Eton Mess Recipe with Mango, Passionfruit and Dragonfruit. Best dessert recipes. Copyright © 2018 Terence Carter / Grantourismo. All Rights Reserved.

Best Dessert Recipes for the Holidays, for Christmas, New Year and Beyond

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Our best dessert recipes for Christmas, New Year and the holidays beyond include an array of easy holiday dessert recipes, everything from a classic Australian pavlova to a very British Eton mess, albeit with a tropical twist, to an array of easy Asian dessert recipes and a sublime soft-centred chocolate cake.

If you’re already starting to think about holiday desserts, and what you’re going to cook over the holidays and the first course of your holiday meals that comes to mind is the last course, dessert, then please browse our concise collection of our best dessert recipes from Australia, Asia and beyond. And do bookmark it as we’ll be adding to it over coming weeks.

Our best dessert recipes include everything from Australia’s quintessential holiday dessert, the pavlova, to our tropical Southeast Asian spin on a very British dessert, the Eton mess, plus we have a collection of easy Southeast Asian dessert recipes from our decade or so living here in the region, along with a heavenly soft-centred chocolate cake that Terence made in Costa Rica.

Do bookmark this collection of Christmas dessert recipes, as we’ll be adding more dessert recipes over the next weeks.

Before you scroll down, we have more Christmas recipe collections you may like, including our best Christmas cocktail recipes, best dip recipes for crackers and crudités for festive parties, best Christmas starters (including devilled eggs), and best Christmas salads. We also have homemade edible Christmas gifts you can make and Christmas gifts for food lovers designed with Terence’s mouthwatering images in our Grantourismo shop.

Every day between now and Christmas, we’ll be adding more recipes and recipe compilations for Christmas day breakfast and brunch, Christmas finger food and nibbles, Christmas mains and sides, and ideas for Christmas leftovers, so do bookmark this page, drop by and visit again, or subscribe (bottom of the page).

Before I tell you all about our best dessert recipes, I have a favour to ask. Grantourismo is reader-funded. If you’ve cooked our recipes and enjoyed them, please consider supporting Grantourismo by using our links to buy travel insurance, rent a car or campervan or motorhome, book accommodation, or book a tour on Klook or Get Your Guide. You could also browse our Grantourismo store for gifts for food lovers, including fun reusable cloth face masks designed with Terence’s images.

Another option is to support our epic Cambodian cuisine history and cookbook on Patreon; or buy us a coffee, although we’ll probably use our coffee money to buy cooking ingredients for recipe testing; or or buy something on Amazon, such as these cookbooks for culinary travellers, James Beard award-winning cookbooks, cookbooks by Australian chefs, classic cookbooks for serious cooks, travel books to inspire wanderlust, and gifts for Asian food lovers and picnic lovers. Now let me tell you all about our best dessert recipes.

Best Dessert Recipes for the Holidays, Christmas, New Year and Beyond

Classic Pavlova Recipe with Kiwi Fruit by Matt Preston

This classic pavlova recipe with kiwi fruit – and, bonus: a history of Australia’s signature dessert – comes courtesy of food writer Matt Preston, whose recently-released World of Flavour, The Recipes, Myths and Surprising Stories Behind the World’s Best-Loved Food is a cookbook as much as a myth-busting culinary history that finally sets the record straight: pavlova is Australian, not from New Zealand. This is one of the best dessert recipes for the holidays. Whether you’re in the sunny southern hemisphere or chilly northern hemisphere, pavlova is hard to beat.

Classic Pavlova Recipe with Kiwi Fruit and the History of this Popular Australian Dessert

Tropical Eton Mess Recipe with Mango, Passionfruit and Dragonfruit

Our Eton Mess recipe with mango, passionfruit and dragonfruit is one of our best dessert recipes. It makes a tropical version of the traditional English dessert of broken meringue, fresh sweet strawberries and whipped double cream. I created the dessert to make use of the end of season mangoes but you could easily replace mango with another seasonal fruit. This Eton Mess is my next favourite dessert after a pavlova with mango and passionfruit. I love that the Eton Mess is an old dessert with a summery history, its first mention dating to an 1893 garden party attended by Queen Victoria, and it’s said to have originated from Eton College where it was served at their annual cricket match.

Tropical Eton Mess Recipe with Mango, Passionfruit and Dragonfruit

Easy Trifle Recipe for a Tropical Trifle with Papaya and Lychee Jelly

This easy trifle recipe makes a tropical trifle with layers of rum-soaked vanilla sponge, fresh papaya, lychee jelly, pineapple custard, mango puree, fresh passionfruit, and cream, topped with dried tropical fruits, and it’s easily another of our best dessert recipes. Served in individual glasses, it’s an elegant trifle made for holiday entertaining, but could also be served in a traditional trifle bowl. The presentation not only makes for a more elegant looking trifle that’s more suited to holiday entertaining, but the trifles set faster and hold together better.

Easy Trifle Recipe for a Tropical Trifle with Papaya, Pineapple Custard, Mango Puree and Lychee Jelly

Thai Tea No Churn Ice Cream Recipe

This Thai tea ice cream recipe makes an easy no churn ice cream using four ingredients: Thai tea mix, whipping cream, condensed milk, and salt, and it’s another of our best dessert recipes. It will take you right back to Thailand if you tasted the bright orange Thai iced tea there. If you didn’t, this is it: ChaTraMue Extra Gold Thai Tea Mix or Number One Brand Original Thai Tea Mix Red Label. No ice cream maker needed, just an electric hand beater to whip the cream until peaks form, then fold in the sweetened condensed milk. You’ll also need a teapot with stainless steel filter or a Thai tea filter or tea strainer and a large ice cream scoop.

Thai Tea Ice Cream Recipe and an Easy No Churn Ice Cream Recipe for Any Flavour

Thai Mango Sticky Rice Recipe by Chef David Thompson

This Thai mango sticky rice recipe adapted from chef David Thompson’s Thai Street Food cookbook makes the much-loved Thai dessert kao niaw mamuang, a jasmine scented sweet that will also take you back to eating on the streets of Thailand and it’s another of our best dessert recipes. While David Thompson’s recipe is so detailed it intimidated me at first, it’s actually very easy. Those finicky directions for plunging knotted pandan leaves in water and perfuming rice with fresh jasmine flowers are there for a reason. Embrace them and delight in the results.

This Thai Mango Sticky Rice Recipe by Chef David Thompson Is Not As Intimidating As It Looks

Banana Coconut Tapioca Pudding Recipe

Our banana coconut tapioca pudding recipe makes Cambodia’s chek ktis, a sweet and creamy aromatic dessert of stewed banana in coconut milk and tapioca pearls, perfumed with star anise, and it’s another of our best dessert recipes. Garnish with grated coconut, add a drizzle of coconut cream, and sprinkle with sesame seeds before serving. If you can’t get hold of Cambodian palm sugar, palm sugar from Thailand is available on Amazon. Unless you have access to coconuts to press your own coconut cream and coconut milk, tinned coconut milk and canned coconut cream are fine, as is dried grated coconut or desiccated coconut.

Cambodian Banana Coconut Tapioca Pudding Recipe with Sesame and Star Anise for Chek Ktis

Mango Sago Recipe for a Creamy Mango Sago Pudding

Our best mango sago recipe makes an easy, healthy, creamy Southeast Asian mango sago pudding made with just five ingredients, making it another one of our easy Asian desserts recipes, and another of our best dessert recipes. It’s also made without cream – no coconut cream, no dairy cream, no condensed milk, nada. The secret to the creaminess is frozen mangos, just like with our mango smoothie – which also makes this mango sago pudding healthier than most.

Our Best Mango Sago Recipe for an Easy Healthy Creamy Mango Sago Pudding

Pink Dragon Fruit Sago Pudding Recipe for the Prettiest Tropical Dessert

This pink dragon fruit sago pudding recipe makes the prettiest tropical superfood dessert you’ll savour and another of our best dessert recipes. Not only is this tropical fruit pudding delightful to look at – who doesn’t love pink sweets? – it’s a healthy dessert too. Red dragon fruit is a superfood, rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, high in fibre, and low in calories. Loaded with antioxidants, red dragon fruit is rich in vitamins and minerals, it’s also high in fibre, low in calories, and is great for gut health. But most importantly, it’s incredibly delicious.

Pink Dragon Fruit Sago Pudding Recipe for the Prettiest Tropical Superfood Dessert

Caramelised Pumpkin Sago Pudding Recipe

Our caramelised pumpkin sago pudding recipe makes a sweet Cambodian dessert called borbor lapov that is easily another of our best dessert recipes. Made with pumpkin and sago pearls – lapov is pumpkin in Khmer while a borbor is a porridge – it’s a sweet porridge eaten as a street food snack and is the last of our easy Asian desserts recipes. At home, you can add vanilla or coconut ice cream and a sprinkle of sesame seeds. The caramelised pumpkin combines with the sago pearls to create a pudding that is sweet and textured and, if you serve it warm, also very comforting.

Caramelised Pumpkin Sago Pudding Recipe for the Cambodian Dessert Porridge Borbor Lapov

Vietnamese Sweet Corn Pudding Recipe

Chè is a style of Vietnamese dessert that can be like a pudding, a porridge, even a soup, and this easy Vietnamese sweet corn pudding recipe makes chè bắp in the Hoi An style of Central Vietnam and it’s another of our best dessert recipes. Chè bắp is also a Southern Vietnamese sweet corn pudding, while chè ngô is the Northern Vietnamese sweet corn pudding. We lived in the ancient port town’s atmospheric historic centre before we moved to Cambodia’s Siem Reap. This recipe makes the chè bắp that we used to eat as a late afternoon treat, perched on the lovely chè seller’s tiny wooden stools on the sunny square by the Hoi An river.

Vietnamese Sweet Corn Pudding Recipe for Che Bap in the Hoi An Style of Central Vietnam

Soft-Centred Chocolate Cake Recipe

Our soft-centred chocolate cake recipe for a chocolate lava cake or molten chocolate cake was inspired by our visit to the Villa Vanilla spice farm in Costa Rica, which was very inspirational. Seeing fresh vanilla and cocoa beans was a treat. Seeing the flowers that lead to the formation of a cacao pod and seeing the cocoa beans out drying in the sun was amazing. It was so inspirational that Terence begged for the last 100 grams of the small-batch chocolate that they’d just started producing to make this easy dessert recipe, which unlike a soufflé or a crème brûlée, requires no magic to work. It’s another of our best dessert recipes and one of the oldest dessert recipes from our Grantourismo archive.

Soft-Centred Chocolate Cake Recipe for a Chocolate Lava Cake or Molten Chocolate Cake

Please do let us know in the comments below if you make any of our best dessert recipes as we’d love to know how they turn out for you.


Lara Dunston Patreon


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A travel and food writer who has experienced over 70 countries and written for The Guardian, Australian Gourmet Traveller, Feast, Delicious, National Geographic Traveller, Conde Nast Traveller, Travel+Leisure Southeast Asia, DestinAsian, TIME, CNN, The Independent, The Telegraph, Sunday Times Travel Magazine, AFAR, Wanderlust, International Traveller, Get Lost, Four Seasons Magazine, Fah Thai, Sawasdee, and more, as well as authored more than 40 guidebooks for Lonely Planet, DK, Footprint, Rough Guides, Fodors, Thomas Cook, and AA Guides.

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