Admittedly, we indulge in sinfully rich desserts all year long, every chance we get—but the holidays give us permission to go for an extra-decadent dose. These five must-try holiday desserts at restaurants have us pretty excited right about now. And we're not just talking frosted cookies and pumpkin pie (although we'll never say no to those, either).
1. Christmas Tree Cake, Dominique Ansel Kitchen, New York
Dominique Ansel Kitchen in Manhattan's West Village welcomes guests with made-to-order French classic desserts, plus baked and savory goods. Now through December 24, you can order this Christmas Tree Cake, made of tiers of peppermint mousse, raspberry orange jam, chocolate cake and milk chocolate stars stacked to look like a festive tree (one that's about to disappear in two seconds).
2. Kurisumasu, Kuu Restaurant, Houston
Houston’s Kuu Restaurant serves Japanese food from Nobu-trained chef Adison Lee and creative desserts by pastry chef Karla Espinosa, in an unforgettable space decorated with a giant graphic of a bluefin tuna with pulsating lights. But you'll barely notice all that, since you'll be diving into artfully presented sweets like this kurisumasu dessert: Maple and pear mousse join pistachio sponge cake and gingerbread cake, plus cranberry and Asian pear sherbet, to make a showstopping holiday dessert garnished with a meringue mushroom and white chocolate snow.
3. Winter Pavlova, Viognier, San Mateo, California
Tuck into a plush booth, near a crackling fireplace, and pick from the more than 1,100 wine selections and California-French locavore dishes. But what you're really here for this time of year is the Winter Pavlova. An exercise in pure decadence, the dessert combines gingerbread cake with mulling-spiced cream, pomegranate, cranberry jam, cubed vanilla bean, cinnamon and orange-poached pear. Oh, and there's more: Candied walnuts, white chocolate and meringue add a finishing touch.
4. Ginger & Spice, Trace, Austin
At Trace, inside the W Austin Hotel, the kitchen cranks out innovative farm-to-table dishes, plus desserts like the Ginger & Spice from pastry chef Angel Begaye. This dreamy holiday-inspired confection is made from gingerbread cake, milk chocolate bavarois (Bavarian cream) and juicy caramelized apples.
5. Pielogen, David Burke Fabrick, New York
Pastry chef Zac Young has come up with the ultimate holiday dessert. At $65, the Pielogen (a new spin on the Thanksgiving hit called Piecaken) is a definite splurge—but you deserve it, right? Available in limited quantities, the yule log-inspired masterpiece—basically a dessert version of a turducken— is built out of three layers of toffee pie, eggnog cheesecake and a chocolate-caramel yule log, and it's frosted with heavenly chocolate buttercream.
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