While it may be news that you can freeze baked pies, it's certainly not news that checking off elements of your meal—especially a big meal like, say, Thanksgiving—ahead of time is a really really good idea.
Dessert, in particular, lends itself to be making a week in advance. A spectacular failure in the twelfth hour (when guests are at the table, expecting something onto which to plop whipped cream), cakes, cookies, and cheesecakes come together with greater success when there's less immediate pressure. You'll have better desserts—and more energy (and oven space) to devote to more pressing matters.
Here are 13 desserts to make right now and pull out of your freezer the day before Thanksgiving (or Christmas!). Be sure to consult Alice Medrich's Guide to Freezing Baked Goods for more specifics on freezing.
Make the entire cake ahead of time, but be sure to wrap it very well in plastic wrap and aluminum foil to prevent freezer burn.
Assemble the sandwiches, place on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and wrap in several layers of plastic wrap. Thaw for a few minutes at room temperature before serving.
Bake the cake and let it cool completely, then wrap it in plastic wrap and place in a freezer bag. Defrost in the bag, at room temperature.
Shape the dough into a log as usual, wrap it well, and seal in a freezer bag. Thaw it in the fridge (in the bag) then let the dough warm up at room temperature for a few minutes until pliable enough to slice without cracking. Slice and bake as usual.
Make the cakes ahead and cool them completely. Wrap them in plastic wrap, then place in a freezer bag. Thaw the cakes in the bag, at room temperature. When you're ready to serve, make the filling and ganache and assemble the cake.
Make the cake layers ahead of time, let them cool completely, then wrap in plastic wrap and seal in freezer bags. Whip up the cream cheese frosting when you're ready to serve.
Bake, let cool completely, wrap in plastic wrap...you know the drill.
This three-ingredient dessert is meant to be frozen. Just be sure to thaw it for 10 minutes before serving to prevent brain freeze.
Once the cheesecake has cooled completely, unmold the sides of the springform pan. Wrap the whole cake, along with the base of the pan, with several layers of plastic wrap, then cover with aluminum foil. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
Not only can you make this cheesecake in advance—it almost asks that you make it in advance so the creamy PB filling can set. Also, since this is an Instant Pot cheesecake, it helps to not have to use the oven during the busy baking season, especially when you don't have to. Win, win.
11. Oreo Dessert
This may be ice cream, but that doesn't mean you should reserve it for summer. For recipe author EmilyC, it's an all-year dessert. "We compare all other desserts against it," she says, "and nothing, ever, has measured up."
This Big Little recipe from Emma Laperruque doesn't ask you to turn on the oven—and it's perfect for making ahead, as the gelatin-set pumpkin mousse filling needs time in the fridge to come to texture and temperature.
This ice cream couldn't be easier to make, and is exactly what you need atop all your other pies and cakes and cookies. There isn't a single egg in the custard, which is actually what makes it creamy as can be.
Or maybe pumpkin's more your speed?
What desserts will you be making ahead of Thanksgiving dinner? Share with us in the comments!
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