The best desserts you've never heard of

If you have a sweet tooth, you're no doubt familiar with that important fourth meal of the day known as dessert. While some people may have a preference for ice cream or cake, all sugar aficionados can readily agree that all desserts are delicious. If you're a dedicated dessert eater, you're probably always on the lookout for new and tasty treats. Check out some of these little-known desserts the next time you're craving a sugar fix.

Butter tarts

Canada has been holding out on the rest of the world by keeping these butter tarts a secret. The recipe is fairly simple, which means you can whip up a batch — even if you aren't a pastry chef. To add a little variety, throw some walnuts or raisins into the mix. You may want to consider doubling the recipe, though, because these bite-sized morsels are sure to be eaten up quickly.

Lemon posset

If you think the word "posset" sounds sophisticated if a bit old-fashioned, you're right. Possets have been around England since the Middle Ages, although today's lemon possets have a thicker texture than the traditional drink and require a spoon to eat. This classic dish is perfect for people who like a little tart with their sweet.

The lemon posset has started to make the trek across the Atlantic ocean, but if you can't wait to try this tangy confection you'll need just three ingredients to whip one (or a few) up. If you have lemons, heavy cream, and sugar in your kitchen then you can—and should—give this recipe a spin.

Maamoul

This Middle Eastern take on shortbread will have you wishing you'd discovered it sooner. While maamoul is made throughout the year, this treat is particularly popular after Lent and after Ramadan (the former observed by Christians and the latter by Muslims), both periods marked by fasting. It's also popular with the Jewish community, who eat the treat during the holiday of Purim.

Maamoul can be filled with a variety of ingredients, including date paste and nuts. Sawsan Abu Farha, a food blogger, says "The secret to a great maamoul is a good recipe with a delicate balance between the ingredients to get a cookie than melts in your mouth yet holds its shape without crumbling." If you want to try it out in your own kitchen, you can check out her own special recipe.

Halo-halo

For generations, halo-halo was one of the best kept secrets of the Philippines, but in recent years it has taken New York City by storm. The beauty of halo-halo is that it can be pretty much whatever you want it to be. The base recipe calls for shaved ice and evaporated milk, and from there the sky is the limit. Common ingredients include fruit, jelly, and ice cream. If it tastes good to you, throw it in.

Halo-halo is simple and highly customizable, making it a perfect option for summer soirees. Set up a halo-halo topping bar and even the pickiest of guests will be able to assemble a dessert they love.

Vispipuuro

There's a lot more to Nordic cuisine than IKEA's Swedish meatballs. This Finnish porridge is so tasty you might just find yourself eating it for breakfast instead of saving it for dessert. Vispipuuro is primarily made with semolina and lingonberries. This fruit-filled dessert is fairly quick and easy to make; give it a try if you want something light and sweet to follow up a heavy meal.

Sandesh

Sandesh might be a little bit tricky to make if you're a culinary novice, but it's definitely worth the effort. If you can't make these fudge-like treats from Bengal yourself, start bribing your cooking-genius friends now because you haven't lived until you've bitten into one of these morsels. Turning milk into homemade paneer cheese is no easy feat, but once you taste it with some cardamom and sugar, you'll want to stay in the kitchen until you've perfected the recipe.

Tartuffo

Are you tired of plain old vanilla ice cream? Rejuvenate your palate with tartuffo. There are a lot of ways you can enjoy this Italian treat, and each combination is better than the last. If you want to keep it traditional, put a cherry in a ball of chocolate ice cream and coat it in a hard chocolate shell. If you want to switch it up a little bit, you can swap the chocolate ice cream for strawberry or any flavor of your choosing. It's a lot easier to make than it sounds—what are you waiting for?

Hummingbird cake

There's nothing like a good, old-fashioned, Southern-style meal. Reportedly one of Southern Living's most popular recipes, hummingbird cake is a staple in the American south. While a cake made out of pineapple, banana, and cream cheese might not be everyone's cup of sweet tea, the blend of flavors is actually kind of genius.

There are plenty of ways to bake a hummingbird cake, and recipes range from an easy bundt cake to a more complex layer cake. No matter which variation you try, hummingbird cake is so delicious, it's sure to fly out of your kitchen.

Tulumba

The hardest thing about making Turkish tulumba at home is getting the shape just right. It requires a pastry bag with a star-shaped tip to get the classic look of this popular street food, but even if you don't master the shape right away, your tulumba will still be scrumptious. Made out of deep-fried dough, tulumba gets a coating of lemon-flavored syrup before being served. It's rich, sweet, and decadent; what more could you want in a dessert?

Mitarashi dango

Who knew you could use soy sauce to make dessert? Sweetened soy sauce is key to mitarashi dango, a classic mochi sweet from Japan. The blend of salty and sweet brings a unique flavor to skewered mochi balls. Often served fresh from the grill, mitarashi dango has become a popular street food and now you can see what all the hype is about for yourself. Try pairing this treat with a pot of green tea for brunch-time dessert.

Malva pudding

Apricot is such an underused flavor, but it gets its chance to shine in this recipe from South Africa. Don't be fooled by the word "pudding" in the title; many countries use the term to refer to any dessert, not just ones with a soft, creamy consistency. In the case of malva pudding, the confection is more like a cake. This rich treat is often served up a la mode, although it's packed with so much flavor that you may prefer to enjoy it on its own.

Clafoutis

Forget cobbler, it's all about the clafoutis. This fruit-based baked good hails from France and is kind of a cross between a cherry pie and a pancake. You can serve clafoutis for dessert or eat it for breakfast or brunch and get a head start on your daily serving of fruit. While traditionally made with unpitted cherries, you can opt to substitute your favorite fruit if you want to. If you really want to get fancy, serve it fresh from the oven with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Yum. 

Pina colada crunch cake

It can be summertime any time of the year when you make this pina colada crunch cake. Made with crushed granola bars, cream cheese, crushed pineapple and lots of coconut flavors, this no-bake, frozen treat comes together quickly and can feed a big crowd. Make it ahead of time, and then set it out to soften just before it's time for dessert.