Summer Treats: 2 International Desert Recipes for Any Occasion

desertSummer is a great time for food all around the world. Getting out and using the grill allows many to come up with some creative options for lunches and dinners. We’ve already shared with you some of our favorite international grilling recipes, and with summer a little more than halfway over, we’re providing you with a couple of perfect meal-ending dessert options from countries all over the world.

Sweet Vanilla-Polenta Pudding

This rich desert provides a great, mouthwatering taste developed from the tiny seeds from vanilla beans. Topped off with mascarpone cheese, this desert is an extension of a European classic with decadence and great flavor.


  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 of a vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup quick-cooking polenta mix
  • 1/4 – 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup mascarpone cheese, softened
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 cup apricot preserves or other preserves


Combine milk, split vanilla bean and salt into a medium saucepan and bring to simmer. Cover the pan and remove from heat, standing for 15 minutes and letting the milk fuse for flavor, then remove the vanilla bean and set it aside.

Let the milk mixture boil over medium to high heat, and then reduce to medium. Add polenta mix and stir throughout, then cook and stir for five to seven minutes or until the mixture has turned thick.  Remove from the heat, stir in sugar, cover and let it stand for five minutes.

In a small bowl, combine honey and mascarpone cheese, using the tip of a knife to scrape out seeds from the vanilla bean. Stir the vanilla seeds into the mascarpone mix. Divide the polenta mix among dishes, top with preserves and mascarpone mix and enjoy!

Canelés De Bordeaux

This French recipe dates back to an anonymous cook in Bordeaux, consisting of small cakes with rich rum and vanilla within a caramelized shell. It has multiple contrasting textures that range from crunchy to smooth, with the sweet taste of rum.


  • 1/2 liter milk
  • 2 whole eggs, plus
  • 2 egg yolks, beaten
  • 1/2 vanilla beans or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 -4 tablespoons rum
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Sugar


Boil milk with vanilla and butter a day before cooking. Cool slightly and mix flour and sugar together with eggs and egg yolks. Pour the mixture into hot milk, while gently mixing for a fluid and smooth feel, then add rum and refrigerate for 24 to 48 hours.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 250°C and cook for at least one hour. Carefully remove them while still hot and allow them to cool, and then serve them paired with a great drink at any time of the day.

Deserts might not be the types of dishes you think of when the temperature goes up, but all over the world, both hot and cool treats can be even more enjoyable during the summer time. Both the sweet vanilla-polenta pudding and the Canelés are great examples of post-meal classics that taste great for every occasion.

If you’d like to cook up an international treat this summer, follow International Food Club and sign up for our newsletter for news, specials, recipes and more. 

Recipe from Better Homes and Gardens:

Vanilla-Polenta Pudding

Recipe from


Photo by vonlohmann


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