Get a jump start on holiday baking with the help of your freezer.

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The holiday season is fast approaching which means you may already be thinking about all the recipes you want to try. As every good baker knows, the elements of a successful baking project involve the recipe you choose, quality ingredients, and your skill in the kitchen. There is one more factor to consider that will guarantee your family's favorite holiday desserts are ready when your guests arrive: timing. If a sweet potato pie is on your menu, think about baking ahead and freezing. When your oven is crowded with holiday entrees and side dishes, you can relax, knowing your holiday pie is already baked.

Choose the right pan

When preparing a pie for the freezer, it is best to use the inexpensive and disposable pie pans available at your local grocery store. Aluminum pie pans are thinner than those made from other materials, such as glass or ceramic, which means the pie will freeze faster, avoiding the development of ice crystals on the surface. Using a disposable pie pan also frees up your prettier glass or ceramic pie pans for another use.

Cool and securely wrap

Follow instructions for your favorite sweet potato pie recipe and, once the pie is baked, let it cool completely on a wire rack at room temperature. This may take two to three hours – you don't want to feel any warmth when you touch the bottom of the pie pan. Once thoroughly cooled, wrap and seal the pie in several layers of plastic wrap. For added protection against freezer burn, follow up this step with a layer of aluminum foil or even newspaper, folded around the pie and taped around the edges. Freeze the pie for up to a month.

Prepare to serve

Remove the sweet potato pie from the freezer and let it thaw in the fridge 10-12 hours before serving. Do not thaw the pie on the kitchen countertop at room temperature because the filling may "weep," resulting in a soggy crust. Once the pie has completely thawed in the refrigerator, you can then put it on the kitchen counter and let it reach room temperature before serving. You can also reheat it for about 15 minutes at 325° to bring back its silky texture.

Mississippi Sweet Potato Pie With Bourbon Whipped Cream
Credit: Jennifer Causey Food Stylist: Torie Cox Prop Stylist: Claire Spollen

Top it off and enjoy

The plastic wrap may leave a few marks on the pie as it is removed; simply cover them up with a dollop of ice cream, whipped cream, or a sprinkling of cinnamon-sugar.