Almond Frangipane Tart with Cranberries and Honeyed Pistachios. Ryan Liebe
For a showstopping sweet finish to your special holiday meal, go all-out with a sticky English toffee pudding, classic croquembouche, baked Alaska, or any one of these seasonal centerpiece desserts. They’re the best way to follow up our go-to holiday roasts and pair nicely with a hot cocktail. Want to dig deeper? See our recent comprehensive guide to baking the perfect tart.
For even more inspiration, check out our Holiday Guide.
Cherry-Frangelico Mincemeat Pie
Fresh and dried fruits steep in hazelnut liqueur for three days to make the filling for this holiday pie. Suet, a traditional mincemeat ingredient, adds moisture and richness, but vegetable shortening works just as well.
Butter Saffron Cake
Steeping the saffron in vodka helps boost the flavor of the spice throughout the cake.
Corsican Lemon Mousse
This rich, silky mousse brightened with tangy lemons makes an elegant end to a meal.
Baked Alaska first made its way into print in Fannie Farmer’s 1896_ Boston Cooking-School Cook Book,_ but the idea of baking ice cream inside cake and meringue had been around for much of the century. The way was paved in the early 1800s by that genius of thermodynamics Benjamin Thompson, with his work on the resistance of egg whites to heat.
White Chocolate-Cardamom Panna Cotta
Sweetened with white chocolate only, this rich, Middle Eastern-inspired panna cotta gets its distinctive floral aroma from an infusion of blistered cardamom.
Buche de Noel (Yule Log Cake with Coffee Buttercream and Ganache)
This version of the traditional French Christmas cake is filled with coffee buttercream and covered in chocolate ganache. See the recipe for Buche de Noel »
The trifle is a very old concoction—by some accounts, more than 300 years old—but twentieth century variations have turned it into a classic, occasion-ready centerpiece. Drenched in sherry and kirsch, our version features layer upon layer of ginger cake, custard, berries, chocolate, and cream.
Rum Bundt Cake
A supremely moist, boozy Southern bundt cake fitting for any holiday spread.
White Chocolate-Cream Cheese Mousse
In this updated take on a classic French dessert, cream cheese adds stability and a pleasing tang, which balances the sweet white chocolate without overpowering it.
Apricot Tarts with Pistachios
Lightly sweetened apricots are baked quickly in a simple short-bread crust for these rustic tarts, which are garnished with vibrant green pistachios and fleur de sel. Other stone fruits, like plums and peaches, will work just as well.
Krisciki (Polish Bow Tie Fritters)
Also referred to as angel wings, these sugar-dusted fritters are both crunchy and pillowy. See the recipe for Krisciki »
Nutmeg Ice Cream
Serve this spiced ice cream on its own or scooped on top of warm fruit crisps, cobblers, or pies, particularly apple.
Nutmeg Custard Tarts
Creamy and spicy, these classic English custard tarts boast all the hallmarks of our favorite eggnogs.
Sticky Toffee Pudding with Dates
Although certainly sweet, the cake becomes less so thanks to the fruit, some heavy cream, and a hint each of ground cinnamon and nutmeg. While not necessarily traditional in this pudding, coffee extract available online adds some delicious roasty flavors. If desired, you can rewarm the pudding in a low oven before topping and serving. It’s just as good for breakfast as it is for dessert. Get the recipe for Sticky Toffee Pudding with Dates »