Sometimes, you just gotta show off. And when it comes to the rhythm of a meal, there’s no better time to do it than at the finale. At that point, your guests are chatty, and sated, wine has smoothed off the edges of introductions, dinner has been flawless, and so why not? Give it all you’ve got.

The following desserts are as fah-bulous as they come. If they were a wine, they’d be a Shiraz. If they were a state, they’d be Texas, ma’am.

But more than bold, they’re bottom-line delicious—and not as difficult as they
look. Take the linzer torte, whose cookie-like crust is filled with smooth, seedless raspberry jam—and nothing else. The trifle is a simple cake that’s gotten a boost from always impressive, always welcome lemon cream. The fluffy schmoo torte does take some assembly, but easy whipped cream takes the place of icing. And when
it comes to the show-stopping caramel sauce, no candy thermometer is required.

So take the plunge. Make a statement. Awe your guests. And keep them begging for more.

Click on the gallery below and the link for each recipe is below the image.