These Elegant Christmas Desserts Promise to Be the Star of Your Holiday Meal
Christmas might just be the one time of year where we go way over the top for dessert. These showstoppers might get even more selfies than your tree! And just because they'll impress a crowd, it doesn't mean you have to spend all day or buy special equipment to make them (Baked Alaskas and trifles, we love you). The best way to turn up the elegance here is to start with great ingredients, take time with decorating, and don't shy away from decadence. After all, those New Year's resolutions don't start for a few more days, right?
Buche de Noel
Call this Christmas dessert by its French name, Buche de Noel, and make your holiday even classier. After the cake is filled and rolled, spread with ganache or keep it simple with a snowfall of powdered sugar.
Flourless Chocolate Espresso Cake
Some cakes need lots of bells and whistles to be elegant, but not this decadent chocolate cake. "I took this to a holiday party filled with foodies and everyone loved it," says Allrecipes user debbie. A little instant espresso makes the chocolate taste even more chocolaty.
English Trifle with Angel Food Cake
If you're looking for a posh dessert that's also a great make-ahead option, try the trifle. This one layers sherry-soaked cake with pastry cream and raspberry jam. It's also incredibly easy: "My 11-year-old actually did most of it," says Jeannie.
"Doorbells and sleigh bells and…" We just had to include this classic German dessert from The Sound of Music. Store-bought phyllo wraps around the apple and raisin filling and bakes until golden and flaky.
Brandied Cherry Clafouti
Think of clafoutis like a fancy French pancake. The batter is slightly custardy, and the whole thing is studded with brandy-soaked cherries. The fruit cake might just have some stiff competition this year.
Marbled Pumpkin Cheesecake
When dessert looks like a work of art, you know you have a worthy finale to your Christmas dinner. "It didn't last more than 24 hours, which is saying a lot since there were about 20 other desserts available," says aprileyer.
Baked Alaska Dessert
Ice cream in winter is totally acceptable with this centerpiece Baked Alaska. Starting with graham cracker crumbs and store-bought ice cream leaves you plenty of time to make snowy white swirls with the meringue.
Multi-layered cassata cake is like a cannoli turned up to eleven. This one alternates rum-soaked sponge cake with sweetened ricotta. It's topped off with a shiny chocolate glaze. "…better than any NYC Italian bakery," says Lucymarilyn.
Christmas Plum Pudding
You cannot beat the classics at Christmas time, and this one dates back as far as medieval England. "I presented this pudding at the Christmas dinner table last year and my family were amazed — to this day they think I'm a culinary genius!" says DTB8.
Cheesecake with Cranberry Glaze and Sugared Cranberries
Carrie Hunter only had one word for this stunning dessert: "Amazing." A silky smooth cheesecake gets a lift from fresh orange zest and a beautiful finish with a fresh cranberry glaze and sugared cranberries.
Eggnog Creme Brulee
The boozy, eggy, creamy holiday drink couldn't be a better fit for this classic French custard. You can make these a couple days ahead and refrigerate, then top with sugar and brûlée just before serving.
Salted Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Caramel Truffles
A tall, light-as-air soufflé is already impressive. A holiday spin with chestnut puree folded into the batter makes it a Christmas showstopper.
White Chocolate Cheesecake with White Chocolate Brandy Sauce
Many reviewers loved this beautiful cheesecake. Luna1937 got an added bonus: "My husband had a holiday bake off at his work and the winner got a day off of work. It won!" We can think of no higher praise.
Raspberry Napoleons Dessert
Stack up flaky, buttery puff pastry with whipped cream made rich with cream cheese, add a few fresh raspberries, and you have a simple dessert for Christmas that looks like it belongs in a Paris bakery window.