Our Most Time-Consuming Recipes for the Longest Day of the Year

The summer solstice marks the perfect occasion to spend a little extra time in the kitchen

Did you know that June 21 will be the longest day of the year? That’s right, because of the summer solstice, the sun will be at its northernmost point in the sky, making this special date the day with the most hours of sun.

To celebrate, we've rounded up our most lengthy recipes, labors of love that require as much patience as skill, but are certainly worth the effort. From the Philippines comes a divine slow-roasted pork belly—those long hours make the meat extra tender—while the archival cookbooks of France yielded lou fassum, a strange meat-and-cabbage creation that looks like it came from another planet.

From Chinese zongzi to a baked Alaska flambé, here are the time-consuming (but, once again, worth it) recipes to make for the June solstice, also known as the longest day of the year.

The Best Croissants

flakey pastries
The croissant's perfection is twofold: an interior of infinitely spiraling paper-thin layers and a shatteringly flaky crust. Get the recipe for the Best Croissants »Christina Holmes

Strawberry Lemon Cake

Strawberry Lemon Cake
At New York's Milk Bar, Christina Tosi makes this towering cake every spring, when sweet and tiny tristar strawberries are in season. This is by no means an everyday cake, but it's worth the work that you'll put in, and worthy of a special occasion. Get the recipe for Strawberry Lemon Cake »Matt Taylor-Gross

Quebecois-Style Mixed Meat Pie (Cipaille)

Quebecois-Style Mixed Meat Pie (Cipaille)
The exposed marrow bone isn't just carnivore bravado: It's also a chimney that allows steam to escape past the pastry from the juicy filling within. Get the recipe for Quebecois-Style Mixed Meat Pie (Cipaille) »Grant Cornett

New Orleans Doberge Cake

New Orleans Doberge Cake
This version of the classic NOLA dessert combines a rich buttermilk cake with both lemon curd and chocolate fillings, surrounded by a vanilla German buttercream and ganache. Get the recipe for New Orleans Doberge Cake »Ryan Liebe | Food Styling Mariana Velasquez

Short Ribs with Fermented Pepper Harissa

Short Ribs with Fermented Pepper Harissa
Tangy fermented pepper paste, the base of Burns' harissa, can be customized to be as sweet or spicy as you prefer. "Mine is usually in the middle," she says. The sauce can be used immediately, but Burns says the leftovers will continue to improve in taste for up to 6 months and keep indefinitely in the refrigerator. Slow-cooking the short ribs at the oven's lowest temperature, or in a low-heat dehydrator, ensures that the centers stay medium-rare. And a quick sear on a grill or grill pan delivers crispy edges. Get the recipe for Short Ribs with Fermented Pepper Harissa »Heami Lee

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

The Ultimate Pot Roast

braised beef shank with radishes and flaxseed relish
A low and slow braise is the best way to transform tough cuts of meat into fork-tender morsels. This version, made with a crosscut whole beef shank, is cooked in white wine and rich homemade beef bouillon layered with vegetables and aromatics for added complexity. Crunchy roasted radishes and a funky flaxseed, herb, and vinegar relish balance the pot roast's richness with acidity and texture. Get the recipe for The Ultimate Pot Roast »Heami Lee

Brioche

sliced brioche loaf
A slice of this rich, eggy bread straight out of the oven is transcendent. Get the recipe for Brioche »Thomas Payne

Chile and Cumin Lamb Kebabs (Yángròu chuàn)

cumin kebabs
The staple meats of Western China, lamb and mutton can be found folded into everything from pilafs to buns to noodles. Of course, they're also the focal point of the region's iconic kebabs. Seasoned with freshly ground cumin (zira in Farsi and zīrán in Chinese), which was probably introduced to Xinjiang from Persia, the kebabs get an extra kick from minced garlic cloves and ground chile powder. Get the recipe for Chile and Cumin Lamb Kebabs (Yángròu chuàn) »Matt Taylor-Gross

Rainbow Baked Alaska

Rainbow Baked Alaska
Five different flavors of sorbet are encased in meringue in this towering cake. Get the recipe for Rainbow Baked Alaska »Ted + Chelsea Cavanaugh

Dominique Ansel's Cassoulet

Dominique Ansel's Cassoulet
Made with confit duck legs, pork belly, and two kinds of sausage, this meaty, resplendently rich cassoulet is worth treasuring all winter. Get the recipe for Dominique Ansel's Cassoulet »Matt Taylor-Gross

Layered Strudel Cake (Prekmurska Gibanica)

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) »Chris Court

The Ultimate Stuffed Cabbage (Lou Fassum)

lou fassum
Lou fassum is most dramatic when presented whole, then sliced into thick wedges. Serving the pieces with a stock-based glaze is optional. The dish can also be drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with fresh herbs, or ladled with chicken stock and topped with a dusting of grated cheese. Serve with mashed or roasted potatoes if desired. Get the recipe for The Ultimate Stuffed Cabbage (Lou Fassum) »Matt Taylor-Gross

Thai Steamed Coconut-Pandan Cake (Khanom Chan)

khanom chan
Think of these silky, chewy, coconutty gummies as richer, more flavorful Jello jigglers, made with a steamed batter of coconut milk with sticky rice flour and tapioca and arrowroot starches. It's a labor of love: to form the neat layers, you have to let the previous layer steam enough until set but still a little tacky before adding the next. The cake also benefits enormously from making your own pandan extract; though you can buy pre-made extract in Thai groceries, it won't compare to the unique sweet herbal fragrance of the fresh leaves. (You can buy fresh or frozen pandan leaves online or in well-stocked Thai groceries.) Get the recipe for Thai Steamed Coconut-Pandan Cake (Khanom Chan) »Matt Taylor-Gross

Justin Smillie's Peppercorn-Crusted Short Ribs with Lemon, Olives, and Radishes

Justin Smillie's Peppercorn-Crusted Short Ribs with Lemon, Olives, and Radishes
These short ribs are brined, steam-roasted, and then seared, making the meat succulent and turning the peppercorn rub into a thick, spicy bark. Get the recipe for Justin Smillie's Peppercorn-Crusted Short Ribs with Lemon, Olives, and Radishes »Ingalls Photography

Baked Alaska Flambé

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 Flambé »Matt Taylor-Gross

Mixed Spring Vegetables With Almond Cream

Mixed Spring Vegetables With Almond Cream
Inspired by the vegetable dishes Laurent Gras cooked during his time at Monaco's Le Louis XV, this celebration of market fare is meant to be the centerpiece of a meal. The ingredients are permutable—peas, tomatoes, and favas in summer; beets, potatoes, and parsnips in winter—but all are enhanced with a kombu stock glaze (chicken or vegetable stock will do the job too) and laid over a bed of almond cream. Get the recipe for Mixed Spring Vegetables With Almond Cream »Matt Taylor-Gross

Chinese Sticky Rice Dumplings (Zongzi)

Zongzi
The leaf-wrapped sticky rice dumplings zongzi (in Mandarin) or joong (Cantonese) are a snack enjoyed year-round in China, though they are especially popular in the spring. The long bamboo leaves are filled with either sweet or savory ingredients, and often made and enjoyed by families in the weeks leading up to the Dragon Boat Festival, which falls on the fifth day in the fifth month of the lunar calendar. We learned how to make these with Chinese home cook Mei Zeng, who's perfected her zongzi recipe after years of practice. Get the recipe for Chinese Sticky Rice Dumplings (Zongzi) »Matt Taylor-Gross

Whole Wheat Mille Crêpe Cake

Whole Wheat Crepe Cake drizzled with caramel
Layer nutty whole wheat crêpes with delicate honey whipped cream for a light but impressive dessert. Get the recipe for Whole Wheat Mille Crêpe Cake »Matt Taylor-Gross

Crispy Philippine Slow-Roasted Pork Belly (Bellychon)

Crispy Philippine Slow-Roasted Pork Belly (Bellychon)
"This is my modern take on the traditional Lechon, which is a whole roasted pig. While many of us don't have the space or equipment to roast a whole pig on a spit over coals, this recipe gives you the ability to recreate the idea and flavors." – Leah Cohen of Pig & Khao Get the recipe for Crispy Philippine Slow-Roasted Pork Belly (Bellychon) »Matt Taylor-Gross

Pineapple Tea Cookies

Pineapple Tea Cookies
These sandwich cookies, adapted from chef Frederico Ribeiro of New York's Te Company, are an homage to the classic Taiwanese pineapple cake. Here a super-buttery vanilla bean shortbread gets a nutty dose of hazelnut flour, and sweet pineapple-rosemary jam gets balanced by the spicy, fermented, and grassy flavor of Japanese yuzu kosho paste. Get the recipe for Pineapple Tea Cookies »Matt Taylor-Gross