15 Most Popular Bulgarian Desserts
Bulgaria is a country situated at a culinary crossroad with a number of Bulgarian desserts that are influenced by the country’s vibrant past. Years under Ottoman Empire rule added some new spices to the Bulgarian cookbook. Also, communism had its impact on the cuisine, but Bulgaria is not shy when it comes to new age dishes as well. A mixture of history, spices, and flavors can be found in this part of the Balkans.
Bulgarian yogurt (in Bulgaria they call it sour milk) is something that the whole country is really proud of. It doesn’t have an equivalent anywhere in the world as it has no Lactobacillus bulgaricus, the bacteria that turns milk turn into yogurt, but Bulgarians use it in a lot of their desserts.
While Bulgarians love to experiment with foreign recipes, they also manage to adapt them to the national cuisine. But what are the desserts that Bulgarians really love to eat? Let’s see!
1. Garash cake
Garash cake is a Bulgarian chocolate cake with walnuts. It was invented in Ruse at the beginning of the 20th century. Interestingly enough, this cake has made it out of the Bulgarian border and is now popular in Western Europe as well. But why is it so famous?
Garash cake has a brilliant taste and delicate aroma. The taste of the walnuts in the layers compliment the chocolate mouse. To top it all, a chocolate ganache covers the cake, while chopped almonds give it a little crumble. Some cooks add liquor to the mouse. Others make it without white flour, which is in fact how it used to be made.
This chocolate cake can be found in almost every restaurant and bakery. It is also a must-have for celebrations.
2. Rice Pudding
Rice pudding, also called milk with rice in Bulgaria, is one of the most popular desserts in the country. It brings the taste of the past, and people still love it. It can be found in restaurants, as well as fast-food eateries.
As the name suggests, the dessert is made with milk and rice. While in neighboring Turkey, they add eggs, in Bulgaria it is made simply with milk, rice, sugar, and cinnamon. Usually, the milk is boiled with sugar, while the rice is boiled separately. then they are mixed together in a pan over a medium heat. Before serving cinnamon is sprinkled on top.
Revane, or basbousa, is another cake borrowed from another country. This time Egypt. However, say basbousa in Bulgaria and no one will understand what you are talking about. Here it is called revane, which is a very sweet semolina cake soaked with syrup. The main ingredient is indeed sugar, at least in the Bulgarian recipe.
The cake is served in a lot of restaurants, but Bulgarians also love to cook it at home. Many say they used to eat it while they were kids. The recipe has been passed through the generations, and today it can be found online. After it is baked, the cake is cut into squares or diamond shapes. Some pour on the syrup before cutting, others afterwards. Either way, it is really sweet and delicious
There is a dish Bulgarians are really proud of and eat on a daily basis: the famous Bulgarian banitsa. However, banitsa is not a dessert, but it does have a sweet equivalent: tivenik. Tikvenik is made with the same dough, but instead of eggs, cheese and sour milk, it is made with pumpkin.
A lot of people will tell you that autumn and winter in Bulgaria have the taste and smell of tikvenik. Once the pumpkin season starts, restaurants and bakeries rush to offer this delicious sweet. Nutmeg and cinnamon enrich the flavor, and soft powder sugar is sprinkled on top.
5. Sweet Banitsa
While tikvenik is sweet, this recipe puts sugar center stage. It is probably one of the oldest recipes in the Bulgarian cookbook. It is commonly served on children’s menus, but grown-ups are fond of it as well.
This classic Bulgarian dish is made with either banitsa dough or noodles. It has also milk, eggs, sugar, and butter. People eat it for a dessert, but some enjoy it for breakfast.
6. Sweet Salami
This is a salami, but at the same time, it is not. Why? Because it is sweet and made with biscuits. Yes, you read that right!
This is a dessert that you normally find in small bakeries, though people often make it at home as the recipe is actually pretty simple. You just need biscuits, milk, sugar, butter, and cocoa. Once the dough is done, it is rolled into the shape of a salami and put to rest in the fridge. It is served cold and sliced.
7. Biscuit Cake
This is another cake that Bulgarians really love. It is served in restaurants, bakeries, coffee shops, and even supermarkets. It is a favorite not only because of its amazing taste but also because it is so simple to make.
While a lot of places make it with pre-flavored starch, other cooks prefer to make the cream from scratch. Milk, eggs, sugar, butter, and white flour are the base for the cream, while biscuits make up the layers of the cake. Usually, it is topped with cocoa, chocolate or fruits.
8. Cake with Bulgarian Yogurt
As you probably already know, Bulgarians are really fond of their yogurt. Here it serves as the base for a simple cake that every family makes. Baking soda is put into the yogurt to give the cake some fluff.
Usually, the cake is baked in a round pan with a hole in its center. One layer of dough with cocoa is followed by another without. Powder sugar is sprinkled on top just to add to the sweetness of the cake.
While a lot of places serve homemade baklava, there are stores that sell the imported dessert from Turkey. Baklava was known as one of the most popular desserts in the Ottoman Empire, but its real origin is as yet unknown.
The pastry is made with thin layers filled with chopped nuts and covered with sweet syrup. Like revane, baklava is cut into diamond shapes or squares. Bulgarians usually serve baklava on New Year’s Eve.
10. Peach Cookies
No list of desserts can miss out these tasty cookies. Peach cookies can be found in almost every bakery and supermarket. They look pretty and they are sweet. Their name comes from their shape, not the taste as no peaches are used here.
Bulgarian yogurt plays a role again. Sugar, eggs, flour, and oil are mixed into the yogurt to make a perfect dough. Chopped nuts are added to the filling cream. Once the parts of the peach cookie are combined, the cookie itself is colored with food dye and then covered with crystal sugar.
11. Funnel Pastries with Cream
Another pastry that Bulgarians love are funnel pastries with cream. They also bring the taste of the old days and a lot of Bulgarians still make them at home. But if you are out and crave one of these, you can easily find them in bakeries and supermarkets.
A simple base recipe is used for the dough. The dough is rolled out and cut into pieces which are shaped around small metal funnels, hence the name of the pastries, and baked. Then they are filled with homemade cream. Some top the pastries with chopped nuts or chocolate.
12. Chocolate Rocks
The truth there is probably a recipe for chocolate rocks in every Bulgarian home. But, don’t worry! Although the recipe is an oldie, this sweet is still on trend and can be purchased from multiple vendors.
If you make them at home, you can actually use basically anything – leftover cake, biscuits, jam. But the original recipe includes biscuits, chopped nuts, butter, and milk.
It ıs prepared in pretty much the same way as sweet salami, but here the dough is shaped into rocks and covered with chocolate.
13. White Jam
White jam is a favorite dessert for lots of Bulgarians, while others, mainly our youth, don’t really know what it is. It really is an old recipe, but lots of cookbooks include the recipe. It is made from water, sugar, and lemon juice. Yes, that’s it!
While it is a pretty simple recipe, the white jam can be used on toasts, pastries, cookies, cakes. It can be eaten straight from the jar as well, but typically a spoonfull of jam is put in a cup of water. However you decide to eat it, make sure you have water to wash it down with. The jam can be bought in supermarkets.
14. Brown Cake with Cocoa Icing
This brown cake with cocoa icing is highly popular and can be found in restaurants and bakeries.
It is made with flour, eggs, Bulgarian yogurt, and butter. The icing is made with cocoa, butter, water, and sugar. Once the cake is baked, it is cut into squares and covered with icing.
15. Qurabiya or Kurabiiki
Kurabiiki, known also as qurabiya outside of Bulgaria, are small cookies typically made for Easter. However, Bulgarians enjoy them all year round. The dough is easy to make and made into small round shapes. After baking they are sprinkled with sugar.
Kurabiiki can be found in almost every supermarket, coffee shop, and bakery.
Related: Most Popular Bulgarian Foods