mill egg replacer, follow their guide for conversions)

(V – 2 Tbps coconut oil )   OR   (V –  2 Tbps non-dairy milk, and 1 Tbps agave nectar)

linzer torte

Linz Tourismus. “The Linzer Torte.” Austria Direct, Sept. 2019, www.austriadirect.com/linzer-torte/. Accessed 10 Nov. 2020.

Bündner Nusstorte

From

Switzerland

Our next stop is Switzerland, and the Bündner Nusstorte. The Bündner Nusstorte is a tart with a shortcrust pastry filled with chopped walnuts and cream. This micro-ethnic pie is from the canton Graubünden region of Switzerland. According to Switzerland’s Culinary Heritage Association, the Bündner Nusstorte is one of the largest exports for independent bakers. Sales of the tart represent an estimated 20 to 40% of the total sales for many bakers. These nutty and delicious tarts are often eaten for dessert or paired with an afternoon tea. For further in-depth instructions look at this Bündner Nusstorte recipe.

swiss tart

Substitutions: 

Shortcrust pastry

Flour (GF – Bob’s Red Mill gluten free all-purpose flour) 

Butter (V – vegan butter or margerine, cold vegetable shortening)

Egg yolk ( V – Bob’s Red Mill egg replacer, follow their guide for conversions)   OR   ( V GF – Ener-G Egg Replacer) 

Filling

Cream (V – Coconut cream, dairy-free cream, cashew cream)

Kitchen Stories. “swiss walnut cake.” 2019, www.kitchenstories.com/en/recipes/bundner-nusstorte-swiss-walnut-cake. Accessed 10 Nov. 2020.

Tarte Tatin 

From

France

The world famous and highly adapted Tarte Tatin from France is our next decadent dessert. This tart is easy to create and is loved by home bakers and professional pastry chefs for it’s rustic and glossy look, and beautifully caramelized Honeycrisp apples. The tart is layered upside-down and then turned out onto a plate for serving. The flaky crust is layered with apple compote or frangipane (an almond cream/paste), and topped with apple slices. Popular at French Sunday brunches and casual weeknight dinners, this Tarte Tatin recipe from Pardon Your French will make your mouth water from it’s salty-sweet and deep apple flavor.

Substitutes: 

Pie Crust 

Flour (GF – Bob’s Red Mill gluten free all-purpose flour) 

Butter (V – vegan butter or margarine, cold vegetable shortening)

Egg yolk ( V – Bob’s Red Mill egg replacer, follow their guide for conversions)   OR   ( V GF – Ener-G Egg Replacer) 

Filling

Butter ( V – vegan butter, coconut oil, olive oil)

French apple tarte tatin

Pardon your French. “Classic Tarte Tatin.” Feb. 2019, www.pardonyourfrench.com/classic-tarte-tatin/. Accessed 10 Nov. 2020.

Phirni Tart

From

India

We travel south-east to India for the Phirni Tart. Cook and Culture’s grant specialist, Deepa Muthunoori, told me about this popular Diwali desert. The Indian festival was celebrated on November 14th this year. The Phirni Tart is an Indian rice pudding tart enrobed in a granola almond crust. Jenny from The Baking Skillet offers a twist to the traditional Indian tart, crediting an idea she had while eating breakfast and cooking with her mother. Try experimenting with the toasted coconut and pistachio topping, create mosaic patterns, motifs, or geometric designs. This easy and visually striking tart will wow whoever sees it.

Indian phirni tart

Substitutions: 

Crust

Honey (V – sugar, agave syrup) 

Filling

Gelatin (V – agar-agar: 1tsp agar powder sets 1 cup of liquid, Unflavored Vegan Jel and water: 1tsp gelatin equals 1 ½ tsp gel)

The Baking Skillet. “phirni.” Oct. 2016, www.thebakingskillet.com/phirni-indian-rice-and-coconut-pudding-tart-with-granola-almond-crust/. Accessed 10 Nov. 2020

Chocolate Pie

From

Mexico

We end our tour of micro-ethnic pies and tarts from around the world with the Chocolate pie from Mexico. Chocolate growth and consumption dates back the earliest to Mesoamericans, The Culture Trip explains that traces of chocolate were found in Mayan and Olmec ruins, as well as many others. Chocolate was traditionally consumed in drink form, now it is heavily used in many forms across Mexico for savory dishes and sauces, and sweet applications as well. The addition of chile powder to the chocolate filling creates a more complex and rich flavor, and cinnamon helps round out the earthy tones of the flavor profile. I encourage you to step out of your comfort zone with this recipe from The New York Times. While this recipe is innately vegan, that doesn’t mean that it’s not for everyone! The tofu and bittersweet chocolate offer many health benefits and nutrients, why not try a pie that is innately healthy? Then you don’t have to feel guilty about going back for that second or third piece.

Substitutions:

Crust

Graham Crackers ( check your local grocery store or health foods store for GF varieties from brands like Kinnikinnick Foods’ or Lucy’s)

chocolate pie

Wilson, Jim. The New York Times, 2017, cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1017772-vegan-mexican-chocolate-pie. Accessed 10 Nov. 2020

I hope this collection of micro-ethnic pies and tarts from around the world has inspired you to cook beyond your comfort zone. All of these desserts are great candidates for your holiday table. Beautiful and delicious, these pies and tarts showcase fresh and aromatic ingredients, and are easy enough to make for any skill level. If you make any of these pie or tarts tag us on Instagram so we can see your creation. If you have a favorite traditional pie or tart from your family that you would like to share, let us know and you could be featured on our social media. Happy baking and happy holidays everyone! 

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