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The Purple Tide

The student news site of Chantilly High School (Chantilly, VA)

The Purple Tide

The student news site of Chantilly High School (Chantilly, VA)

The Purple Tide

Cultural desserts sweeten up Christmas

As kitchens fill with the scents of aromatic spices and freshly-baked delicacies, households across the globe come alive with unique and cherished traditions. Age-old customs are rekindled and cultural culinary traditions are explored, adding distinctive regional specialties to dinner tables. Four Christmas dishes from different cultures offer unique flavors to sweeten up the holiday season.

Anjali Ashok

Mince Pies

Sweet mince pies are a classic British staple for the holiday season. These pastries are filled with a sweet and spiced mixture of dried fruits including raisins, apples and candied citrus peels. Served warm or cold with a dusting of powdered sugar, they are bite-sized treats to bring to festive tables and gatherings alike.

“I have always loved to bake and explore new dishes, so one day when I was looking for a dessert to make for Christmas Eve dinner, I came across mince pies and thought ‘I should try something new this year’,” junior Aniqa Ahmed said. “My family and I enjoy eating them fresh out of the oven with powdered sugar and vanilla or salted caramel ice cream on the top, but the beauty of it is that it is very versatile.”

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Anjali Ashok

Tres Leches Cake

This classical Latin American dessert is popular throughout the year, but can include a festive twist with the additions of eggnog, peppermint, gingerbread or mocha. Also known as a dulce de leche cake, this sponge cake is soaked in three kinds of milk: evaporated milk, condensed milk and whole milk. To soak up the milk mixture further, it can be prepared multiple days earlier and stored in a refrigerator.

“Tres leches cake has been a household favorite ever since I can remember,” sophomore Adeline Raines said. “Every Christmas Eve, my family and I make two desserts: one is unique and switches up every year, while this cake remains annually. This is one of those desserts that you can also enjoy for long periods of time, as long as it stays in the fridge since its spongy and moist texture will remain.”

 

 

Anjali Ashok

Cinnamon Rolls

This American dessert with a gooey cinnamon and sugar sauce coating a sweet and swirly dough is a common classic for the holiday season. After baking in the oven and being sliced into individual portions, these aromatic cinnamon pastries are often topped with a velvety cream cheese icing, adding a final layer of indulgence to this treat. Cinnamon rolls are common as a dessert, but can also be enjoyed as a breakfast item.

“Every year, my sisters and I wake up really early in the morning on Christmas day to make this treat,” junior Leila Zarnegar said. “We normally make it with the premade dough since it is easier and faster, but either way, the warm and gooey cinnamon rolls on a cold, Christmas morning is the best combination. When we sit to unwrap our gifts in the morning, we always munch on this treat, so it is now a longstanding tradition in our family.”

 

Anjali Ashok

Bûche de Noël

Also known as a Yule log, this French dish is a traditional Christmas dessert served during the holiday season. It is a decorative cake and takes the shape of a log to symbolize the Yule log that is traditionally burned in the hearth during the holiday season. It is typically made from a rolled sponge cake with chocolate, coffee or chestnut filling. The outer layer resembles the bark of a tree and is often adorned with nature decorations including meringue mushrooms and powdered sugar “snow.”

“When I used to live in France, my nearby friends and family would all come together to help decorate this dessert,” senior Aubane Goyet said. “Even after moving to America, we still make this dessert since it ties us back to our roots and reminds us of the Christmas seasons that we used to spend in France. It is definitely not the easiest dessert to prepare due to its many components, but the end product is worth the wait.” 

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About the Contributor
Anjali Ashok, Editor-in-Chief
Anjali is a senior in her fourth year with The Purple Tide. Outside of school, she is heavily involved in dance and often experiments with new styles to broaden her interest. She often spends her free time binge-watching shows, reading, baking and hanging out with her friends and family.
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