Bulgarian desserts range from the simple to the elaborate and have been influenced by Greece, Turkey, Austria, and Germany. This reflects the different ethnic groups and culinary traditions that come together in Balkans.
The classic Bulgarian dessert is a creamy rice pudding, oriz puding, flavored with rose water, and sometimes garnished with rose petals. Made with simple ingredients, it is a satisfying end to a meal and is often served in Bulgarian homes.
Nuts are often a part of Bulgarian desserts. Chestnuts, walnuts, hazelnuts, and pistachios are widely used and appear in French-type tarts and Greek- and Middle Eastern-like cakes dripping with syrup like Balkan baklava. Bulgarian baklava is a popular dessert and typically uses walnuts and honey syrup.
You will often see crepes or pancakes offered for dessert in Bulgarian restaurants. These are served with sweet toppings or filled with chocolate pudding and whipped cream, honey, or jam.
You'll also enjoy additional sweets after the dessert, served with strong Turkish coffee. These usually include lokum (Turkish delight), which are soft candies made from apples, plums, raisins, or figs rolled in powdered sugar. Pickled fruits and preserves may also be served to offset the coffee as you enjoy more conversation with your hosts or guests.
Bulgarian Dessert Recipes
If you want to end a Bulgarian meal right, try these recipes.
Bulgarian Rice Pudding Recipe: Oriz puding is what you may often be served for dessert in Bulgaria. This is common to many cultures, but in Bulgaria, you will find it has lemon zest added. It's made with humble ingredients—short-grain rice, milk, butter, sugar, and cinnamon. It is garnished with pistachios and rose petals.
Bulgarian Roasted Peaches Recipe: This is a simple Bulgarian dessert, taking little time and only four ingredients. It's perfect to make when peaches are ripe and available, baking them with spices, butter, and sugar. Then you can top it with whipped cream or cool it down with ice cream.
Bulgarian Sweet Pumpkin Banitza Recipe: Also known as tikvenik, this is a sweet version of the savory cheese banitza. Flaky filo dough is filled with sweet pumpkin to enjoy with your strong coffee after the meal.
Bulgarian Apple-Walnut Banitza Recipe: Here, you see walnuts and apples used as the filling for filo dough. It makes a good accompaniment to coffee after the meal.
Bulgarian Cherry Strudel Recipe: Chereshata Shtrudel is one of the many varieties of strudel you will see in the Balkans. Besides cherry. typical fillings may be poppyseed, raisin, sweet cheese, and apple. You can also see step by step how this strudel is made so you'll be ready to produce your own.
Bulgarian Christmas Jam-Filled Cookies: For the holidays, you may see these maslenki cookies made with tart jam for filling. Traditionally, they would be made with lard, but you can substitute butter. Instead of jam, they can be filled with chopped rose-flavored Turkish delight, and then called lokumki. They would make a great treat to have with coffee.