Top Six in the 6: Holiday desserts

These Toronto purveyors have what you crave for a delicious cap on your holiday feast.

Holiday desserts

Indulgence is the name of the game for the holiday season. Whether it’s the frightful weather outside or the delightful company we’re keeping indoors, our appetites have a magical way of increasing threefold at this time of year. And whether you have a sweet tooth or not, you’ll find it difficult to resist the season’s sweetest things.



This Italian holiday dessert is typically found boxed and premade in grocery stores – handmade versions can take days to make. Panettone dough originates from a sourdough starter – some carefully kept alive for years – that is mixed with plenty of butter, egg yolks and dried fruit before it’s baked into its characteristic dome shape. Pusateri’s carries several iterations of this holiday classic including one shipped right from Italy in a fancy tin designed by Dolce & Gabbana.



These jelly-filled doughnuts are a popular dessert – with both kids and kids-at-heart – during Hanukkah. They’re made with a flour-and-yeast dough that is deep-fried, filled and coated with a generous dusting of icing sugar. Strawberry jelly is the most traditional filling but you’ll also find custard, caramel and even key lime pie renditions. Longstanding Jewish bakeries like Grodzinski on Bathurst are the best source for this treat.

Rum Cake

Rum cake

Also known as Jamaican black cake, it’s made by soaking dried fruit in dark rum and other booze like stout, port and fruit brandy for months in advance of Christmas. Brown sugar gives the cake its deep hue while an additional rum soaking after baking helps blend the flavours. Find it at Gerry’s Fast Foods.

Gingerbread House

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Gingerbread houses originated in 16th century Germany and were popularized by the fairytale Hansel and Gretel. German bakers inspired by the story would craft these sugary houses – with a hint of spice from the ginger and cinnamon – around special occasions like Christmas. Today, there are gingerbread houses popping up all over the world, spiking yuletide rivalries or friendly familial competitions. Bobbette & Belle have bite-sized the tradition into sweet decorative cookies.



Portuguese families across the city celebrate Epiphany with this confection. Seara Bakery’s brioche-like cake of nuts and candied fruit takes days to make since traditional recipes call for fermenting the dough. One not-too-sweet bite will convince you that it’s worth the wait.

Tong Yuen

Tong Yuen

A popular Chinese treat for the winter solstice festival, tong yuen are chewy, mochi-like rice balls that are served in a sweet ginger or coconut broth. Tong yuen means ‘togetherness’ so grab some from Sugar Marmalade in the Dragon City Mall and share them with family.