Festive Desserts

Bring a happy ending to any meal with these festive dessert recipes from SAVEUR magazine, including baked Alaska, red velvet cake, pear desserts, and more.

Buche de Noel (Yule Log Cake with Coffee Buttercream and Ganache)
Buche de Noel
This version of the traditional French Christmas cake is filled with coffee buttercream and covered in chocolate ganache. Get the recipe for Buche de Noel »Todd Coleman
Croquembouche
Croquembouche pile of cream puffs
"The fine arts are five in number," wrote the chef Marie-Antoine Careme, "painting, sculpture, poetry, music, and architecture—whereof the principle branch is confectionery." He knew what he was talking about. After all, he created croquembouche, a spire of caramelized cream puffs. Get the recipe for Croquembouche »**Todd Coleman
French-Canadian Trifle
French-Canadian Trifle
The typical bagatelle in La Beauce is a child's delight of Jell-O, white cake, and strawberry jam. We prefer this grown-up version, with fresh fruit, custard (instead of Jell-O), and a drizzle of marsala. Get the recipe for French-Canadian Trifle »André Baranowski
Baked Alaska
Baked Alaska
With three colorful layers of ice cream domed atop a fudgy, flourless chocolate cake, our version of this retro dessert is a project perfect for celebrations. (Especially if you make your own ice cream: We used our homemade Pistachio Gelato and Raspberry Ice Cream.) You can vary the assembly as you like—layering the ice cream in any pattern or thickness, or flambéing the meringue topping or not. But whatever you choose, give yourself a day or two in advance to prepare. Get the recipe for Baked Alaska »Matt Taylor-Gross
Nutmeg Custard Tarts
Nutmeg Custard Tarts
Creamy and spicy, these classic English custard tarts boast all the hallmarks of our favorite eggnogs. Get the recipe for Nutmeg Custard Tarts »Todd Coleman
Cherry Gateau Basque
Cherry Gateau Basque
The signature dessert of the region, gâteau basque is made by sandwiching a layer of jam or sweet pastry cream between two shortbread-like rounds. Cherry preserves are a classic filling—choosing a good-quality jam makes all the difference—and the dough itself resembles a cookie dough, with additional eggs lending a cakier texture. It can also be baked in a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom; just be sure to grease the sides with butter before assembling. Get the recipe for Cherry Gateau Basque »Beth Galton
Flourless Chocolate Soufflé
Flourless Chocolate Souffle
Rich yet airy, this decadent chocolate dessert also happens to be gluten-free.Helen Rosner
Sauternes Custard with Armagnac-Soaked Prunes
Sauternes Custard with Armagnac-Soaked Prunes
At Boulestin, Agen prunes, prized for their caramel notes and soft texture, are infused with brewed tea, cinnamon, and armagnac and then used to top this sumptuous custard. In lieu of vanilla sugar, you can substitute 3/4 cup sugar and 1 tsp. vanilla extract. Get the recipe for Sauternes Custard with Armagnac-Soaked Prunes »Tom Parker
Semolina-Coconut Cake with Orange and Rose Waters
Semolina Coconut Cake with Orange and Rose Water (Basbousa)
This elegant cake is soaked in a fragrant lemon syrup, perfumed by flower waters. The garnish is candied rose petals sprinkled with toasted coconut. Get the recipe for Semolina-Coconut Cake with Orange and Rose Waters »Matt Taylor-Gross
German Chocolate Cake
German Chocolate Cake
German chocolate cake takes its name from German's Sweet Chocolate, a product that's not German at all: the versatile baking chocolate was created by an American baker named Samuel German in 1852.André Baranowski
Dried Apricot and Fig Clafoutis
Fruit Cake Clafoutis
Clafoutis is a French dessert that's trickier to pronounce than to make. A simple mixture of flour, eggs, dairy, and a little sugar, it's like a pancake, but more custardy, and it's baked instead of griddled. It looks and tastes impressive the way classic French desserts often do, but it's simple enough to whip up any weeknight. Rum-soaked dried apricots, figs, and raisins add their caramelized and honeyed flavors to this creamy version, perfect for cold weather when there's no fresh fruit around. Get the recipe for Dried Apricot and Fig Clafoutis »Matt Taylor-Gross
Red Velvet Cake
Red Velvet Cake
According to legend red velvet cake was invented in the 1950s at Oscar's in New York's Waldorf-Astoria. However, Raven Dennis of Cake Man Raven Confectionary (whose recipe we adapted) claims red velvet cake originated during the Civil War, and that southern ladies made it "to keep their husbands home." Get the recipes for Red Velvet CakeTodd Coleman
Honey-and-Butter-Baked Pears with Cold Cream
Honey-and-Butter Baked Pears with Cold Cream
These sticky, caramelized pears get served warm with a glug of fresh chilled cream for a richly-flavored variation on poached pears. Get the recipe for Honey-and-Butter-Baked Pears with Cold Cream »Anders Schonnemann
Hummingbird Cake
Hummingbird Cake
This hummingbird cake honors the legacy of the Southern cook Edna Lewis.Matt Taylor-Gross
Brûléed Italian Plums with Armagnac Custard
Brûléed Italian Plums with Armagnac Custard
Warming, caramel-scented Armagnac custard bathes fresh, barely-cooked Italian plums in this quick, simple dessert. Get the recipe for Brûléed Italian Plums with Armagnac Custard »Farideh Sadeghin