Three Easy Holiday Desserts You Might Not Have Heard Of

Holiday season is a time for family and friends to come together. What better way than to bake?

By: Rivka Pruss

Everyone around the globe celebrates the holidays in unique ways, with fun customs like decorating trees, lighting candles and eating special desserts. It’s a great time for us to catch up with loved ones and spread holiday cheer. If you have a sweet tooth, even better.

CSUF students shared their cultures’ favorite holiday sweets. From jelly donuts to cassava cake, here are three decadent treats you can make with your friends and family this season.


1. Sufganiyot (Suef-gan-i-oht)

Photo credit: Taste of Home
What is it?

A Jewish classic. If you don’t find it at a Hanukkah table, something is wrong! These jelly-filled donuts remind us of the Hannukah miracle of oil that burned for eight days instead of one.

Student Approval

According to Rivka Pruss (that’s me!): “The holiday season makes me think of eight days of presents and fried food like these donuts. As a kid, I looked forward to them all year.”


This recipe is adapted from Celebrity Chef, Molly Yeh, a Jewish food blogger featured in The Food Network.

Yield: 8-10 donuts


  • 1 roll store-bought biscuit dough
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • Powdered sugar for dusting
  • ½ cup strawberry jam (or other flavors)
  • Dusting flour


  1. Leave dough at room temperature for 20 minutes.
  2. Flour a surface and roll out dough until ½ inch thick. Make 3-inch circles using a small jar lid (You know, from that gingerbread candle you just bought.)
  3. Heat stove to medium-high. Fill a pot with 2 inches of oil.
  4. Fry dough on both sides to deep brown, until not doughy.
  5. Transfer to paper towels to blot excess oil. Coat with powdered sugar.
  6. Using a squeeze bottle, add strawberry jam or other flavors.
  7. Wish someone Jewish a Happy Hanukkah!

 2. Manzanas con Crema

Photo credit: Directo al Parado México
What is it?

This Mexican salad made with apples and cream is served for Christmas.

Student Approval

Cynthia Cuautle, a library assistant, said she enjoyed eating this growing up and her mom makes it for Christmas.


This recipe is from Celebrity Chef Philippe Saez, Director of Directo al Paladar México, a magazine with all things Mexican food.


  • 1 cup cream
  • ½ cup condensed milk
  • ½ cup raisins
  • 2 large apples
  • 1 cup canned pineapple
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts


  1. Peel and chop apples finely. Set aside.
  2. Pour cream and condensed milk into a large bowl and beat vigorously.
  3. Add chopped apples, pineapple, raisins and walnuts.
  4. Saez recommends pairing with white wine. Tusk agrees and advises to drink responsibly. Who doesn’t want to be bougie? You deserve it after finals!


3. Cassava Cake

Photo credit: Eats_by_e on Instagram
What is it?

This Filipino staple is made with eggs, cassava and milk. It is enjoyed year-round and for the holidays.

Student Approval

Ruth de los Santos, a graphic design major, shared that “Every Filipino party I go to will have them there.”


This recipe comes from Chef Eric Pascua, influenced in the kitchen by his Filipino grandparents.


  • 3 ½ cups frozen grated cassava (yucca root)
  • ¾ cup whole milk
  • ¼ cup half and half
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup cane sugar
  • ½ can condensed milk (7oz)
  • 1 can coconut milk (13.5 oz.)
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½ cup melted butter (save 1 tbsp to grease bottom of pan)

Flan-Custard Topping

  • 4 egg yolks
  • ¾ cup whole milk
  • ¼ cup half and half
  • ½ can condensed milk (7 oz)


  1. In a medium bowl combine egg yolks, condensed and evaporated milk and stir well.
  2. Using melted butter, grease a 13” x 9” baking pan.
  3. In a large bowl, combine sugar, grated cassava, coconut and condensed milk. Stir well and pour into greased baking pan.
  4. Bake at 350 F for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Test if done if a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Take cake out of oven and let cool.
  5. For topping, combine egg yolks, condensed and whole milk. Stir well. Pour mixture on top of cake. Place in oven, reduce temperature to 325° F. Bake until top lightly browns, 20-25 minutes.
  6. Allow cake to cool for 45 minutes.


Photo credit: Directo al Parado México

Photo credit:Taste of Home

Photo credit: Eats_by_e


One thought on “Three Easy Holiday Desserts You Might Not Have Heard Of

  • December 11, 2018 at 11:37 pm

    I can practically taste these yummy sounding treats from your wonderful descriptions and recipes! Really enjoyed reading this article, thanks!


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