Extraordinary Holiday Desserts

Written By Marissa Jamison

Posted 11/01/11

Updated 11/01/11

For the Home

The holidays tend to bring out the baker in all of us—even if your idea of baking is to pick up a ready-made dessert on the way to a gathering!

At Biltmore, our pastry chefs are always creating new recipes to tempt the tastebuds, from elegant tarts to decadent tortes and classic rolled cakes. For a festive finish to a holiday meal—or a truly special hostess gift that will guarantee you receive an invitation next year—try your hand at any of our extraordinary holiday desserts.

To sweeten the deal, we’ve also paired each recipe with one of our fine Biltmore Wines that will perfectly complement the taste and texture of your masterpiece. Cheers!


Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake

• 1 pound dates, chopped
• 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
• 1 ¹⁄3 cups boiling water
• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 tablespoon baking powder
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• 1 cup butter, softened
• ½ cup dark brown sugar
• ²⁄3 cup molasses
• 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
• 2 eggs

Preheat oven to 325°. Combine dates, baking soda, and water in a small bowl; set aside. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside. In a large bowl, beat butter and dark brown sugar together until light and fluffy. Add eggs. Add molasses and vanilla. The mixture will look slightly “broken” but will come back together. Add the date mixture and dry ingredients; mix just until combined. Pour into a well-oiled 9-inch cake pan, individual loaf pans, or silicon molds. Bake for approximately 20 minutes; time will vary depending on chosen pan. When done, cakes will be firm to the touch and a toothpick or paring knife will come out clean.Tip:Dress up this dessert by adding a dollop of whipped cream, a drizzle of your favorite caramel topping, and fresh berries.

Winemaster’s Suggestion: Serve with Biltmore Estate Blanc de Blancs

For more holiday favorites, download our Christmas Recipe Booklet.


Praline Pumpkin Pie

Crust Ingredients:
• 1 pie crust, partially baked
• 4 tablespoons butter, melted
• 1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
• 1/2 cup pecans, chopped

Filling Ingredients:
• 3 eggs
• 1 egg yolk
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ground
• 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, ground
• 1/2 teaspoon ginger, ground
• 1/2 teaspoon cloves, ground
• 1 1/2 cups milk
• 1/2 cup heavy cream
• 2 cups pumpkin puree
• Candied pecans (optional)
• Whipped cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine melted butter, brown sugar, and pecans to create the praline mixture for the crust. Press praline mixture into partially baked 9” deep dish pie shell and bake in preheated oven for about 10 minutes. Then place in freezer until praline mixture is semi-frozen. For the pie filling, combine eggs, egg yolk, sugar, and brown sugar in a bowl. Add the salt and spices, mixing well. Slowly stir in the milk and cream, then add the pumpkin puree. Pour mixture into pie shell over praline mixture. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, then reduce temperature to 350 degrees and bake for another 40–50 minutes or until set. Consistency of pie will be somewhere between a traditional pumpkin pie and a pumpkin cheesecake. If desired, garnish with candied pecans and whipped cream when cool.

Winemaster’s Suggestion: Serve with Biltmore Century White Wine


Apple Almond Tart

Tart crust Ingredients:
• 11 tablespoons butter
• 1/3 cup sugar
• 1 egg
• 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1 cup all-purpose flour
• 1 cup cake flour*

Cream butter and sugar together. Slowly add egg and vanilla, then flours, until well mixed. Set aside.
*(If you do not have cake flour, make your own. For 1 cup of cake flour: measure 1 cup all-purpose flour. Remove 3 tablespoons and replace with 3 tablespoons of either cornstarch or potato flour. Sift together.)

Frangipane filling Ingredients:
• 13 tablespoons butter
• 3/4 cup almond paste
• 1 egg, separated (reserve egg white for almond topping)
• 3/4 cup sugar
• 3 eggs
• 1 cup bread flour

Mix almond paste with egg yolk to make it smooth. Cream almond paste with butter and sugar. Slowly add eggs, then flour. Set aside.

Apple filling Ingredients:
• 3 apples, peeled and chopped
• 3 tablespoons sugar
• 3 tablespoons brown sugar
• 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Mix chopped apples with sugars and cinnamon. Set aside.

Almond topping Ingredients:
• 1 cup sliced almonds
• 1 egg white
• 2 tablespoons sugar

Mix almonds, reserved egg white, and sugar. Set aside.

Roll out tart dough and place in a 10-inch tart pan and place in freezer until frozen, about 1 hour. Remove from freezer and spread a thin layer of frangipane filling on frozen tart shell. Spread apple filling on frangipane. Top with almond mixture. Bake at 325 degrees for about 45 minutes.

Winemaster’s Suggestion: Serve with Biltmore Century White Wine


Caramel Macadamia Nut Tart

Sugar Dough Ingredients (for 1 tart):
• 5 Tbsp. Butter
• 3 Tbsp. Sugar
• 1/2 each Eggs
• 1/3 cup All Purpose Flour
• 1/3 cup Cake Flour
• 1/2 tsp. Vanilla

Cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs and vanilla. Add the flours. Refrigerate until firm. Roll out and line tart pan. Prick with a fork and bake until completely done.

Filling Ingredients:
• 1 1/2 cups sugar
• 1/2 cup water
• 1/3 cup corn syrup
• 1 3/4 cups butter
• 1/3 cup heavy cream
• 3 cups macadamia nuts, toasted

Line tart shell with sugar dough. Bake shell until for about 15 min. They are done when the shell is golden brown. Combine sugar, water, and corn syrup in large pot and stir. Brush down sides. Cook until sugar caramelizes to a dark amber color. Cook until it reaches 330F-340F. Time will vary, depending on each individual stove. Do not stir. Remove pot from heat; immediately add butter and stir until melted. Stir in heavy cream. Place macadamia nuts in tart shells. Pour caramel into tart. Allow to set at room temperature.

Winemaster’s Suggestion: Serve with Biltmore Malvasia


Chocolate Mousse Torte

Cake Ingredients:
• 2 cups sugar
• 3/4 cup oil
• 2 1/2 eggs
• 1 cup cocoa powder
• 2 cups cake flour
• 1/2 tablespoon baking soda
• 3/4 cup sour cream
• 1 1/4 cup buttermilk
• 1/4 tablespoon vanilla

Cream sugar, oil, and eggs together. Sift dry ingredients together. Alternately add the liquid (sour cream, buttermilk, vanilla extract) and dry mixtures in 3 parts. Bake at 325 degrees (on low fan, if using a convection oven) until done.

Mousse Ingredients:
• 1 cup sugar
• 2 8-ounce packages cream cheese
• 1 1/3 cup white chocolate
• 2 cups heavy cream

Cream sugar and cream cheese until soft and smooth. Melt white chocolate and keep warm. Whip heavy cream until soft peaks form. Fold warm chocolate into cream cheese mixture, then fold in whipped cream.

Ganache Ingredients:
• 1 cup heavy cream
• 1 1/3 cups semi-sweet chocolate

Bring heavy cream to a boil; pour over chocolate and stir to combine. Reserve small amount of ganache, about 1/4 cup, to add to buttercream.

Buttercream Ingredients:
• 12 tablespoons butter
• 8 tablespoons shortening
• 4 cups powdered sugar

Decoration: chocolate curls (optional)

Cream butter and shortening until very, very smooth. Add sugar (approximately 1/2 cup at a time) until combined. Add reserved ganache and stir to combine.

Cut chocolate cake into three layers (keep top layer as top of torte). Place bottom layer on cake plate and spread with ganache. Add middle layer and repeat. Add top layer. Ice only the sides of the torte with chocolate buttercream; place chocolate curls on the sides. Pipe ropes of chocolate mousse on the top.

Winemaster’s Suggestion: Serve with Biltmore Sparkling Blanc de Noir


Toffee Pumpkin Roll

Cake Ingredients:
• 4 eggs
• 1 egg, separated; egg white reserved for filling
• 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
• 3/4 cup prepared pumpkin purée
• 1 teaspoon lemon juice
• 1 1/3 cup bread flour
• 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
• 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
• 1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
• 3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
• 2 teaspoons salt
• 1/3 cup Heath Bar toffee pieces

Beat eggs and egg yolk on high speed for 5 minutes. Gradually add in sugar. Stir in pumpkin purée and lemon juice. Sift all dry ingredients together and add in toffee pieces; fold into pumpkin mixture. Spread evenly on half-sheet or jelly roll pan, sprayed and lined with parchment. Bake at 325 degrees until cake feels springy to the touch.About 10 min.

Filling Ingredients:
• 12 tablespoons butter
• 8 tablespoons shortening
• 2 3-ounce packages cream cheese
• 5 cups confectioner sugar
• 1 egg white
• 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

Cream the butter, shortening, and cream cheese until completely smooth. Add confectioner sugar (approximately 1/2 cup at a time) and mix. Mix egg white and lemon juice together and add to icing.

Spread filling evenly over the surface of the pumpkin cake, then roll cake gently into a log lengthwise.

Winemaster’s Suggestion: Serve with Biltmore Sparkling Sec

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