Jack's Journal: Christmas Pastries - Northern Michigan's News Leader

Jack's Journal: Christmas Pastries

Posted: Updated:

Christmas is about family, friends and food. Sweets to be exact. 

Cookies are great, but I wanted to know if there are certain sweets that are about Christmas, so I asked a pastry chef and she tells me that pastries are great at Christmas because it’s all about being artistic.

“The medium lends itself to the artistic interpretations, especially with wedding cakes and cookies you see now. Highly decorated, so you get lots of opportunity to be creative,” says Sarah Steele, Sweet Tartlette.

In the pastry world what are there great traditional deserts? Sarah tells me a classic Christmas item is the Buche de Noel, a classic holiday pastry.

“It’s been around since the 1600s and it’s based off the yule log that they would put in the fire place,” explains Sarah. “It’s a sponge cake that’s rolled up with whip cream or butter cream, then iced to look like a log.”

Sarah started baking as a child and went to culinary school and specialized in pastries.  Her Traverse City shop makes tasty treats for all holidays, but she’s geared up for Christmas, with treats like the apple cake.

“A butter based cake with Perno in the batter with a slight licorice flavor and apples on top,” says Sarah.

Are there any rules a host should follow when it comes to Christmas desserts?

“The rules I like to have, if you are having multiple things, you should follow the rule of something fruit, something chocolate, something nut and something cream. That’s my rule,” says Sarah.

 It’s a good rule. What about the fruit cake? She says when done right they are delicious, but…

“It gets a bad rap, but you know it’s not its fault. It’s been industrialized,” explains Sarah.