Macedonian cuisine is not only rich with meals but also desserts. Yes, you can find so many different ones that you won’t be able to try them if you are visiting just for a few days. This is because most of them are very sweet and only one piece will do the job and you won’t be able to take another bite.
While I am more into chocolate-based cakes and cookies I still can’t say no when I see baklava, pufki/celufki (depending on the city), and crepes. Even though they are sweet and a lot of sugar is used to make most of the Macedonian desserts, each home makes and eats them without thinking too much about weight, especially for the holidays. The holidays are always the best excuse to make a great traditional dessert.
Luckily, there are candy shops and restaurants where you can buy them every single day and you will get them made by the original recipe. You can also find them in stores and even though they are good they are not that good when bought from a candy shop or made at home.
The Best Macedonian Desserts
Let me start with Baklava. This is a dessert pastry that was brought in Macedonian during the Ottoman Empire. Since then it becomes our traditional dessert too. It made from layers of pastry that once assembled with one type of nuts usually walnuts, hazelnuts, or pistachios or a mix of them it is covered with sherbet (a syrup made from sugar and water). The end result is amazing, sweet, rich and the top layer crispy. Magical!
If you open up the recipe books in Macedonian’s homes you will definitely find Gurabii in every single one. These are one of the easiest, delicious and mouth-melting type of cookies that go perfectly with coffee or as a quick bite when you are too hungry to wait for lunch or dinner. These are made from a simple dough and the inside of these cookies are filled with walnuts, just a little bit of cinnamon and sugar.
3. Ekleri (Eclairs)
I can’t take my mind off the image when my mother made these for me. I remember that it was a very delicate job, especially when baking the dough. You really needed experience in order to make them. I was always curious about cooking and baking and I will never forget when my mum would say “ Don’t Open the Oven!”. This phrase was even used when I was just looking at how they were baking. Everyone was very careful when these precious Eclairs were made. Once cooled they were cut in half and filled with delicious cream. You can find them everywhere in restaurants, candy shops, stores or even buy the baked dough and fill them yourself but there are not like the homemade ones.
4. Apple Pie or Lazy Pie
Why lazy? Because it is ideal when you don’t have a lot of time or you just feel lazy to cook but you are craving something sweet and delicious. Plus it is the best pie ever thanks to the apples that grow in Macedonia.
5. Preserve – Green Figs
I am not that into fruit preserves because they are too sweet for my taste but when it comes to green figs preserve I just must have one. Yes, only one, they are too sweet. But what I most like is the syrup and it goes perfectly with crepes.
6. Pufki/Celufki (kisses)
These are cookies as white as the snow. One of the many recipes that take me back when I was a child is “pufki” especially when my mom made them and how my sister just couldn’t wait to eat them. I like them but not as much as my sister. They are very delicate to make and are made from egg whites, vinegar, and sugar. Even though there are only three ingredients used it takes patience and practice in order to make and bake them. Not everyone can make the perfect ones, I still need some practice too.
I can go on and on but for now, I think these 6 desserts are enough to show you just one small part of the dessert world in Macedonia. There are more like “Tulumba”, “sweet bread”, “tatlija”, “kadaif”, etc. More about them in another time.
Now don’t forget; if you truly want to taste the best dessert make sure that they are homemade. This is the best way to taste what Macedonian Desserts are all about.