Pastry Dessert Recipes

From caramelized apple to chocolate ganache, to a tart or a puff pastry, we have tips and techniques that will ensure your dessert looks and tastes like you put some serious love into it.

Staff Picks

Classic Cream Puffs

The foundation of the perfect cream puff is light, airy pâte à choux, which is made with eggs, flour, and butter—there's no leavening other than eggs in this classic French dough. It's piped into circles to form the cream puffs. After baking, a small "x" is scored in the bottom of each cooled puff, then the pastry cream filling is piped inside.

Cherry-Cheese Strudel Pie

This strudel-inspired confection is a total crowd pleaser. A custardy mix of cream cheese, ricotta, and egg—marbled with a swirl of tart cherry sauce—bakes up into a delicious filling. The bottom crust is made with store-bought puff pastry. It stays light and airy thanks to blind-baking, while scoring it gives the edges a rustic braided look. 

Walnut-and-Honey Baklava

The many buttered layers of phyllo dough, walnut filling, and sweet syrup make baklava the ultimate special-occasion dessert in Greece.

Cream Horns

You'll need twelve cream-horn molds or four-inch wooden cake dowels to make these horns. For a delicious alternative, add almond extract, raspberry puree, or mini chocolate chips to the whipped cream.

Apple Dumplings

A traditional Pennsylvania Dutch dessert, these apple pastries are spiced with cinnamon and studded with raisins. Martha made this recipe on episode 708 of Martha Bakes.

Pink Croquembouche

French for "crunch in the mouth," croquembouche is a tower of cream puffs held together by hot caramel. Martha makes the dessert even more showstopping by turning the pastries pink and filling them with strawberry buttercream.


Rating: 3.5 stars 174
Making this classic French pastry at home is easier than you think.

Honey Buns

Rating: 4 stars 46
There is very little white sugar in these not-just-for-breakfast buns -- but you won't miss it. Honey imparts its smooth, mellow sweetness to every component: the rich, buttery dough, the tangy creme fraiche filling, and the appealingly sticky topping.

Apple-Cinnamon Strudel

Rating: 3.5 stars 222
Busy times call for easy desserts that have a sweet simplicity, like these flaky apple-cinnamon pastries. For our streamlined strudel, we folded convenient store-bought puff pastry around a four-ingredient filling of sauteed fruit.

Chrusciki Leaves

Rating: 3 stars 57
If you're storing fried cookies, wait until just before serving to dust them with confectioners' sugar so they don't absorb it.

Old Vienna Apple Strudel

Sweet and tender Golden Delicious apples mingle with cinnamon, raisins, and walnuts in this traditional Austrian dessert. Martha and Nick Malgieri made this recipe on Martha Bakes episode 503.

Classic Cannoli

Rating: 3 stars 315
True to its Sicilian roots, our cannoli are filled with fresh ricotta, instead of the custard and cream that define American versions. Cinnamon-infused dough for the shells is rolled with a pasta maker (another nod to the old country) and then lightly fried and dipped in chocolate and pistachios. The result? A dessert that is delizioso.

Inspiration and Ideas

Cinnamon-Sugar Ragamuffins
Sugar and spice and everything nice—that's what these special pastries are made of. They start with biscuit dough, which is flattened out and dusted with plenty of sugar and cinnamon. Then it's rolled up, sliced, sprinkled with coarse sugar for extra sparkle and crunch, and baked until flaky and golden brown.
Mincemeat Hand Pies
Inspired by traditional mincemeat pies, we filled turnovers with dried fruit seasoned with cinnamon, ginger, and cardamom. Lard in the crust, in lieu of the usual suet, makes it sublimely flaky. Per English custom, brandy butter is served alongside.
Cinnamon-Bun Bites
Rating: 3.5 stars 344

Serve these bites directly from the baking dish, or unmold them and place the whole mound on a serving dish or in a basket. Recipe adapted with permission from "Williams-Sonoma Family Meals: Creating Traditions in the Kitchen," copyright 2009 by Maria Helm Sinskey and Williams-Sonoma, published by Weldon Owen, San Francisco.