The 20 Best Christmas Baking Recipes | Pastry shop

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It is almost the holiday season, the time for winter feasts, for the preparation of Christmas treats. If you want simple and tasty – Jeremy Lee’s definitive soda bread, a clever spin on cheese straws, or something eye-catching and adventurous like Justin Gellatly’s monumental croquembouche – you don’t need to look further. From Dan Lepard to Dominique Ansel, from Anna Jones to Claire Ptak, from Yotam Ottolenghi to Nigel Slater, our experts have your back. There’s also crispy shortbread stars, Christmas pudding, hash parfaits, Mont Blanc tarts, luxurious meringue cake, even Anja Dunk’s gingerbread house. The best recipes for a family tea or a chic party. Merry Christmas to everyone.

Gloriously festive, these fragrant star cookies are perfect to have on hand for Christmas cuppa teas and make a great gift.

Yotam Ottolenghi’s orange and saffron shortbread stars. Photograph: Louise Hagger/The Guardian

Bright, rich, spicy and above all delicious, this seasonal staple is best made ahead of time and then allowed to warm gently while you eat Christmas lunch.

Claire Ptak's Violet Bakery Christmas Pudding.
Claire Ptak’s Violet Bakery Christmas Pudding. Photography: Patricia Niven / The Observer

With its snowy surface giving way to layers of crispy puff pastry and rich, buttery vanilla custard, it’s a winter wonderland cake.

Napoleon cake from Alissa Timoshkina.
Napoleon cake by Alissa Timoshkina. Photography: Patricia Niven / The Observer

Christmas entertaining is a breeze with these more indulgent snacks – easy to make, quick to cook straight from the freezer, and perfect with a drink.

Alvin Caudwell Cheesy Marmite Straws.
Alvin Caudwell Cheesy Marmite Straws. Photography: Patricia Niven / The Observer

An easy recipe for a snowy fairy tale scene that’s as fun to decorate as it is to eat.

Anja Dunk's Gingerbread House.
Anja Dunk’s Gingerbread House. Photography: Patricia Niven / The Observer

The deep, rich flavors of prune and Armagnac add seasonally indulgent notes to a chocolate brownie recipe that will always appeal to purists.

Nigel Slater's prune brownies.
Nigel Slater’s prune brownies. Photograph: Jonathan Lovekin/The Observer

This impressive cake, traditionally crushed by the host before being served, makes a theatrical centerpiece for the Christmas table.

Justin Gellatly's croquembouche.
Justin Gellatly’s croquembouche. Photography: Patricia Niven / The Observer

This version of an Italian pie is an almost perfect winter pudding – seasonal fruit, wrapped in ricotta cream and baked in a hazelnut crust.

Pear, persimmon and ricotta crostata from Joe Trivelli.
Pear, persimmon and ricotta crostata from Joe Trivelli. Photography: Jean Cazals/L’Observateur

Buttery puff pastry, gooey cheese and layered potatoes, this pie elevates comfort food to a vegetarian main dish worthy of a Christmas feast.

Dauphinois pies from Ravneet Gill.
Dauphinois pies from Ravneet Gill. Photography: Patricia Niven / The Observer

A recipe for fruity, deeply spiced ground meat and one for the perfect crispy batter that helps turn it into those Christmas staples.

Mince pies from Blanche Vaughan.
Mince pies from Blanche Vaughan. Photography: Patricia Niven / The Observer

A variation of the French Yule log sees the traditional dark chocolate sponge cake and frosting replaced with pistachios and white chocolate.

Dan Lepard's pistachio halva chocolate roulade.
Dan Lepard’s pistachio halva chocolate roulade. Photography: Dan Lepard

Nothing beats freshly baked bread, generously spread with butter. This easy bread is made with an interesting heirloom grain and goes especially well with smoked salmon or Christmas cheese.

Jeremy Lee's Smoked Salmon Molasses Soda Bread.
Jeremy Lee’s Smoked Salmon Molasses Soda Bread. Photography: Patricia Niven / The Observer

In this sophisticated tart, the classic pudding of chestnut puree and whipped cream is enhanced with a crispy pecan praline.

Mont Blanc tartlets by Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh.
Mont Blanc tartlets by Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh. Photography: Peden & Munk

The membrillo – quince paste – is not reserved only for the cheese platter. Stirred into a mixture with buttermilk, spelled and poppy seeds, when cooked, it melts deliciously in this surprisingly decadent baking dish.

Anna Jones membrillo, buttermilk and poppyseed cake.
Anna Jones membrillo, buttermilk and poppyseed cake. Photography: Ana Cuba

Like a doused pavlova with a lid, the elements of this merry pudding can be made two days in advance, taking the stress out of the Christmas feast a bit.

Jeremy Lee's Walnut Pineapple Meringue Cake.
Jeremy Lee’s Walnut Pineapple Meringue Cake. Photograph: Danielle Wood/The Observer

This dinnertime favorite gets an update, hiding nuggets of a favorite Christmas candy in its gooey center. One for the haters of the traditional pudding.

Chocolate Fudge Pudding Cakes with Turkish Delight from Greg and Lucy Malouf.
Chocolate Fudge Pudding Cakes with Turkish Delight from Greg and Lucy Malouf. Photography: Alan Benson

This traditional Indian Catholic family recipe is bursting with rich, smooth flavors of caramel and rum, with lots of spicy sweet ginger and chopped cashews.

Rum Soaked Caramel Raisin Cake from Nik Sharma.
Rum Soaked Caramel Raisin Cake from Nik Sharma. Photography: Nik Sharma

Influenced by American home cooking, this cheesecake is bursting with seasonal spices – and was a coveted favorite of the Honey & Co. kitchen staff.

Honey & Butternut Squash Spice Cheesecake Co's from Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich.
Butternut Squash & Spice Cheesecake from Honey & Co by Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich. Photography: Patricia Niven / The Observer

There’s no better use for leftover croissants, and it’s an easy and beautifully indulgent brunch or supper for those lazy days after Christmas.

Jam and Butter Croissant Pudding from Dominique Ansel.
Jam and Butter Croissant Pudding from Dominique Ansel. Photograph: Martin Poole/The Observer

A sweet brioche bread with orange blossom is traditional in Provence for Christmas Eve – but it works just as well as a Boxing Day breakfast to dip into cups of hot chocolate.

Caroline Craig's oil pump.
Caroline Craig’s oil pump. Photography: Patricia Niven / The Observer
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