Traditional holiday sweets sometimes seem too old-fashioned, or like more trouble than they're worth. Mincemeat and English-style plum pudding, for instance, must be made months in advance from long lists of esoteric ingredients (suet, anyone?).
And the less said about most fruitcakes, the better. These desserts are overdue for a makeover. Our updated holiday desserts are streamlined versions of the classics, combining richly flavored dried fruits, fresh winter citrus, and a light touch with the spirits.
A steamed figgy pudding with brown-butter hard sauce inspires memories of the traditional Christmas carol; star-topped tartlets with a gingersnap crust and sweet-tart apple, cranberry, and date filling are a new twist on mince pie; and an easy rum glaze on a cake with citrus and golden raisins is a fruitcake you'll actually be proud to give or serve.
With these desserts, just as in the carol, your guests may refuse to go until they get some.