The holidays are here! Read on for five East End desserts that you can only get during the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.
The Stollen at Junda’s Pastry Crust and Crumbs
When Christopher Junda opened his Eastern European-style bakery 14 years ago, he was armed with little more than a roadside lemonade stand and a collection of his grandmother’s recipes. These days, he’s fully operational in a Jamesport that commands more than just a seasonal crowd. The bakery is known for its pies, yes, and definitely for its streudel, but one holiday dessert that it offers that is only available from Thanksgiving to Christmas is the stollen, a cake-like fruit bread with candied fruit rinds, spices, and almond paste. The dessert is German in origin (it’s called Weihnachtsstollen or Christstollen abroad), but specialty food devotees will love this American interpretation. Get them while you can, since they do tend to sell out.
Junda’s Pastry Crust and Crumbs, 1612 Main Road, Jamesport, (631) 722.4999, open Tuesday through Sunday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Bûche de Noël at Sag Harbor Baking Company
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Margaret Wagner and Mimi Yardley are the forces of nature behind Sag Harbor’s Sag Harbor Baking Company, where pies, cookies, and cakes are the name of the game. Come Christmas, however, classicists can also score a very impressive Yule log (traditionally termed the “Bûche de Noël”), a sponge cake frosted to resemble a log and adorned with decorative mushrooms made of marzipan and meringue. These are gorgeous, labor-intensive creations and they’re hard to find these days. Sag Harbor Baking Company requests that you place your order in advance if you have your heart set on a highly popular log at your holiday table. Orders can be placed by phone.
Sag Harbor Baking Company, 51 Division Street, Sag Harbor, (631) 899.4900, open Thursday through Monday.
The Mincemeat Pie at Blue Duck Bakery Café
Blue Duck Bakery Café owner Keith Kouris counts the mincemeat pie among his favorites. It’s a holiday-only delicacy, and one that’s fading in popularity—so you won’t find many places still making it. Kouris’ pie is made with chopped apples, dried cherries, raisins, orange peel, cinnamon, and cloves and is decidedly Christmasy in flavor. Although old school versions use lard in the filling, Kouris abstains. Pies are made fresh and you can special order a mincemeat from any of the bakery’s four locations in Greenport, Southold, Riverhead, and Southampton.
Blue Duck Bakery Café, multiple locations, (888) 989.8657, call for hours and availability.
The Gingerbread Houses at Beach Bakery Café
Simon Jorna has been running the Dutch Beach Bakery Café in Westhampton Beach for many years, a bakery that employs formally trained pastry chefs imported from his home country of Holland. During the Season of Giving, Jorna and his bakers honor tradition with their gingerbread house program. Every year, the bakery bakes off gingerbread house bases for a program with the Westhampton Beach library, where local children can come to decorate their very own desserts. The bakery offers the same activity with the local schools. Adults can buy fully decorated, cellophane-wrapped gingerbread houses at the bakery during the holiday season. Also for sale are gingerbread kits with fully baked bases, for those interested in decorating the houses at home with their own personal touches.
Beach Bakery Café, 112 Main Street, Westhampton Beach, (631) 288.6552, open daily 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.
The Sour Cream Coffee Cake with Walnuts at Cinnamon at Fairview Farm at Mecox
Meredith Ludlow has been baking pies for her family’s Bridgehampton farm stand since 2001, a joy you should explore regardless of the season. They’re some of the most impressive baked goods on the Island, in large part because she uses lard in her crusts (though you can get a butter-based one instead, if you’re not a pork lover). But at the holidays, Ludlow bakes off her holiday special (which her father, farm owner Harry Ludlow, swears by at breakfast time), the sour cream coffee cake with walnuts and cinnamon. It’s a moist, richly spiced, exciting twist on a sometimes-boring dessert, and one that will impress the friends and family you find hanging around your house at the holidays.
Fairview Farm at Mecox, 19 Horsemill Lane, Bridgehampton, (631) 537.6154, Thursday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.