How to Get a Jump Start on Holiday Desserts

November 15, 2014

There are so many great conversations on the Hotline -- it's hard to choose a favorite. But we'll be doing it, once a week, to spread the wealth of our community's knowledge -- and to keep the conversation going.

Today: Save yourself from the last-minute scramble by stocking your freezer with sweets.

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Believe it or not, the holidays are already looming. For each upcoming gathering there are menus to plan, recipes to save, and grocery lists to be made. At times it can feel daunting -- but now's the time to get ahead.

Food52er Anna is already thinking about the desserts she has been asked to prepare for her family's holiday gathering. She's in search of desserts that she can make ahead of time, freeze, and then thaw just before the get together. She asked our community, via the Hotline, what they would suggest and they came up with a number of great ideas for make-ahead holiday sweets.

  • Our Associate Editor, Marian Bull, likes freezing cake, unfrosted. ATG1177 agrees, and suggests wrapping each layer in plastic wrap and then foil, before placing them in freezer bags.
  • EmilyC suggests baking a few loaves of Date, Apricot, and Walnut Cake, which she dubs "a sophisticated version of fruit cake." The cake freezes well, but also gets better with age, so it can be baked three or four days in advance without having to freeze it.
  • Chocolate truffles are always a crowd favorite and freeze well too, according to ChefJune. She recommends thawing them completely before boxing them with candy papers, "as the moisture will make the little cups soggy."

What are some of your go-to make-ahead desserts for the holidays? Tell us in the comments or join in the conversation over on the Hotline!

Photos by James Ransom  

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • henandchicks
  • Anna
  • Pegeen
Sheela Prakash is a food and wine writer, recipe developer, and the author of Salad Seasons: Vegetable-Forward Dishes All Year and Mediterranean Every Day: Simple, Inspired Recipes for Feel-Good Food. Her writing and recipes can be found in numerous online and print publications, including Kitchn, Epicurious, Food52, Serious Eats, Tasting Table, The Splendid Table, Simply Recipes, Culture Cheese Magazine, Clean Plates, and Slow Food USA. She received her master's degree from the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Italy, holds Level 2 and Level 3 Awards in Wines from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET), graduated from New York University's Department of Nutrition and Food Studies, and is also a Registered Dietitian.


henandchicks November 16, 2014
My mother-in-law makes a disc of fruit pie filling in a plastic lined pie pan, freezes it, removes it from the pan and puts it, frozen, into a pastry crust. She bakes it from frozen, and its brilliant- never soggy, as it might be if she froze the pastry and fruit together, and very quick.
Anna November 16, 2014
I'm *that* Anna - now loaded with enough suggestions for Christmas desserts (and New Year and probably Easter too the way it's going :D ). I cannot thank everyone for the amazing help - hooray for the Hotline!
Pegeen November 15, 2014
Fruit pies can also be easily frozen, unbaked. You just add so many minutes to the normal baking time, so it can defrost in the oven. It's recommended to use only ceramic or tin pie dishes for going direct from frozen to oven (not Pyrex or glass), because of the temperature swing going from frozen to a hot oven.