There's always room for dessert!

Leisl Egan

Some of your recommendations for the best desserts these holidays!

Image of a tray of Christmas themed iced cookies. Photo by Ignacio R on Unsplash
Published
20 Dec 2021
Last updated
20 Dec 2021
Reading time
5 min
Author
Leisl Egan

Christmas and the holiday break are only days away. Forget about presents, decorations, who is picking up Nana... the most important question we should be asking ourselves is - what’s for dessert?

Because despite the number of prawns and slices of ham we will consume, there is always room for dessert.

We asked you what some of your favourite ‘sweet afters’ ideas, and the selection was delectable! If you need inspiration for what to serve post-Christmas-feast, then check out our list below!

Pavlova

Image of a pavlova on a cake stand, decorated with strawberries, mango and passionfruit. Image by Judi Wade on Facebook.
Image by Judi Wade on Facebook.

Pavlova has been a tried and tested favourite of any table at any celebration. Named after the famous Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova, the light and fluffy baked meringue topped with cream and fruit has long been a source of contention between Australia and New Zealand. Just which country was responsible for the dish we know and love today?

In 1935 a chef in a Perth restaurant is credited with the recipe for the modern pavlova we know today, a dish ‘that is as light as Pavlova’, but a version of a meringue sandwich dish also named after the ballerina is rumoured to have originated in New Zealand as early as 1926. It’s an age-old argument, that won’t be solved anytime soon.

Several desserts named pavlova have popped up across the years bearing little resemblance to what we know, and several versions of meringue-based desserts have also appeared ready to stake their claim, but whichever way you make it and whatever fruit you top it with, the bringing out of pavlova is always sure to be met with ‘Yes please!’.

Christmas Pudding

Image of a Christmas Pudding in a dish. The pudding is covered in a blue flame. Photo by Matt Seymour on Unsplash

Christmas Pudding. Whether you love it or hate it, is it really Christmas without the smell of hot spiced cake and fruits creeping throughout the house?

Christmas Pudding, Plum Pudding, or just plain old ‘Pud’, this dessert is long synonymous with Christmas, and has its history in Australia thanks to the large amount of European settlers and migrants.

The Christmas Pudding originated in medieval times, and doesn’t actually contain plums, despite its name. ‘Plums’ was the word for raisins in pre-Victorian times in the UK, and this pudding can contain any dried fruits.

Early recipes were made up of suet, dried fruit, breadcrumbs, flour, eggs and spice, along with liquid which may be milk or fortified wine. Luckily, over the centuries, we’ve improved upon the recipe to include more flavoursome things like orange peel, custard, and brandy butter.

Served hot or cold, the Christmas Pud is a treat that lasts well into New Year’s!

Chocolate Ripple Cake

Image of a chocolate ripple cake, decorated with chocolate flakes and blueberries. Image by Judi Wade on Facebook.
Image by Judi Wade on Facebook.

Chocolate Ripple cake is a dessert that Victoria can celebrate as its own. For years Chocolate Ripple biscuits were a delicacy only known to Victorians, due to the biscuit manufacturer Brockhoff’s strong home market in our state. Even after the company was bought out by Arnott’s, in those early years Chocolate Ripples seemed to be just a delicious rumour to other states, and it was a couple of decades until they appeared on shelves all around the country.

The biscuits first appeared in the early 1930’s, and the first documented recipe for Chocolate Ripple Cake can be found in 1933. This dish, while delicious, is certainly indulgent. Layers of biscuits, cemented together with cream, and then wrapped in another layer of cream.

There are variations on the recipe, whether it’s constructing horizontally or vertically, soaking the biscuits in sherry, adding gelatine to the cream, or as one of our contributors Kristeen suggests ‘fresh berries in between the biscuits, add Grande Mariner to the crème in the middle and toss grated chocolate all over the top!’

Cheesecake

Image of a cheesecake on a cake stand, decorated with mangoes. Image by Judi Wade on Facebook.
Image by Judi Wade on Facebook.

There are any number of a variety of cheesecakes, from the dense, baked dish unadorned with fruit or sauce, to the wobbly, light-as-air variety favoured in Asian countries. Whatever your preference, all of them have one thing in common, deliciousness!

The cheesecake can trace its origins back to Ancient Greece, as early as the 5th century BC, and since then has had multiple reimagining’s, additions and substitutes to create the wide variety we know today.

You can go with the traditional cream-cheese and crushed biscuit variety, or zest up an old favourite with the addition of citrus juice and fruits.

Trifle

Image of a variety of trifle, featuring caramel and nuts, served in an individual glass. Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Trifle is another dish that can be traced back as far as the 16th century, when it first appeared in Thomas Dawson's 1585 book of English cookery 'The Good Huswifes Jewell'. The recipe was for a thick cream flavoured with sugar, ginger and rosewater.

Another version appeared in the 19th century that contained gelatine, and thanks to several additions over the years, we now have the modern version of the dessert we know today.

With a thin layer of sponge fingers commonly soaked in sherry or another fortified wine, custard and a fruit element (fresh, or jelly), despite its name this dessert is no trifling thing. It’s a delicious way to round off a meal on a hot Christmas day, and adapts easily to personal substitutions, like coffee, chocolate or vanilla.