The Deep Freeze

We’re mad about desserts at Ricardo. But we know that when the stress of holiday entertaining creeps in, the last course isn’t always front of mind. A crowd-pleasing dessert doesn’t have to be a complicated affair. Enter these five freezer-happy treats. Prepare them well before your guests arrive—try days, if not a week before—then simply thaw, serve and chill.


Photos by David de Stefano Accessories styling by Caroline Nault Food styling by Nataly Simard
Above Image | White Chocolate and Clementine Yule Log

Bûche and Moan

Our yule-log challenge this year: Create a twist that not only holds up nicely in the freezer (even when iced and decorated!), but tastes delicious—and just a little bit different. Mission accomplished, thanks to white-chocolate whipped cream and clementine slices that you confit, like a pro, in your microwave. If you decide to assemble this bûche the day of, you can still get a jump on a couple of steps: Both whipped cream and candied citrus will keep well in the refrigerator for a few days.

White Chocolate and Clementine Yule Log

Preparation | 1 hour 10 minutes Cooking | 30 minutes Cooling | 10 hours Servings | 12

✻ freezes well ✻


White Chocolate Whipped Cream

  • 10 oz (285 g) white chocolate, chopped
  • 2 cups (500 ml) 35% whipping cream

Clementine Confit

  • 3 clementines
  • 2 cups (500 ml) water
  • 1 cup (210 g) sugar
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) corn syrup
  • 1 cinnamon stick

Cake

  • 1 cup (150 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg
  • 6 eggs
  • 3/4 cup (160 g) sugar
  • 1 chunk (1 oz / 30 g) white chocolate
  • 6 store-bought or homemade large white chocolate curls (see note)

White Chocolate Whipped Cream

  • 1 Place the white chocolate in a bowl. Set aside.
  • 2 In a saucepan, bring the cream to a boil. Pour over the chocolate and let melt for 2 minutes. Stir with a whisk until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap directly on the surface of the cream. Refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.

Clementine Confit

  • 3 On a work surface, cut off and discard the ends of the clementines and cut each into 8 thin slices. Set aside.
  • 4 In an 8-inch (20 cm) glass dish, combine the water, sugar and corn syrup. Microwave for 3 to 4 minutes or until the sugar has dissolved. Add the clementine slices and cinnamon stick. Continue cooking in the microwave for 12 minutes or until the slices become slightly translucent. Let cool.
  • 5 Cover and refrigerate for 3 hours or until completely chilled.

Cake

  • 6 With the rack in the middle position, preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line a 17 x 12-inch (43 x 30 cm) baking sheet with parchment paper, letting it hang over the two shorter sides. Butter the parchment paper and the unlined sides.
  • 7 In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg. Set aside.
  • 8 In another bowl, beat the eggs and sugar with an electric mixer for 10 minutes or until the mixture has tripled in volume and forms a ribbon as it falls from the beaters.
  • 9 Sift the dry ingredients over the eggs, gently folding in with a whisk. Spread the batter evenly onto the prepared baking sheet.
  • 10 Bake for 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Let cool completely on a wire rack, about 1 hour.

Assembly

  • 11 Drain the clementine confit. Set aside 8 slices for decoration and cut the remaining clementines into small dice.
  • 12 Whip the cold white chocolate cream with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form.
  • 13 Remove the cake and parchment paper from the baking sheet. Spread half of the whipped cream over the entire surface of the cake. Sprinkle with the diced clementines and press lightly. Roll the cake from the short side. Place on a serving platter. Cover completely with the remaining white chocolate whipped cream.
  • 14 Finely grate the white chocolate chunk over the yule log. On a work surface, cut a slit from the middle of the clementine slices through to the peel. Twist and place on the log. Top with the chocolate curls.
  • 15 Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving or freeze. If frozen, leave the cake at room temperature for 2 hours before serving.

Mousse on the Loose

We have to confess that we still love McCain Deep ’n Delicious, the cornerstone frozen dessert of our childhood. This mousse cake is our homage to the Canadian favourite, just in time for the holidays. It starts with a bottom layer of cake, and includes cream, in lieu of egg whites, to give the mousse better consistency. A final flourish of warm, gooey ganache, after the cake is removed from the freezer, is guaranteed to impress. Prediction: This sinful treat won’t last long in your house.

Chocolate Mousse Cake

Preparation | 45 minutes Cooking | 15 minutes Cooling | 4 hours Servings | 8 to 10

✻ freezes well ✻


Cake

  • 1/2 cup (75 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup (55 g) sugar
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/3 cup (75 ml) water
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) canola oil
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) white vinegar

Chocolate Mousse

  • 7 oz (200 g) dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1 tsp gelatin
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) water
  • 1/2 cup (105 g) sugar
  • 2 cups (500 ml) 35% heavy cream

Ganache

  • 3 oz (85 g) dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1/3 cup (75 ml) 35% heavy cream

Cake

  • 1 With the rack in the middle position, preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Butter an 8-inch (20 cm) springform pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
  • 2 In a bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Stir in the water, oil and vinegar with a whisk until smooth. Spoon into the prepared pan.
  • 3 Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Let cool on a wire rack. Do not unmould.

Chocolate Mousse

  • 4 In a bowl placed over a pot of simmering water or in the microwave oven, melt the chocolate. Let cool slightly.
  • 5 In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the water and let bloom for 5 minutes.
  • 6 In a small saucepan over medium heat, heat 1/4 cup (60 ml) of the cream with the sugar until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and stir in the gelatin until completely dissolved. Add the cream mixture to the melted chocolate and stir to combine.
  • 7 In another bowl, whip the remaining cream (1 3/4 cups / 430 ml) with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Combine one-quarter of the whipped cream with the chocolate mixture. With a spatula, gently fold in the remaining cream. Spoon onto the cake in an even layer. Refrigerate for 4 hours or freeze.

Assembly

  • 8 Unmould the cake and place on a serving platter. If frozen, leave the cake at room temperature for 1 hour.
  • 9 Place the chocolate in a bowl. Set aside.
  • 10 In the microwave oven or in a small saucepan, bring the cream to a boil. Add to the chocolate and let melt for 1 minute. With a spatula, stir the ganache until smooth. Pour over the cake, letting it run over the sides.

Save the Date

This holiday homage to sticky toffee pudding elevates the classic English dessert to cake status. Made in a large soufflé dish with what our Test Kitchen director, Kareen, calls a “Quebec pouding chômeur technique” (find the recipe at ricardocuisine.com), the moist, date-laden cake holds up beautifully when frozen in advance. Come serving time, just submerge in a hot water bath to unlock all that caramel goodness at the bottom, and accompany with whipped cream.

Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake

Preparation | 30 minutes Cooking | 1 hour 15 minutes Servings | 8

✻ freezes well ✻


Toffee Sauce

  • 2 cups (500 ml) 35% heavy cream
  • 2 cups (420 g) lightly packed brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp butter

Cake

  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) water
  • 1/2 cup (85 g) pitted and finely chopped dates
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup (150 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup (55 g) butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup (55 g) sugar
  • 1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 6 tbsp (90 ml) milk

Toffee Sauce

  • 1 In a saucepan, bring all the ingredients to a boil while stirring. Let the sauce reduce for 5 minutes. Set aside.

Cake

  • 2 With the rack in the middle position, preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
  • 3 In a small saucepan, bring the water and dates to a boil. Stir in 1/8 tsp of the baking soda. Remove from the heat and let cool.
  • 4 In a bowl, combine the flour and the remaining baking soda. Set aside.
  • 5 In another bowl, cream the butter, sugar and vanilla with an electric mixer. Add the egg and beat until smooth. At low speed, stir in the dry ingredients alternately with the milk and date mixture.
  • 6 Spoon the batter into an 8-cup (2 litre), 8-inch (20 cm) soufflé dish. Slowly pour the toffee sauce over the batter. Place the dish on a baking sheet.
  • 7 Bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Let cool.
  • 8 Serve warm or freeze. If frozen, place the dish in a large pot and add water to reach halfway up the dish. Over medium heat, let the water simmer, covered, for 1 hour and 30 minutes or until the cake is heated through and the toffee sauce is hot.

Nog Hog

Our recipe developers are masters of reinvention. They’ve outdone themselves with this new take on two of the season’s staples: eggnog and cheesecake (always a natural for the freezer). This innovative spin on both sticks to all the flavour fundamentals we know and love—graham cracker crust, cream cheese, eggnog spices, rum—and binds them together in what we’re calling a new holiday classic. Who knew the best eggnog was one you eat with a fork?

Eggnog Cheesecake

Preparation | 30 minutes Cooking | 1 hour 15 minutes Cooling | 7 hours Servings | 10

✻ freezes well ✻


Crust

  • 1 1/4 cups (160 g) graham cracker crumbs
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup (55 g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 square sheets heavy-duty aluminum foil, 18 inches (45 cm) wide

Filling

  • 3/4 cup (160 g) sugar
  • 1 tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 3 blocks (250 g each) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) dark rum

Crust

  • 1 With the rack in the middle position, preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line the bottom of an 8-inch (20 cm) springform pan with parchment paper.
  • 2 In a bowl, combine all the ingredients. Press the mixture into the bottom and one-third up the sides of the prepared pan. Bake for 12 minutes. Let cool completely. Generously butter the inside of the pan.
  • 3 Tightly wrap the base and outer sides of the pan with a double layer of the aluminum foil, letting it extend upward. Adjust the oven temperature to 325°F (165°C).

Filling

  • 4 In a food processor, combine the sugar, flour and spices. Add the cream cheese, sour cream, eggs and egg yolks. Process until just smooth. With a spatula, scrape the sides several times. Stir in the rum. Pour onto the crust.
  • 5 Prepare a hot water bath: Place the cake in a large baking dish and pour boiling water into the dish to reach halfway up the pan.
  • 6 Bake for 1 hour or until a thermometer inserted into the centre of the cake reads 150°F (65°C). Remove the cake from the water bath and the aluminum foil. Let cool for 1 hour. Cover and refrigerate for 6 to 8 hours or until completely chilled.
  • 7 Run the blade of a knife between the cake and the pan and unmould. Serve or freeze. If frozen, leave the cake at room temperature for 4 hours before serving.

Peak Performance

The Mont Blanc is the signature dessert at Angelina, a pastry shop in Paris that has served the alpine-like dome, layered with meringue, chantilly cream (sweet whipped cream) and vermicelles of sweet chestnut purée, since 1903. While all of our freezer cakes can be enjoyed fresh, our Mont Blanc was expressly adapted to be made and frozen ahead of time. Don’t forget to dust it with icing sugar before serving to recreate the snow-capped splendour of Western Europe’s highest peak.

Mont Blanc Chestnut Cake

Preparation | 45 minutes Cooking | 2 hours Resting | 1 hour Cooling | 4 hours 30 minutes Servings | 10 to 12

✻ freezes well ✻


Meringue

  • 1/2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp (1 ml) white vinegar
  • 1 egg white, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (55 g) sugar

Whipped Cream

  • 1 1/2 cups (375 ml) 35% whipping cream
  • 6 tbsp (50 g) icing sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, the seeds only

Chestnut Topping

  • 1 can (435 g) chestnut purée
  • 1/2 cup (65 g) icing sugar
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) dark rum
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, the seeds only
  • Icing sugar, for dusting

Meringue

  • 1 With the rack in the middle position, preheat the oven to 250°F (120°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. On the underside of the parchment paper, draw an 8-inch (20 cm) circle using a pencil.
  • 2 In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and vinegar. Set aside.
  • 3 In another bowl, beat the egg white with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar, beating until stiff peaks form. With a spatula, gently fold in the cornstarch mixture.
  • 4 With the spatula, shape the meringue into a disc inside the circle, 1/2 inch (1 cm) from the line.
  • 5 Bake for 2 hours. Turn off the oven and let the meringue dry for 1 hour, leaving the oven door slightly ajar using a wooden spoon, or until the meringue is crisp and easily peels off the parchment paper. Let cool completely on a wire rack.

Whipped Cream

  • 6 Line a bowl with a 9-inch (23 cm) wide opening with plastic wrap.
  • 7 In another bowl, whip the cream, sugar and vanilla seeds with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form.
  • 8 Spoon the whipped cream into the lined bowl. Place the meringue disc onto the cream, flat side up, and press lightly. Freeze for 4 hours.

Chestnut Topping

  • 9 In a food processor, purée all the ingredients until very smooth. Spoon into a pastry bag fitted with a 2- to 3-mm plain round tip. Set aside.

Assembly

  • 10 Remove the bowl from the freezer and let it sit on the counter for 5 minutes. Unmould the whipped cream and meringue base.
  • 11 Place on a serving platter, meringue side down. Remove the plastic wrap. Pipe the chestnut topping in overlapping circles over the entire surface of the cake until completely covered. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or freeze. If frozen, leave the cake at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  • 12 When ready to serve, dust with icing sugar.