You can’t have a holiday dinner without a festive dessert, and Food Network Canada Chef School’s Chef Roger Mooking shows you how to make a red and white towering masterpiece that will woo your guests this season.

 

Plated desserts look ultra-impressive and are more festive than pie or cake, but can seem daunting to create at home. With a few pro techniques to make your star ingredients shine, this may be the easiest, show-stopper of a dessert you’ll ever whip up. Quick gourmet touches, like vanilla bean in the whipped cream (fridge-cold for full volume!), orange zest in the strawberries (balance that tang!) and sliced almonds in the pastry (turn up the texture!) transform ordinary ingredients into extraordinary elements.

With this recipe, contrasts are key. Almond flour (almond meal) is sprinkled evenly over each layer like falling snow, adding a nuanced nutty note and an intriguing texture. This dessert isn’t just about layering visually, but layering tastes and textures, too. It’s these small details that set this dessert apart, showing guests they’re as special as what’s on the plate.

 

Chef Roger Mooking’s tips for handling and storing leftover phyllo dough are smart and simple. Why not put those extras to good use and prepare other festive recipes that use phyllo dough this season, like baklava for your cookie tray and spanakopita triangles for your cocktail party?

We love the festive red and white theme with the strawberries, a fruit that you can get year-round, but Chef Roger Mooking encourages us to step outside of the box. Even if the fruit you choose isn’t in season, that little bit of sugar he adds ensures that off-season fruit tastes in-season, every time. The sugar here is also key to macerating the strawberries for a no-cook sauce with the perfect amount of sweet, syrupy juices.

Roger Mooking's Cooking and Cream Napoleon

When the components of your holiday trifecta are ready to be assembled, a sneaky chef trick, smudging a bit of the whipped cream mixture on the plate before you add the first layer, keeps your tower from tumbling. Bring it to the table with confidence!

Up the elegance with this recipe for Chef Roger Mooking’s Cookies and Cream Napoleon.

Need an impressive holiday main for guests? Try Lynn Crawford’s Seafood Risotto laden with crabs and scallops or Mark McEwan’s tender Ricotta Gnocchi served with a luxurious Gorgonzola cream sauce.