Countdown to a Christmas brunch

THE DAY BEFORE

To start: Rub the turkey with the olive oil marinade and set aside for 1 hour; make the blini batter, cover and set aside to rise in a warm place; make the tapenade and cover; roast the red pepper and cut it in strips.

Hour 2: Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Roast the turkey, breast side down, until the back is brown, about 1 hour; clean and cook the mushrooms and set aside; prepare the hedgehog potatoes (to roast later).

Hour 3: Turn over the turkey and cook 45 minutes to 1 hour, 15 minutes longer; fry the blini; make the pie dough and chill it for 30 minutes; make the mincemeat for the pie and refrigerate.

Hour 4: Remove the bird from the oven and set aside to cool, leaving the oven on; put the potatoes in the heated oven to roast for 45 minutes to 1 hour, then set aside to cool; make the turkey gravy and set aside; roll out the pastry dough, and shape and fill the pie; chill the pie for 30 minutes.

Hour 5: Bake the pie in the heated oven for 40 to 50 minutes and set aside to cool.

Overnight storage: Let all of the food cool to room temperature; put the blini in an airtight container and refrigerate; cover the tapenade tightly and leave at room temperature; wrap the turkey in plastic wrap and refrigerate; put the mushrooms in a bowl, cover and refrigerate; put the gravy in a saucepan ready to reheat, cover and refrigerate; leave the potatoes in the roasting pan, cover and leave at room temperature; leave the pie on a metal tart base, wrap tightly in foil and refrigerate.

THE DAY OF THE MEAL

3 hours before serving: Take the turkey from the refrigerator to come to room temperature; set the table; arrange the trays of glasses and cups for drinks and coffee; take out the serving plates and platters.

1 1/2 hours before serving: Heat the oven to 375 degrees; remove all remaining food from the refrigerator; warm the gravy; unwrap the turkey and set it on a sheet of foil, brush with gravy, wrap tightly in foil, place in a roasting pan, and reheat in the oven for about 1 hour.

30 minutes before serving: Reheat the blini to very warm in a microwave or wrapped in foil in the oven, spread with tapenade, top with roasted red pepper, arrange on platters or serving plates and set aside.

15 minutes before serving: Remove the turkey from the oven and put the potatoes in the oven to reheat; unwrap the turkey, transfer to a platter, cover loosely with foil and keep in a warm place; reheat the mushrooms in a frying pan over medium heat and stir in the parsley; reheat the gravy over medium heat.

After serving the blini: Remove the potatoes from the oven and transfer to a platter for serving; lower the oven heat to 300 degrees; unwrap the pie and reheat in the oven for about 20 to 25 minutes; pour the gravy into bowls for serving; spoon the warm mushrooms around the turkey, add greens or flowers as decoration, and serve.

After serving the turkey: Set the warm pie on a platter and serve.

-- Anne Willan