Some things, you can’t do in advance just to get them out of the way. You can’t change the baby’s diaper before she needs a diaper change. You can’t walk the dog twice on Monday (when it’s nice out) and skip it on Tuesday (when brrr). But the things you can do in advance during the zany holiday season, like a cozy brunch that’s the equivalent of fuzzy slippers? Make them delicious. Think: frittatas you make ahead that emerge from the oven golden and gooey. Baked eggnog challah (!) French toast. Take your pick: Any one of these easy, family-friendly breakfasts is an ideal start to a relaxed holiday weekend. (Those that aren’t make-ahead are oh-so-easy!)
Knock it out of the park with this easy stunner. Frozen store-bought puff pastry is topped with cheese and crème fraîche and bacon. Fry eggs to order, and wow the ones you love. Look how darling they are! (And pro tip: Frozen puff pastry is just a wise thing to have on hand for fast caramelized onion and Taleggio tarts, easy desserts and the like.)
Just us, or is this the season of constantly having expensive bread you can’t eat fast enough around? That’s part of why we love this breakfast strata Lorraine. Sure, you could buy a nice loaf of something and then dry it in the oven, but you could also get rid of the half-loaf of challah you have, or country loaf, or pain de mie. You get the picture. This is a riff on quiche Lorraine, so it’s packed with the eggs, Gruyère and ham you know and love. Best of all, make it the night before and it’s ready in a flash the next morning.
In general, when you see the words “at least two hours, and up to overnight” in a recipe, you want to stay away. Not when it’s 8pm, the dishes from dinner are done, and you’re prepping for an easy, breezy, hand-me-my-cocoa brunch the next morning! That’s why we so adore these two make-ahead French toast recipes. Vanilla bean joins maple syrup in this gorgeous looker, and challah takes an overnight dip in bourbon, cream and nutmeg in the other. You can’t go wrong.
A do-ahead frittata studded with mushrooms, goat cheese and fresh herbs needs only a minute or two under a hot broiler to be its best self the morning you need it. You could also serve it at room temperature, though, if you’re an early riser and don’t want to wait for all the lazyheads in your house to get up. Tons of our frittatas can be made in advance, so find the one that floats your boat.
Not only can you make most of this ham, leek and Gruyère quiche in advance, but you can make a second round of the simple food-processed dough in advance, too, popping it in the freezer as a gift to your future self. (Aren’t you worth it?) Note that the leek sautés in butter (!!!) before spinning together with its buddies crème fraîche, Black Forest Ham and Gruyère. Build the elements separately the night before, stash them in the fridge, and you’re 30 hands-off minutes from fabulous the next day.
If your family is of the “go sweet or go home” persuasion, here’s a dead simple puff pastry pear tart that will have them hunting around for the box from the local fancy bakery. They won’t find it: Twenty minutes of hands-on time plus 30 minutes of roasting time is what pre-made puff pastry can do for you. This is the sort of snacking tart people will be pinching at all day long. Can you blame them? There’s maple syrup and confectioners’ sugar and caramelized Bosc pears in there!
Happily traipsing down the bridge separating the lands of sweet and savory, here come caramelized onion and apple tarts with Gruyère and thyme. Look at these little puff pastry marvels: Do you want them at breakfast, brunch, afternoon snack, lunch, dinner, late-night snack? If the answer to all queries is “yes,” why not make a batch when you get up (you can caramelize the onions the night before) and let folks tuck in at their leisure? People want to sleep in during the holidays. Let them delight in the combo that is sweet onion, roast apple and savory thyme on their own time.