Make These Desserts Ahead and Enjoy Your Holiday!

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I’ve always considered desserts the simplest part of the holiday feast. That’s because you can get it all done–or at least, mostly done–a couple of days before the big day so you have plenty of time to attend to other chores and dishes.

make-ahead-desserts-framesHere are five delicious, seasonal desserts that you can make at least two to three days ahead and savor throughout the holidays.

  1. Apple Pie with Chinese Five Spice and Hazelnut Crumb Topping. Chinese five spice powder adds a surprising, bright note to the cooked caramel-y apple filling while a nutty crumb topping adds crunch. You can make the Toasted Nut Pastry Dough up to a week ahead, pop it in the fridge, and then cook the filling, blind-bake the crust and finish off the pie a couple of days before the holiday. (Pressed for time? Pick up a pre-made whole-wheat pastry crust. We won’t tell.)
  2. Spiced Pumpkin Harvest Bundt Cake with Pecans. Linda West Eckhardt created this homey, old-fashioned treat to celebrate Nourish Network’s first birthday. It’s golden and rich with warm spices and a lemony glaze. Leftovers will make delightful snacks all weekend long.
  3. Chocolate Angel Food Cake. For some crowds, only chocolate will do, so whip up our angel food cake. Only instead of macerated strawberries, pair it with Grandma Friese’s Whole Cranberries, which are soaked in port. It’s a gorgeous holiday presentation.
  4. Small bites. Desserts don’t have to be lavish to end the feast on a high note, and your guests may well appreciate a selection of little treats. (Honestly, I’m tempted to go this route myself this year.) Decorated with dried cranberries and slivered almonds, Crunchy Ruby-Studded Meringue Buttons are light and festively pretty. Our Chocolate Orange Pistachio Biscotti are prefect for dunking in after-dinner coffee, while these Boozy Orange-Pecan Truffles are rich-tasting, impressive and not too heavy. Make extra and freeze ‘em to enjoy throughout the holiday season.
  5. Pumpkin Tart with Maple Whipped Cream and Toasted Walnuts. Graham crackers, sugar and butter add up to the world’s easiest crust for this tart. Add a simple, spicy pumpkin filling and you’re good to go. Bake the tart up to two days before the feast and store it in the fridge. You also can whip the cream a day or two in advance and refrigerate it. Toast the nuts a day or two ahead and stash them in an airtight container.

Have a happy–and sweet–holiday!

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  • mountainrn

    How funny Lia – I made a homemade apple pie tonight and just could not wait to eat it so I cut myself a warm piece and sat down to catch on up NN. The problem with making it ahead of time . . . .you’ll be tempted to eat it! This is the best pie I’ve made in a long time if I do say so myself – I love pie crust. And Danny just came in and spied his mom sneaking pie before dinner so off he went with a piece old mom gave him. Dessert first tonight. steph

  • mountainrn

    Sorry Alison – you wrote the article, not Lia. I’m going to try the pumpkin tart (that maple whipped cream sounds wonderful) but with pie crust as my adores pie crust. Plus, my kids will be sad if they can’t take the leftover pie dough, sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on it and bake it.

  • Alison Ashton

    Mix-‘n’-match recipes–I love it!

  • Lia Huber

    Any time you see something baked, keep your fingers crossed I didn’t write it! ;-)

  • Alison Ashton

    What are you talkin’ about, Lia? I love the Thin & Chewy Flaxseed Cookies. Them’s some good eatin’!

  • mountainrn

    The name of the author is so very light – I just didn’t see it. Oh . . that apple pie is all gone.

  • Lia Huber

    And how was it? … All gone is good. And, Alison, you’re right. I did myself proud with those Thin & Chewy Flaxseed Cookies.