North American pie people
According to The American Pie Council, approximately $700 million in pies are sold in grocery stores throughout the country every year. We’re just... we’re pie people. Regionally, however, we’re divided. In the northeast, it’s all about the apple pie (which actually, nearly one in five Americans prefer). If made correctly, the apple slices (coated in cinnamon and brown sugar) will bake down in the oven and become super soft and even sweeter. Often, apple pie is eaten à la mode, meaning with ice cream, though sharp cheddar cheese is also common in New England once autumn turns cold -- after that, a common treat in the inland Yankee states is maple syrup taffy, aka maple snow candy. It's as simple as pouring hot maple syrup on real snow or freshly shaved ice.
Down south, pecan pie takes the crown. With pecans themselves native to North America (growing in areas along the Mississippi River), this confection is a true US creation. After the Civil War, commercial developers started growing pecans in Georgia, and trees began popping up in Louisiana as well. Pretty soon, the nut was a staple of the south. And though the earliest recipes for this beloved pie can be found in cookbooks that date back as far as the 1870s, it wasn’t until Karo corn syrup started printing recipes on their cans in the 1920s that the dish really took off. Today you won’t find a Thanksgiving table from Virginia to Tennessee to Alabama without a pecan pie on it.
Neighbor to the north Canada does things a little differently (though its sweet tooth is just as big as America’s). One dessert has garnered attention worldwide. Why? The flavors and textures speak for themselves. Nanaimo bars, invented sometime in the 1950s in the town of Nanaimo, BC, is a no-bake crowd-pleaser. The triple-decker dessert has a wafer, then a custard-flavored butter icing layer, then a layer of melted chocolate. Trust us: only those who can handle a decadent treat should attempt this one.
If you’re in need of slightly less chocolate, Canadians swear by their blueberry grunt. Basically a deconstructed pie, it features the sweet berry cooked down and topped with soft, steamed dumplings -- and a dollop of whipped cream, because what isn’t better with a dollop of whipped cream?
Steamed dumplings from Canada, red bean soup from China, bread with sprinkles from Australia -- dessert doesn’t have to fit a certain mold. Or even be eaten at a certain time. What makes it a treat is enjoying it however it you want, when you want. And what we want... is to travel the world and enjoy every single one of these.