An old-fashioned Christmas dinner comes with all the trimmings

Grand feast
Photo by James Carrier; written by Elaine Johnson


Salt-and-Pepper Cheese Puffs (Gougères)

Butter Lettuce Salad with Walnuts and Grapes

Standing Rib Roast

Creamed Spinach

Parsley Potatoes

Sticky Toffee Trifle with Cranberries

This year, our entire food department collaborated on a Christmas menu, collecting and devising dishes that express the goodwill and happy times we’d like to share.

Our first course and finale are traditional dishes revised with fresh flavors: crunchy salt crystals on little gougères, and poached cranberries, rich toffee sauce, and rum-flavored whipped cream in a festive trifle.

The main course ― a showy prime rib roast, creamed spinach, and parsley potatoes ― echoes the spirit of Christmas past in the best way.


Up to 1 month ahead: Make and freeze cheese puffs.

Up to 1 week ahead: Cook cranberries and toffee sauce for trifle; cover separately and chill.

Up to 2 days ahead: Toast walnuts for salad; make cake for trifle and wrap in plastic wrap to store.

Up to 1 day ahead: Make creamed spinach; assemble trifle.

About 3 ¼ hours before dinner: Prepare beef.

About 3 hours before dinner: Get roast into the oven; garnish trifle with last layer of cream and slivered dates (chill, uncovered, until ready to serve).

As guests arrive: Reheat thawed cheese puffs.

About 45 minutes before dinner: Cook potatoes.

About 30 minutes before dinner: Reheat creamed spinach while beef rests; finish pan juices for roast.

About 20 minutes before dinner: Mix salad.

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