From caramel-frosted cake to honey nut tarts, and pies filled with bourbon and peaches to cream and sugar, this collection encompasses the basic and the project-worthy, the seasonal and the always-in-season, the forgotten favorites and the recently discovered. We made a lot of great desserts this year, but here, the 21 favorites we’re taking with us into 2016.
This French egg custard is traditionally made with corn flour, but wheat flour works just as well. It puffs dramatically while cooking, then settles into a dense, delicately sweet flan. Matt Taylor-Gross This buttery cake slathered with rich caramel icing has earned local fame on Chicago’s South Side—it’s one of our favorites to make for special occasions. James Oseland The gooey filling in this tart is held together by a rye flour crust that gets its structure, and depth, from chocolate. Bill Phelps Charring your rhubarb in the oven makes for a deep, almost smoky compote. Put it on everything. Get the recipe for Cheesecake with Charred Rhubarb Compote and Sliced Strawberries » Matt Taylor-Gross Chef Scott Crawford of the forthcoming Nash Tavern in Raleigh updates the simple Southern custard pie by adding cacao nibs to the butter crust and sprinkling a nutty cornbread crumble on top. Joseph De Leo Renee Bourgault, co-owner of Breadfarm in Edison, WA, uses unrefined cane sugar instead of conventional granulated sugar in her graham crackers. Molly Wizenberg Traeger’s Bakery in Demopolis, Alabama first popularized these soft spice cookies, which are named for their hard cinnamon glaze that glistens like a glossy turtle shell. Farideh Sadeghin This vegan ice cream from Brooklyn’s Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream takes a classic flavor combination, peanut butter and chocolate, and uses cashew milk to make for an extra rich ice cream. Farideh Sadeghin As Indiana’s state pie, this rich, nutmeg-dusted custard pie also goes by the name “Hoosier Pie.” Farideh Sadeghin The thing that differentiates this classic kiwi dessert from a meringue is the addition of vinegar: it helps give the outside a lovely crunchy shell, while the inside remains soft. Farideh Sadeghin Bourbon, cinnamon, and nutmeg add warmth to this bright summer peach pie from SAVEUR Food Editor Ben Mims. Farideh Sadeghin Beating egg yolks with sugar until pale and fluffy is the key to the smooth texture in this rich, classic French dessert, as made by Dennis Wist, father of Saveur Art Associate Allie Wist. Farideh Sadeghin This delightfully basic white sponge cake, encrusted with a coconut and brown sugar topping, is a dream to make and eat. Matt Taylor-Gross Rhubarb takes the spotlight in this bright, rose-colored crisp, sweetened with strawberries and topped with a crunchy poppy seed crumble topping, from Erin Patinkin and Agatha Kulaga of Brooklyn’s Ovenly. Get the recipe for Wine-Poached Rhubarb and Poppy Seed Crisp » Matt Taylor-Gross Chef Magnus Nilsson’s wife likes to serve this beloved Swedish cake, similar to a fudgy American brownie, chilled, but it’s just as good piping hot from the pan with a scoop of ice cream. Melting the butter in this recipe first and then stirring it with the other ingredients helps ensure that as little air as possible gets incorporated into the batter. The result: a gooey, more moist cake. Get the recipe for Swedish “Gooey” Chocolate Cake » Magnus Nilsson Phoebe Lawless of Scratch Bakery in Durham, North Carolina makes cream pies all summer long that incorporate different fruits as they become available. This recipe works just as well with strawberries, peaches, cherries, or whatever is in peak season. It’s also a great way to use fruit that is just beyond its usability, whether bruised or overly ripe. Farideh Sadeghin These cookies test the limit of exactly how much chocolate you can possibly pack into one cookie. Made with cocoa powder and more than one type of chocolate chip, this cookie’s soft dough benefits from at least 4 hours of refrigeration, allowing the disks to stay thick and chewy when cooked. Plus, the dough will keep frozen for several months, so stash a few in the freezer to throw in the oven whenever you’re hit with a craving for chocolate. Test Kitchen Director Farideh Sadeghin developed this recipe based off New York City’s famous Levain Bakery. Get the recipe for Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies » Farideh Sadeghin This custardy ice cream gets its tropical flavor from paw paws, a musky-sweet fruit native to the American Midwest that tastes somewhere between a banana and a mango, with a plush, creamy texture. Farideh Sadeghin This North African cake is baked with dried coconut and sweetened condensed milk and then soaked in a fragrant lemony syrup with orange blossom and rose waters. Get the recipe for Semolina-Coconut Cake with Orange and Rose Waters » Matt Taylor-Gross This dense, sticky-sweet fruitcake is packed full of candied ginger, roasted walnuts, and rum-soaked fruit. Matt Taylor-Gross These glittering almond squares make a fantastic Christmas cookie on their own, but sandwiched with raspberry jam, they’re even better. Matt Taylor-Gross