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 croissant’s perfection is twofold: an interior of infinitely spiraling paper-thin layers and a shatteringly flaky crust.

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 »

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) »

New Orleans Doberge Cake

New Orleans Doberge Cake

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 »

Sauternes Custard with Armagnac-Soaked Prunes

Sauternes Custard with Armagnac-Soaked Prunes

The Ultimate Pot Roast

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 »

Brioche

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

Chile and Cumin Lamb Kebabs (Yángròu chuàn)

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) »

Rainbow Baked Alaska

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

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 »

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) »

The Ultimate Stuffed Cabbage (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) »

Thai Steamed Coconut-Pandan Cake (Khanom Chan)

Get the recipe for Thai Steamed Coconut-Pandan Cake (Khanom Chan) »

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 »

Step Up Your Chocolate Cake Game With This Baked Alaska Recipe

Layers of ice cream are enrobed in fluffy meringue in a classic baked Alaska.

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 »

Chinese Sticky Rice Dumplings (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) »

Whole Wheat Mille Crêpe Cake

Whole Wheat Mille Crêpe Cake

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) »

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 »