Before you waste your worthy weekend afternoons scouring Bon Appétit and Food & Wine in search of the perfect recipe for your holiday desserts, consider recruiting a little help from some friends. Homemade is nice, but sometimes a store-bought dessert, produced by artisans, can elicit the same wow factor. On the North Fork, there is an embarrassment of riches when it comes to satiating the sweet tooth. So pack up the flour and the sugar and take to the road, instead.
Is there such a thing as a holiday without pie? Although the designation of Best Pie on the North Fork is a matter of much debate, there is no denying that Cutchogue’s Wickham’s Fruit Farm, home to a sprawling orchard, serves up some of the finest. Pies are ever changing, and you can call in advance for a sense of what Wickham’s has in store, but expect pies that reflect the fruit grown at the orchard— cherry, sour cherry, apple, peach, and pumpkin, for instance. The farm also makes donuts daily, which can be purchased per piece or by the still-warm bagful.
In search of something off-the-beaten-path? Consider a trip to Mattituck’s Magic Fountain Ice Cream, home to a stunning array of homemade ice creams. During the holiday season, this North Fork institution releases a spate of limited edition flavors, including eggnog. If serving ice cream for a family feast seems strange, take it as license to be outrageous. Bring home a gallon of eggnog ice cream and set up a DIY ice cream soda bar for your holiday dessert, with fresh whipped cream, cola, and, for the adults, bourbon and rum.
At the North Fork Chocolate Company, in Aquebogue, dessert enthusiasts will find more than just boxes of chocolate. The iconic s’mores pops—giant toasted marshmallows enrobed in Belgian chocolate and dusted with graham cracker crumbs—add fun and whimsy to any holiday meal and are sure to enliven any group of kids at the holiday table. The Company also produces delicious chocolate bark, a holiday tradition for some. Of their numerous flavors, the dark fruit and nut bark (dark chocolate, cranberries, almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, pistachios, and raisins) feels the most seasonally appropriate.
Christopher Junda of Jamesport’s Junda’s Pastry Crust & Crumbs is practically known for his holiday dessert, the epic apfelstrudel, a German dessert typically served in December. Long tubes of pastry, made in house, are stuffed with sliced apples that have been macerated in sugar and spice. The final result, sliced into portable pieces, is a flaky, buttery, fruity symphony. The bakery also produces raspberry and cheese versions of the dessert.
But one would be remiss to exclude, from any holiday fête, renowned pastry chef Claudia Fleming’s cookies, available in Southold at the North Fork Table & Inn Food Truck. Ms. Fleming’s cookies—chewy, adequately sized, and addictive— come in both oatmeal raisin and chocolate chip. A half dozen will set you back $7.50, but you should probably buy extra for the drive home.