A brunch buffet is perfect during the holidays, especially when you’re expecting a large group or have out-of-town guests. Before I started working for the airlines and flying over holidays, I always hosted a Christmas morning brunch attended by about 50 relatives and close friends. Weeks ahead, I would begin preparation of make-ahead brunch dishes, Christmas cookies (some years 30+ different varieties), and holiday side dishes. While there are lots of recipes for make-ahead and easy spur-of-the-moment main dishes, I’ve always found it difficult to find good fruit accompaniments, since the seasonal fruit available in my area around the holidays is often limited. I developed the following recipe after getting the idea from a picture in a book; not only is it delicious, it uses seasonal fruit which can be varied according to personal preferences, it is colorful and beautiful on the brunch table, and all of the prep work can be done up to two days ahead! This year I even added it as a not-so-sweet dessert to some dessert buffets at my catering events; I had several requests for the recipe, and several guests come back for seconds and thirds!
You can vary the fruit according to what is in season or what you like. If you use strawberries, hull them and slice them. I sometimes use a mixture of fresh berries.
Layered Winter Fruit Bowl
2 fresh ripe pears, cored and cut into 1/2” chunks
2 Granny Smith apples, cored and cut into 1/2" chunks
2 red skinned apples such as jonagold or red delicious, cored and cut into 1/2" chunks
1 quart blackberries, rinsed, or any other berries you can find
4 kiwi fruits, peeled and sliced (see the link to the hint on easily peeling kiwifruit at the bottom of this article)
2 cups seedless grapes, (red and/or green), rinsed and drained
3 oranges, peeled and sectioned
32 ounces vanilla yogurt
3 cups sour cream
3 cups coarsely broken coconut cookies
In a large bowl with an airtight lid, gently stir together the pears, apples, berries, kiwi fruit, grapes, and oranges. Squeeze any excess juice from the orange membranes that are left after sectioning, over the fruit. Cover tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to two days. The juice from the oranges will keep the apples from turning brown.
Mix the yogurt and sour cream; if mixing ahead, place in an airtight container and refrigerate.
To assemble (up to two hours before serving): Pick one of your prettiest glass bowls or a trifle bowl (It should hold at least 4 quarts). Using a slotted spoon, dip about 1/4 of the fruit into the bowl, spread about 1/4 of the yogurt mixture over the fruit, then top with 1/4 of the cookies. Repeat the layers ending up with yogurt and cookies on top.
Amount Per Serving
Calories 165 Calories from Fat 64
Percent Total Calories From:
Fat 39% Protein 8% Carb. 53%
Nutrient Amount per
Total Fat 7 g
Saturated Fat 3 g
Cholesterol 13 mg
Sodium 38 mg
Total Carbohydrate 22 g
Dietary Fiber 2 g
Sugars 0 g
Protein 3 g
Vitamin A 6% Vitamin C 49% Calcium 0% Iron 2%