From Brownie Pudding to Panettone Bread Pudding, Ina Garten’s best desserts tend to be easy and no question about it…delicious. So far, I’ve made five out of her list of 10 favorites and they’ve all wowed me so much, I plan to make them on repeat throughout 2023!
- Her Pavlova is simply stunning, while her Eton Mess dessert is elegant and ready in under 10 minutes.
- Other fan favorites include Chevron Cake and Panettone Bread Pudding, which is perfect for the holidays.
- My favorite dessert might also be the easiest, but more on that below.
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Related: 19 Classic Ina Garten Recipes That Prove She’s the GOAT
Best Ina Garten Desserts
#5: Ina Garten’s Eton Mess Dessert
In 5th place is Garten’s Eton Mess. It’s one of the first recipes I tried from her Barefoot Contessa, How Easy Is That? cookbook. I was on a quest for something simple, yet sophisticated, to serve at a holiday soiree and Garten mentions in the book, that if plated right, Eton Mess is a “very elegant dessert” which sounded perfect.
What exactly is Eton Mess? It’s a deconstructed British dessert, that’s similar to a Pavlova (fruit and meringue) and a trifle (mixed not layered).
Garten’s simple recipe is made using three ingredients that combine crunch, creaminess and sweetness and offer a sweet treat to your taste buds. I’m talking fresh ripe berries, pieces of meringue and the fluffiest homemade whipped cream.
The beauty of this dessert lies in its simplicity; you would never guess that it takes only three ingredients to make something this desirable. And besides that, it is easy to adapt to your tastes. Garten calls for raspberries in her recipe, however, I used strawberries and amaretti meringues versus plain. I loved that it tasted bright and healthy, despite the mounds of whipped cream.
Get the recipe: Eton Mess
#4: Mixed Berry Pavlova
In 4th place is Garten’s stunning Mixed Berry Pavlova—a similar and equally delicious dessert option to the Eton Mess. The Pavlova is a party-perfect dessert that’s a spectacular sight to show off on your holiday table. Everyone should attempt this dessert at least once!
However, you should be forewarned that although stunning, when cut into the Pavlova will almost immediately crack and lose most of its charm. But one bite makes up for that! I found this recipe in Garten’s fifth cookbook, Barefoot Contessa at Home. Garten exclaims that she is “always looking for easy fruit desserts” and describes the Pavlova as “delicious.” I agree!
Similar to the Eton mess, this is also an easily adaptable recipe, so I had some fun making it. I topped mine with my favorite berry—strawberries—and added some chopped pistachios. The result was to die for! Next time I make this (yes, there will be a next time), I plan to top it with blueberries and slivered almonds. I served this to my hardest critic (my mom) and she exclaimed “WOW! What a delightful dessert.”
Get the recipe: Mixed Berry Pavlova
#3: Panettone Bread Pudding
Whether you use homemade or store-bought panettone, it doesn’t matter—this bread pudding is the best dessert no one thinks to make! Featured in Garten’s new cookbook, Go-To Dinners, this custard-y dessert featuring the iconic Italian sweet bread, is very different from the traditional bread pudding you may have eaten in the past. Studded with candied fruit or chocolate filling (depending on where you get your panettone), the leftover panettone provides a unique base for this otherwise classic spoon dessert.
Garten’s crowd-pleasing Bread Pudding takes 3rd place!
What I love about this dessert—besides how delicious it tastes, and that it can easily feed the entire family—is that it can be made a day or even two in advance, so it’s a perfect dessert option for large gatherings. And it actually gets better as it sits!
Get the Recipe: Panettone Bread Pudding
#2: Chevron Cake
Garten’s impressive and easy-to-make Chevron Cake takes 2nd place.
The Chocolate Chevron Cake is from Garten’s cookbook, Cook Like a Pro. The recipe uses everyday pantry ingredients to make a delicious Chocolate Cake, that features a cool chevron, inverted V, pattern on top. The cake itself can be made in advance, layered with ganache and refrigerated for up to 3-5 days. You just need to apply the chevron pattern onto the ganache right before serving. Garten uses homemade vanilla icing to pipe straight lines over the top of the ganache and runs the edge of a sharp knife through the icing in alternate directions to achieve this professional look.
What I really like about this cake is that it uses chocolate syrup in the batter, which is different than most other recipes. I’m a huge chocolate fan and this is a must-have recipe on my list.
Get the Recipe: Chevron Cake
#1: Brownie Pudding
Taking first place and the top spot in my dessert repertoire is Garten’s Brownie Pudding.
By far my favorite Garten dessert that I’ve made so far, is her Brownie Pudding. It’s a decadent dessert—one you eat with a spoon and one you will still be thinking about hours after the last bite has been savored.
Although the ingredients are rather simple and the batter is mixed together similar to other brownies, it is definitely not “other” brownies. The dual texture of crisp edges and gooey center sets this apart from your typical pan brownies. My family is still talking about how good this is.
Get the Recipe: Brownie Pudding
Stay tuned as I work my way through more of Garten’s desserts!