What can I make ahead for Christmas?
When we think of make ahead Christmas recipes, usually desserts are top of the list. However, with a little planning and prep you can also make your Christmas mains, sides and entrees at least a day before! That's great for freeing up oven space on Christmas day. Here are our top tips for preparing Christmas dinner in advance.
Tips for getting ahead with your Christmas day menu
- Parboil potatoes the day before. Lay out on a baking tray lined with paper towel to drain and dry out. Return to the dry saucepan and shake until potatoes are fluffy. Keep in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to roast.
Make the custard for your trifle and other desserts. This can be done up to 3 days ahead of time. Cook the custard, place plastic wrap on the surface of the custard to stop it developing a skin and refrigerate.
- Make the stuffings for your turkey, chicken or pork the day before. Keep covered in the fridge until ready to stuff.
- Sauces and chutneys can also be made ahead and kept in the fridge in sealed jars or airtight containers for up to a week.
What can I freeze ahead for Christmas
Festive ice-cream desserts are the ultimate make ahead recipe. You can make ice-cream terrines, ice-cream bombes and those pretty choc-mint cakes. But you can even go as simple as swirling crushed candy canes through softened vanilla ice-cream. Refreeze in a loaf tin or a pudding basin. When ready to serve decorated with melted chocolate and crushed candy canes.
- Sausage rolls are also great for freezing. Make a giant sausage roll which can freeze for up to a month. Bake it, then allow to cool after cooking. Wrap first in baking paper then tightly in plastic wrap and freeze. Thaw in the fridge overnight and then reheat in the oven until the meat is hot.
- Uncooked gingerbread dough and pastry dough can be frozen. Once it's been formed into a disc, wrap in baking paper and plastic wrap and freeze for up to a month. Defrost in the fridge then proceed to roll out as per the recipe.
- Christmas puddings are perfect for freezing once cooked. Defrost in the fridge overnight then boil in the pudding basin until it's heated through (this can take a few hours depending on the size of the pud).
- Flavoured butters, both savoury and sweet, can be frozen. Make up garlic and herb butter, roll up into a log shape with baking paper. Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze until needed. Little known is that you can also do this with sweet buttercream.