13 Delicious Moldovan Desserts that Deserve the Spotlight
The first things that comes to mind when thinking about Moldova are likely to be excellent wineries, the famous rock band Zdob și Zdub, and the fascinating cuisine. What few people know about, however, is that the country boasts a wide range of mouth-watering desserts.
Moldovan cuisine is a combination of influence from several countries, such as Romania, Ukraine, and Russia. But Moldovan culture is about making things their own and that means adding something to make their dishes unique. The same goes for their desserts.
So if you have a sweet tooth and are looking for new food experiences, keep reading to learn more about Moldovan signature desserts!
1. Cușma lui Guguță (Gugutsa’s Hat)
The first thing that will spring to mind, of course, is who is Guguță? Well, he is one of the most famous Moldovan folktale characters and the shape of the multiple-layered crepes resemble his hat.
It’s a great cake for those who like to keep down the sweetness as the sourness of the cherries creates the perfect balance.
2. Plăcinte (Pies with Various Fillings)
One of the must-try desserts in Moldova is undoubtedly plăcinte. Fortunately, you’ll have no difficulty finding them as they can be found at almost every restaurant and bakery across the country.
Plăcinte comes with a whole variety of fillings, and not only sweet: potatoes, cabbage, and cottage cheese, for example. The sweet versions include pumpkin, cherry, and apple.
3. Sfințișori or Mucenici (Sweet Bread with Honey and Walnuts)
Also known as Moldavian Martyrs, sfințișori is an authentic dessert served with honey and walnuts. With a crispy and sticky exterior and fluffy insides, this will satisfy your sweet craving at the first bite.
And why is this bread a figure of eight? The answer is simple. The shape refers to the 8th of March, the day before the Christian feast of the 40 Martyrs, when people bake 40 sfințișori for the traditional holiday.
4. Smetannik (Vanilla-cream Cake)
Even though smetannik is considered a famous Russian dessert, it’s equally popular in Moldova. Smetannik is a delicate cake with several layers filled with sweet vanilla sour cream and topped with white icing.
It’s one of the most frequently-served desserts at birthday and wedding parties. However, you will also find it in most local supermarkets, restaurants, and bakeries across Moldova.
5. Cozonac (Easter Sweet Bread)
Cozonac can be found in countries other than Moldova, though the recipes vary from place to place. Moldavians, for example, add lemon zest to the dough, while others prefer raising, hazelnuts, or even grated orange.
Your taste buds will be blown away by this citrus-scented sweet dough and its nutty filling. Thanks to its festive appearance and delicate texture, cozonac is one of the most-served dishes during holidays.
6. Prune Uscate cu Nuci (Walnut-stuffed Prunes)
Fortunately, modern cuisine offers a lot of healthy alternatives to traditional sugar-heavy desserts. Moldovan walnut-stuffed prunes are one such option which not only give you a sweet and nutty flavor. they also provide a boost of beta carotene and vitamin K.
They are very simple to prepare. Simply soak dried prunes for a couple of hours in water and then stuff them with toasted walnuts. And if you like a little bit of naughtiness, you could serve them in a glass with a whipping cream topping.
7. Pască (Easter Bread with Sweet Cheese)
This sweet treat is similar to cozonac but includes sweet cheese and raisins, giving it a flavor something between a cheesecake and a panettone. The soft exterior and incredibly creamy filling make this something delicious.
The yellow and white colors of the bread are Christian symbolism, which is probably why locals like to bake it for Easter. While the white swirl represents the Holy Spirit, the yellow implies Jesus’s resurrection.
8. Papanași: Cottage Cheese Pancakes
Even if you’re not a fan of deep-fried dishes, you will not be able to resist the incredible taste of this cheesy treat. Papanași is a perfect combination of rich cottage cheese and crunchy texture.
Restaurants or cafés often serve it accompanied by strawberry or blueberry jam, honey, sour cream, and fresh fruits. Papanasi is also a favorite dessert in neighboring Romania.
9. Cornulețe (Local Rugelach)
Another traditional sweet treat that should be tried at least once is cornulețe. These luscious pastries are filled with jam, chocolate, walnuts, or even Turkish delight. Whatever filling you dream for, these sweets have got it!
They are usually baked during the Christmas period and other holidays. But you can find them at bakeries all year round.
10. Plachia (Sweet Rice Pudding)
This sweet treat is one of Moldovan kids favorites. And that’s because it is not a simple rice pudding of rice and milk – plachia is well-baked with eggs, butter, and vanilla extract. Many cook it on the stove for a100% authentic childhood taste, but when oven cooked it gets a crunchy brown edge.
You might also add raisins or fruit to spice the treat up some more and make it a lot more delicious.
11. Colțunași cu Brânză or Chiroște (Cheese Dumplings)
Just in case the name of this dish gives you the wrong idea, colțunași are not always filled with cheese. They can also be filled with sweet jams, making them perfect for parties.
In general, these dumplings come in two varieties: colțunași harnici, literally “hard-working dumplings”, and colțunași lenoși, “lazy dumplings”. Their names derive from the cooking technique for each one, as hard-working dumplings require a bit more effort and take longer to cook.
12. Baba Neagra (Luscious Chocolate Cake)
The recipe for this chocolate pie is unique. The ingredients are relatively simple but its brown color is not due to the chocolate or cocoa. Baba Neagra is baked for up to 4 hours.
There are various recipes for this well-baked pudding, but the best ones give you with a soft, porous, elastic pudding that melts in your mouth.
13. Baba Alba (White Noodle Pudding)
This pudding, literally “white woman”, is a traditional dish loved by children, and many adults too. The great thing about it is that no sophisticated ingredients are involved.
Baba Alba is a simple and delightful combination of pasta, milk, eggs, and raisins. Once baked, it gives you an excellent vanilla flavor and soft texture.
Traditional Moldovan Desserts that Travel Through Time
The influence of Western cuisine means that some traditional Moldovan desserts are becoming less common, although you’ll find many recipes are still passed down through the generations.
So when you arrive in Moldova, try to look passed the Western eateries and search out some of the classic Moldovan cuisine, particularly its outstanding desserts.
Related: Popular Moldovan Foods