12 Delectable Pastries From Around the World

iStock
iStock

While you’re probably familiar with pies, croissants, cream puffs, and tarts, there are plenty of other tantalizing pastries to discover. Using a simple base of flour, butter, sugar, eggs, and shortening, pastry chefs can create a cornucopia of delicious desserts. If you’re looking to expand your pastry horizons, consider these 12 delectable pastries from around the world.

1. FRANZBRÖTCHEN // GERMANY


Most popular in Hamburg and other parts of northern Germany, Franzbrötchen are croissant-like spiral pastries made with butter and cinnamon. Germans usually eat Franzbrötchen at breakfast with their morning coffee, and they sometimes add raisins to them.

2. GULAB JAMUN // INDIA


We can thank India for gulab jamun, a glorious pastry that combines balls of fried dough with sweet syrup. Shaped like doughnut holes, the balls of dough are usually made with milk powder or corn flour and then fried in ghee. Gulab jamun packs a powerful dose of sugar, but cardamom, rose water, and saffron add more subtle notes to the pastry.

3. PASTELITOS // CUBA


Cubans and Cuban-Americans in Miami know pastelitos well. Similar to jelly doughnuts, the pastries are typically made with flaky filo dough and contain a filling of guava and cheese. Some pastelitos have more unusual sweet and savory fillings, such as pineapple, coconut, ham, and crab.

4. BAKLAVA // TURKEY


A popular Middle Eastern dessert, baklava consists of layers of chopped pistachios and sweetened filo dough. The pastries may also include chopped walnuts or pecans as well as plenty of honey, butter, and sugar. For an authentic Turkish experience, savor baklava after a meal while sipping tea.

5. CANNOLI // ITALY


Cannoli got its start over 1000 years ago in Palermo, the capital of Sicily. Today, Italians still enjoy biting into the cannoli’s shell of fried dough to taste the creamy, sweetened ricotta filling. And thanks to Italian-Americans making and selling cannoli, most of us are familiar with the decadent Italian pastry.

6. SUFGANIYOT // ISRAEL


Sufganiyot are Israel’s answer to jelly doughnuts. The balls of deep-fried dough are filled with jelly and topped with powdered sugar. The Jewish recipe is popular around the world now, especially each December when they are served during Hanukkah.

7. LINZER TORTE // AUSTRIA


The beautiful latticework on the top of Linzer tortes makes them instantly recognizable. Said to date to the mid-1600s, people in Linz, Austria began making these tortes, layering pastry dough with currant preserves. Today, the torte usually contains a filling of berry preserves, and the pastry dough is made with butter and ground nuts.

8. KOLOMPEH // IRAN


MRG90 (Own work) CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Native to Kerman, Iran, kolompeh are cookie-sized pies made with minced dates, walnuts, cardamom, saffron, and sesame. Before baking the pastries, Iranians stamp them with kolompeh stamps, creating beautiful, intricate designs on the top of the pastries.

9. BIRNBROT // SWITZERLAND


Adrian Michael (Own work) CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Pear lovers will enjoy Birnbrot, a pear-centric Swiss pastry that incorporates dried fruits, spices, and nuts. The sweet bread is made from yeast dough and filled with everything from dried pears, dried apples or figs, walnuts, raisins, cinnamon, clove, and coriander.

10. MOONCAKE // CHINA


iStock

Every fall, Chinese people celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival by gathering to view the full moon and giving mooncakes to their friends and family, symbolizing completeness and unity. The pastries are round (like the moon), sweet, and filled with a paste made of lotus seeds, red beans, or dates. Some Cantonese mooncakes also contain a salted duck egg yolk inside.

11. CROQUEMBOUCHE // FRANCE


If you’re at a wedding or special event in France and spot a tower of desserts, you’re probably looking at a croquembouche. This triangle-shaped tower consists of carefully stacked profiteroles (a.k.a. cream puffs) decorated with strands of caramelized sugar. It’s fancy, elegant, and downright delectable.

12. PINEAPPLE BUN // HONG KONG


Pineapple buns—also called Bolo Bao—are soft, sweet, chewy, and slightly crunchy on top. They don’t actually have any pineapple in them; rather, the pastry’s crust has a grid pattern that resembles a pineapple. If you’re not in Hong Kong, you can probably find pineapple buns in Chinese bakeries.

10 of the Most Popular Portable Bluetooth Speakers on Amazon

Altech/Bose/JBL/Amazon
Altech/Bose/JBL/Amazon

As convenient as smartphones and tablets are, they don’t necessarily offer the best sound quality. But a well-built portable speaker can fill that need. And whether you’re looking for a speaker to use in the shower or a device to take on a long camping trip, these bestselling models from Amazon have you covered.

1. OontZ Angle 3 Bluetooth Portable Speaker; $26-$30 (4.4 stars)

Oontz portable bluetooth speaker
Cambridge Soundworks/Amazon

Of the 57,000-plus reviews that users have left for this speaker on Amazon, 72 percent of them are five stars. So it should come as no surprise that this is currently the best-selling portable Bluetooth speaker on the site. It comes in eight different colors and can play for up to 14 hours straight after a full charge. Plus, it’s splash proof, making it a perfect speaker for the shower, beach, or pool.

Buy it: Amazon

2. JBL Charge 3 Waterproof Portable Bluetooth Speaker; $110 (4.6 stars)

JBL portable bluetooth speaker
JBL/Amazon

This nifty speaker can connect with up to three devices at one time, so you and your friends can take turns sharing your favorite music. Its built-in battery can play music for up to 20 hours, and it can even charge smartphones and tablets via USB.

Buy it: Amazon

3. Anker Soundcore Bluetooth Speaker; $25-$28 (4.6 stars)

Anker portable bluetooth speaker
Anker/Amazon

This speaker boasts 24-hour battery life and a strong Bluetooth connection within a 66-foot radius. It also comes with a built-in microphone so you can easily take calls over speakerphone.

Buy it: Amazon

4. Bose SoundLink Color Bluetooth Speaker; $129 (4.4 stars)

Bose portable bluetooth speaker
Bose/Amazon

Bose is well-known for building user-friendly products that offer excellent sound quality. This portable speaker lets you connect to the Bose app, which makes it easier to switch between devices and personalize your settings. It’s also water-resistant, making it durable enough to handle a day at the pool or beach.

Buy it: Amazon

5. DOSS Soundbox Touch Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker; $28-$33 (4.4 stars)

DOSS portable bluetooth speaker
DOSS/Amazon

This portable speaker features an elegant system of touch controls that lets you easily switch between three methods of playing audio—Bluetooth, Micro SD, or auxiliary input. It can play for up to 20 hours after a full charge.

Buy it: Amazon

6. Altec Lansing Mini Wireless Bluetooth Speaker; $15-$20 (4.3 stars)

Altec Lansing portable bluetooth speaker
Altec Lansing/Amazon

This lightweight speaker is built for the outdoors. With its certified IP67 rating—meaning that it’s fully waterproof, shockproof, and dust proof—it’s durable enough to withstand harsh environments. Plus, it comes with a carabiner that can attach to a backpack or belt loop.

Buy it: Amazon

7. Tribit XSound Go Bluetooth Speaker; $33-$38 (4.6 stars)

Tribit portable bluetooth speaker
Tribit/Amazon

Tribit’s portable Bluetooth speaker weighs less than a pound and is fully waterproof and resistant to scratches and drops. It also comes with a tear-resistant strap for easy transportation, and the rechargeable battery can handle up to 24 hours of continuous use after a full charge. In 2020, it was Wirecutter's pick as the best budget portable Bluetooth speaker on the market.

Buy it: Amazon

8. VicTsing SoundHot C6 Portable Bluetooth Speaker; $18 (4.3 stars)

VicTsing portable bluetooth speaker
VicTsing/Amazon

The SoundHot portable Bluetooth speaker is designed for convenience wherever you go. It comes with a detachable suction cup and a carabiner so you can keep it secure while you’re showering, kayaking, or hiking, to name just a few.

Buy it: Amazon

9. AOMAIS Sport II Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker; $30 (4.4 stars)

AOMAIS portable bluetooth speaker
AOMAIS/Amazon

This portable speaker is certified to handle deep waters and harsh weather, making it perfect for your next big adventure. It can play for up to 15 hours on a full charge and offers a stable Bluetooth connection within a 100-foot radius.

Buy it: Amazon

10. XLEADER SoundAngel Touch Bluetooth Speaker; $19-$23 (4.4 stars)

XLeader portable bluetooth speaker
XLEADER/Amazon

This stylish device is available in black, silver, gold, and rose gold. Plus, it’s equipped with Bluetooth 5.0, a more powerful technology that can pair with devices up to 800 feet away. The SoundAngel speaker itself isn’t water-resistant, but it comes with a waterproof case for protection in less-than-ideal conditions.

Buy it: Amazon

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Why Are Decaf Coffee Pots Orange?

If you're looking for a caffeine fix, you know that orange pot isn't going to help.
If you're looking for a caffeine fix, you know that orange pot isn't going to help.
RonBailey/iStock via Getty Images

The orange spout and handle on a decaf coffee pot have saved many caffeine lovers from having a terrible morning. Like the orange on a traffic cone, the color has become a signal both to the people who drink coffee and the servers who pour it. But the shade wasn't merely chosen for its eye-catching qualities; orange is a piece of branding left over from the original purveyors of decaf java.

According to The Cubiclist, decaffeinated coffee first arrived in America via the German company Sanka. Sanka (a portmanteau of the words sans and caffeine) sold its coffee in stores in glass jars with orange labels. The bright packaging was the company's calling card, and because it was the first decaffeinated coffee brand to hit the market, consumers started looking for the color when shopping for decaf.

In 1932, General Foods, which has since merged with Kraft, purchased Sanka and got to work promoting it. To spread the word about decaf coffee, the company sent orange Sanka coffee pots to coffee shops and restaurants around the country. Even if the waitstaff wasn't used to serving two types of coffee, the distinct color of the pot made it easy to distinguish decaf from regular.

The plan was such a success that orange eventually became synonymous not just with Sanka, but all decaf coffee. Other coffeemakers began offering decaffeinated alternatives, and when marketing their products, they chose the color Sanka had already made popular.

The reason for the orange coffee pot is just one of decaf's not-so-mysterious mysteries. Here's some of the science behind how exactly coffee makers get the caffeine out of the beans.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.