Does the thought of hosting yet another holiday dinner feel overwhelming? Are you exhausted by the thought of roasting yet another turkey while simultaneously ensuring every side dish is still piping hot by the time it gets to the table? This year you may want to consider beginning a new tradition: a holiday breakfast that will dazzle your guests and, best of all, lower your stress levels (and even make a slightly smaller dent in your wallet). From mimosas to prepping poached eggs for a crowd, here’s everything you need to know about hosting a memorable holiday breakfast.
Holiday breakfast beverages
There are two basic beverages you’ll need to keep on hand for a special holiday breakfast: plenty of piping hot coffee and chilled orange juice. It would also be wise to keep a bottle of Irish cream whiskey on hand for guests who like their coffee with a bit of a punch or who prefer to sip it plain on the rocks. If you plan on making mimosas stock up on bottles of inexpensive Italian prosecco or Spanish Cava (your guests will be very content to drink their mimosas and will never know they’re missing out on the good stuff.) Set up a fun “make your own Caesar” station complete with vodka, gin, and tequila (or choose a single preferred spirit), tomato clam juice cocktail, celery salt, citrus wedges, and pickled vegetables.
Batch-cook poached eggs the night before
Classic recipes such as eggs Benedict and eggs Florentine use poached eggs, a method of cooking that infamously requires well-planned execution and timing. Instead of spending the entire morning of your holiday breakfast making poached eggs to order, try this simple trick used by professional cooks when they’re prepping eggs for busy brunches.
- Poach eggs in batches of 4-6 (depending on the size of your pot or wide-rimmed skillet) and remove them from the cooking water about a minute before you would normally remove them.
- Place the almost-cooked eggs in a large container filled with cold water and keep adding more eggs until you have enough for your guests. It’s always a good idea to poach a few extra in case you have an unexpected addition to your guest list (or an egg falls on the floor in transit from stove to fridge and vice versa.)
- The next morning fill a pot or wide-rimmed skillet with water and bring to rolling simmer. Drop the semi-poached into the water and cook for 1 minute, you can add more eggs than you normally would to the pan because the whites are already set.
- Carefully remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and place them on a clean tea towel or a sheet of paper towel to drain before serving.
Make-ahead as much as possible
Some dishes, such as strata, quiches and oven-baked French toast, are meant to be made the night before and are therefore perfect for holiday breakfasts. For everything else, try to do as much prep beforehand as possible (make sure to get your family and friends to help with this step, too.) Fruit salads can generally be made the night before (if using delicate fruit, cut everything and store separately until ready to eat), vegetables can be cut up and cooked, jams and fruit spreads can be decanted into pretty serving dishes, and bacon or other breakfast meats can be cooked ahead of time and gently reheated in the oven.
A few extra pointers for the best possible holiday breakfast
Set the table the night before: Setting the table can potentially be a relaxing, mindful activity when it’s done the night before. Leaving it until the morning of the big breakfast will inevitably lead to stress and the potential for panic before guests arrive.
Don’t be afraid to buy store bought items: Unless you’re 100 per cent positive you can successfully make homemade panettone or three dozen perfectly decorated gingerbread angels it’s best (and easiest) to go with store bought. Best quality baked goods such as muffins, bagels, croissants, bread, and breakfast pastries can easily be found at your local bakery and will impress your guests with very little effort on your behalf.