almond frangipane tart
Almond Frangipane Tart with Cranberries and Honeyed Pistachios. Ryan Liebe
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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.

"almond

Almond Frangipane Tart with Cranberries and Honeyed Pistachios

Almond Frangipane Tart with Cranberries and Honeyed Pistachios

Frozen Chocolate Mousse (Marquise au Chocolat)

This dessert—a fudgy, frozen or semifrozen chocolate mousse that’s sometimes coated in ganache, then sliced—likely came from the 17th or 18th century, when royal pastry chefs lived large. Get the recipe for Frozen Chocolate Mousse (Marquise au Chocolat) »
"Cashew

Cashew Baklava

Cashew Baklava
"Chocolate

Chocolate Ganache Tart with Sea Salt and Espresso Beans

Chocolate Ganache Tart with Sea Salt Espresso Beans
"Orange

Orange and Ginger Brownie Cookies

Orange and Ginger Brownie Cookies
"Sauternes

Sauternes Custard with Armagnac-Soaked Prunes

Sauternes Custard with Armagnac-Soaked Prunes
"Syrup-Soaked

Syrup-Soaked Pastries with Hazelnuts, Pistachios, and Pine Nuts (Deblah)

Syrup-Soaked Pastries with Hazelnuts, Pistachios, and Pine Nuts (Deblah)
"Honey-and-Butter

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 »
"Semolina–Coconut

Semolina-Coconut Cake with Orange and Rose Waters

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 »

Brown Butter Skillet Cake with Berry Compote (Kaiserschmarrn)

Essentially torn pieces of pancake topped with oozing lingonberry or cranberry sauce, this dessert is a cinch, even for the baking-challenged. Get the recipe for Brown Butter Skillet Cake with Berry Compote (Kaiserschmarrn) »
"Layered

Layered Strudel Cake (Prekmurska Gibanica)

Able to be assembled up to 2 days prior to baking, this multilayered pastry cake is stuffed with poppy seed, walnut, cottage cheese, and tart apple fillings. Get the recipe for Layered Strudel Cake (Prekmurska Gibanica) »
"Plum,

Plum, White Chocolate, and Tarragon Parfait

The overt sweetness of white chocolate is tamed here by the addition of tart Greek yogurt. Chef John Karangis of Union Square Events serves it as a bed for juicy roasted plums and a sweet, anise-tinged tarragon white wine granita—it’s an elegant way to end a summer dinner. Get the recipe for Plum, White Chocolate, and Tarragon Parfait »
"Sage

Sage and Coconut Caramel Sticky Buns

Sage and Coconut Caramel Sticky Buns
"swedish
More Sweets From Dorie Greenspan
"Lemon

Lemon Meringue Tarts

Lemon Meringue Tarts
"Apple

Apple and Cranberry Upside-Down Cakes

This recipe, from Fore Street restaurant in Portland, Maine, calls for using six 4″ steel blini pans. But you can make a single cake in an 8″ cast-iron skillet, if you prefer. If fresh or frozen cranberries aren’t available, use reconstituted dried berries. Get the recipe for Apple and Cranberry Upside-Down Cakes »
"Cherry-Frangelico

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.
"Pear

Pear and Ginger Pie with Streusel Topping

Fresh ginger gives the filling of this pear pie a warming kick of spice, balanced by the buttery crumble of sweet streusel.
"Butter

Butter Saffron Cake

Steeping the saffron in vodka helps boost the flavor of the spice throughout the cake.
"Vanilla-Rum

Vanilla-Rum Custard (La Tarte)

The creaminess of this classic vanilla custard gains an edge with the addition of light rum.
"Brown

Brown Butter Walnut Pie with Sour Whipped Cream

Browned butter accentuates the flavor of earthy walnuts and a sour cream topping offsets the richness of the filling for a balanced, delectable dessert.
"Corsican

Corsican Lemon Mousse

This rich, silky mousse brightened with tangy lemons makes an elegant end to a meal.
"White

White Chocolate Bread Pudding with Bananas and Rum Sauce

This decadent take on an iconic dessert, from Mat & Naddie’s Restaurant in New Orleans, Louisiana, gilds the lily, pan-frying white chocolate-enriched bread pudding, and plating it with satiny caramel and sweet bananas.
"Baked

Bratapfel mit Walnusseis (Baked Walnut-Stuffed Apples with White Wine)

Apples are roasted in wine and butter for this sweet and spicy dessert, a staple of holiday markets throughout Germany.
"Baked

Baked Alaska

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

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.
"Yule

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 »
"Chocolate

Chocolate Mousse

This simple yet sophisticated, airy yet intense concoction has been a hit with home cooks in America at least since the New York Times published its first recipe for the dessert in 1955. Get the recipe for Chocolate Mousse »

White Chocolate Christmas Tree

This delicious and decorative holiday confection demonstrates the key to cooking with white chocolate: adding in a touch of water helps it keep its shape after cooling. See the recipe for White Chocolate Christmas Tree »
"Decadent

Decadent Trifle

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

Rum Bundt Cake

A supremely moist, boozy Southern bundt cake fitting for any holiday spread.
"Macerated

Macerated Fruit Conserve (Rumtopf)

This sweet-tart conserve is a luscious accompaniment to ice cream. It also adds a fruity dimension when stirred into champagne.
"White

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

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.
"Roasted

Roasted Sugar-Glazed Pears

Roasted pears stuffed with almonds, currants, and raisins make a simple yet elegant dessert.
"Polish

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 »
"Apple

Torta di Sant’Antonio (Sant’Antonio Apple Tart)

Cooks in the Italian Alpine village of Oulx flavor this tart with red wine and cinnamon to honor the town’s patron saint, Sant’Antonio. Get the recipe for Torta di Sant’Antonio (Sant’Antonio Apple Tart) »
"Nutmeg

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

Nutmeg Custard Tarts

Creamy and spicy, these classic English custard tarts boast all the hallmarks of our favorite eggnogs.
"Nutmeg

Nutmeg Cake

While nutmeg adds a subtle note to many desserts, it claims center stage in this traditional spiced Armenian cake. See the recipe for Nutmeg Cake »
"Sticky

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 »

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