Courtesy of Rachel Vanni
Learning to distract yourself has become an art form over the past...many months. From baking more loaves of bread than we can count to jumping on the never ending Tik Tok hack bandwagon, it's certainly been a year for the kitchen. But, if you're focacciad out and in need of something a little more challenging, we've got you covered. These 20 difficult and impressive desserts will graduate you from beginner baker to a full fledged master.
This coffee-flavored sweet treat is a staple in many of the best Italian restaurants across the country, but that doesn’t mean you can’t try making it at home. While it may seem daunting to take on the task of baking a dessert that takes seven hours, the coffee dipped ladyfingers and creamy filling are sure to make up for all of your hard work.
Not much can compare to a dessert that’s stuffed with chocolate. If that rings true for you, then chocolate chess pie is the way to go. Sure, nine hours is a lot of time to invest in one dessert. But when you bite into your wow-worthy, perfectly moist chocolate filling, you are guaranteed to impress the people in your quarantine bubble — or honestly just yourself.
This recipe is a masterful mashup of cookie dough and creme brulee, but it’s not easy. Many things can go wrong when making creme brulee, like getting water in the pudding or burning the top when it’s time to torch the sugar. But that’s also the reason this dessert is one of the most impressive recipes on our list — it requires skill and a keen attention to detail.
If you’ve been spending more time at home and are looking for a way to entertain yourself, it’s time to try a new recipe. The ingredients in this treat may seem intimidating — how do you get the perfect blend of chocolate, matcha and hot cocoa without it being overbearing? But after over two hours of non-stop baking, your marble will be one for the books. And who doesn’t want a double-whammy caffeine fix in one slice of cake?
This recipe requires mastering the cake’s iconic green marzipan top and making your own pastry cream. Are you up for the challenge? While it’s not the easiest dessert to make, you can always whip up an easy dinner recipe to clear up time for what really matters — princess cake.
Cheesecake is one of those sweets that seem to be on every dessert menu. But have you ever made it at home? This amazing New York style recipe is the perfect way to sweeten up your day. It takes skill to make the perfect, fluffy cheesecake filling and crumbly bottom, but there’s no time like the present.
Baked Alaska is a dessert that even the most skilled home bakers hesitate to attempt — it’s that impressive. Layers of cake and ice cream are assembled before being artfully covered in whipped meringue and, yes, torched. While this recipe is a true time investment, making your own toasted meringue is unbelievably rewarding — and photogenic. This recipe puts a delicious twist on a traditional dessert by using bread pudding as a base.
Colorful and delicate, macarons are one of a baker's most challenging feats. Precision is key when it comes to making these little treats, so if you have a kitchen scale at home be sure to use it when attempting macarons. When piping the filling onto your sheet, remember to take your time and give the mixture time to settle into the indent so that it doesn't overflow.
There are a lot of ingredients you’ll be working with for this recipe, and you’ll be tasked with making your own filling. When you bite into these Polish donuts (i.e. pacski) and see that you were able to craft a donut that is soft, fluffy and not at all greasy, you’ll be ready to tackle any baking challenge. With a topping of powdered sugar and a warm, doughy inside, these donuts pair perfectly with a delicious cup of coffee.
These little deep-fried treats are such staple in New Orleans that they were declared Louisiana’s official state donut in 1986. While this chef-worthy recipe takes over eight hours to make and calls for making your own glaze, the final product yields beautiful beignets that will take you to the heart of New Orleans without leaving your kitchen. It’s just one of many Cajun and Creole dishes you can make at home.
The combination of rum and brown sugar in this dessert is balanced out by the healthy bananas, right? While making bananas Foster may be your first time attempting to flambee anything, it is a new baking skill that goes a long way when it comes to impressing someone. If you have any leftover bananas, turn them into banana bread.
This sweet Mediterranean dessert has a reputation for being difficult to perfect. But once you master making the dough, the beloved layered pastry won't seem as daunting. If you really can't seem to get it right, use prepared puff pastry sheets instead of making it from scratch — although your yia yia may not approve.
This chocolate tart recipe requires a lot of focus. While it only takes about an hour to make, you’ll be tasked with making your own dough and chocolate ganache. But, when you show off the final product, you will be surprised at how talented of a baker you really are.
Meringue seems to be a common theme for desserts that are both challenging and impressive. But lemon meringue may take the cake — err, pie. Not only do you have to master the cloud-like meringue top, but you also need to create the perfect blend of sweet-yet-tart flavors. But mastering this iconic dessert’s palate is a rewarding feat, and a great way to turn lemons into something that isn’t lemonade.
Souffle is a notoriously difficult dessert. Meringues are no easy feat, and it takes top-rated resilience to leave the oven door shut until your creation is ready. But this bread pudding souffle, a famous New Orleans dish, is worth the temptation. After mastering the meringue and crafting a delicate bread pudding, your baking skills will truly be unmatched.
Why have one layer when you can have six? This rainbow layer cake is certainly magnificent, with each tier of the cake marking a different color on the rainbow, it’s the perfect recipe to make if you want a challenge. In addition to layering the cake, you will also have to make your own buttercream for this dessert.
While at first glance these fried apple hand pies may not look like they’d be a jaw-dropping dessert, just wait until you bite into one of them. The challenging and rewarding part about these little guys is that they are made entirely from scratch. For this recipe, you will make everything from the pastry to the glaze. There’s a reason apple pie is one of the best pies in America, and this recipe just kicks the tried-and-true dessert up a notch.
Sure, you can likely find a good carrot cake at just about any restaurant, but have you ever tried your hand at making this classy dessert on your own? Mastering a moist cake while simultaneously whipping up your own homemade frosting is no easy feat, but there’s something to be said about a baker who perfects a dessert commonly reserved for dining out.
This is a recipe you may not have heard of, which makes it even more exciting to try. Torrijas are a Spanish-style French toast that requires you to steep milk, cinnamon and vanilla bean. But making sure you don’t over-soak the bread so that you can perfectly brulee it is key, and it’s what makes this dessert so impressive. It's a great way to turn a beloved breakfast food into dessert.
The structure for a multitude of desserts, pâte à choux (also cream puff pastry) is as delicate as dessert gets. Once you master it though, you can go on to make eclairs, puff pastry, croquembouche and more. The key is making sure the pastry shell is nice and crispy so that your desserts don't get soggy and flat. If these recipes were a little above your skill level, check out some our live and die by tips for beginner bakers.
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