Posts Tagged ‘Thanksgiving’

by Sarah Steimer

I’ll admit to two issues I had with this pie: the middle sunk in and the apple filling was a little mushier than I had intended. Luckily, neither problem affects how delicious this pie is. To avoid a sinking crust, I should have used my handy little pie bird. The mushiness, however, is sometimes unavoidable because it depends so heavily on the apples themselves, which you have little control over.

Follow this recipe for the cheddar crust (I previously used it to make a blueberry pie — I love it).

For the filling:

  • about 6 Granny Smith apples, or other good pie apples such as Cortland (may need to increase the number), cut into 1/4-inch wedges
  • 1/4 cup good-quality honey
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 egg, beaten

Combine all ingredients in a bowl.

Cut the refrigerated dough in half. Roll the one half into a 13-inch circle. Place the circle into a 10-inch pie dish, allowing the dough to sink into shape, and refrigerate. Roll out the second half of the dough into another circle and place onto a piece of wax or parchment paper. Lay flat in the refrigerator. Both should be chilled for about 30 minutes.

A little sunken, but still a really beautiful pie. There’s not a whole lot that looks prettier to me than a big, fresh pie sitting on a kitchen tea towel. Guess who’s already looking forward to her holiday diet?

When ready, remove the dough from the refrigerator and let sit for a few minutes so they’re a little easier to work with — if the crusts are too hard, the top will break when you try to lay it over the apple mound. When ready, spoon the apples into the bottom pie crust (if you’re using a pie bird, put it in now!). Cover with the top crust and press the edges together to seal. Cut off any excess dough at the edges and crimp (optional). Cut a few slits into the top of the crust so the pie may vent.

Place the pie in the freezer for another 30 minutes. Remove and brush the pie with the egg, being sure not to leave any puddles of egg on the crust.

Bake at 425 for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven to 350 and bake for 45 minutes, until golden brown. Tent the pie with foil and bake for another 45 minutes, or until the juices are bubbling.

Let cool for at least an hour and a half before serving.

*This month we’re featuring classic pies that would be a great dessert at any Thanksgiving table. For the full list of pies, click here.

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by Caitlin Saniga

Part pot pie, part hot pastry pocket, this is the best way I've found to serve leftovers yet!

  • 1 prepackaged refrigerated pie crust dough (or Sarah’s crust dough recipe)
  • 1/2 cup mashed sweet potatoes
  • 3/4 cup shredded turkey
  • 2 tablespoons gravy
  • 1/2 cup broccoli (or another green vegetable such as spinach, kale, green beans or asparagus)
  • 1/2 cheddar cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

Make as many substitutions as you want in this recipe. Use what you have! But make sure to include at least one moist ingredient (cranberry sauce, gravy, Italian dressing, etc.).

Preheat the oven to to 425 degrees.

Use a pizza cutter to slice the chilled, flattened dough into halves, and use the cutter to lightly score each half in half again.

Divide the sweet potatoes between each piece of dough, using a spoon to spread them  over half of the piece, avoiding about 3/4″ of dough around the edges and the scored line. Divide the turkey, gravy, broccoli, and cheese between the dough pieces, and lightly season each with salt and pepper.

Carefully lift the unused half of dough over the fillings, and use your fingers to press the edges of dough layers together. Reinforce this by pressing the prongs of a fork along the edges. Use the fork to poke holes in the top layer of dough.

Place the pocket pies on an baking sheet and bake 15-18 minutes, or until crust is golden-brown.

Serve hot.

Makes 2.

Other filling ideas:

  • pumpkin pie filling with chocolate chips, pecans and toasted coconut flakes
  • stuffing, turkey and gravy
  • cranberry sauce with mandarin orange slices
  • roasted potatoes with green beans and carrots

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Breakfast is usually not what you’re concentrating on Thanksgiving morning — but that doesn’t mean you have to skip it. We found two great recipes for you — a little savory, a little sweet — that store well so they can be made in advance. Since many of us are putting in the extra effort and making this or that from scratch for dinner, go ahead and allow yourself a shortcut for breakfast.

Spinach mini-quiches

by Caitlin Saniga

Any time I go home to Mom’s, she always welcomes me with a nice, warm breakfast. And she’s the master of eggs. She loves to improvise with eggs, adding cheese and any vegetables from the fridge. Whether it’s scrambled eggs or a frittata, she knows how to cook and season eggs to perfection — a skill I hope I’ve picked up. For Thanksgiving this year, I’d love to surprise her with some of these mini-quiches for breakfast.

Each mini-quiche is one or two bites, and I love that you don’t have to sit down with a fork and knife to eat them. Keep them in the kitchen while you’re assembling the Thanksgiving  dinner so guests (and you, duh)  can have something to snack on. They’ll disappear in no time!

  • 2 circles of chilled prepared pie crust dough (from a package)
  • 8 cups spinach (or 2 medium zucchini roughly grated)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped finely
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 ounces feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for sprinkling
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (plus 1/2 teaspoon salt if using zucchini instead of spinach)
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon lime juice

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray the cups of 2 12-cup mini muffin pans with cooking spray, or rub cups lightly with butter.

Use a 2-inch-diameter glass to cut circles from the pie crust dough. (Try to squeeze 12 circles from each pie crust dough circle.) Place each small circle of dough in the cup of a muffin pan, and use your fingers to press the dough into the corners at the bottom of the cup. (Toward the opening of the cups, the dough might bunch a little, but that’s OK.) Place prepared muffin pans in the fridge until filling is ready.

If using zucchini for this recipe, place the grated zucchini in a colander in the sink and sprinkle it with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Let sit 30 minutes. Wrap zucchini in a towel, and squeeze out liquid.

Heat butter and olive oil in a medium pan over medium heat. Add the onion, and cook until it turns translucent and starts to brown slightly on the edges, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic, and cook 1 minute. Add the spinach, and cook until it wilts, 1-2 minutes.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the feta, Parmesan, eggs, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and lime juice. Add the spinach mixture, and stir to combine.

Remove the muffin pans from the fridge, and divide the egg mixture between the pastry cups. Sprinkle a little grated Parmesan over each cup.

Bake 12-15 minutes, or until egg is cooked through and the cheese on top turns golden brown.

Makes 24 mini-quiches.


Sticky rolls

by Sarah Steimer

Sticky rolls are a given on our Thanksgiving mornings. We either make them in advance or at least have the dough thawed out to make quickly in the morning. When you’re trying your hardest to make Thanksgiving dinner from scratch (or close to it), give yourself a break and use this frozen dough — OR — next time you’re making bread, make extra dough and freeze it for these rolls. Either way, cut out a step or two. It’ll pay off when your feet are up instead of hustling through the kitchen.

How good would these be with little flecks of bacon…

  • Rhodes frozen white bread — 1 roll (comes in packs of three)
  • vegetable oil
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted and divided in half, plus more butter for brushing
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, divided in half
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
  • cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup raisins

Coat the frozen roll in vegetable oil and wrap in plastic wrap (this way it won’t stick to the plastic). Refrigerate for about 12 hours or until it has thawed.

Click to enlarge for a better look at what the pan and dough should look like (whoops – product placement).

Use the end of a stick of butter to grease a 9-by-11-inch glass or metal baking dish OR a 9-inch round pan. In bowl, combine 2 tablespoons melted butter, 1/4 cup brown sugar, water and syrup. Spread the mixture on the bottom of the baking dish and sprinkle with the nuts.

Roll out the thawed dough on a lightly greased or flour surface to make a 12-by-16-inch rectangle. Brush the dough with the 2 remaining tablespoons melted butter, sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup of brown sugar, along with cinnamon (however much you prefer) and raisins. Try to distribute everything as evenly as possible.

Roll the dough up width-wise (as in rolling along the longer side so the roll is longer than fatter). Cut into 12 equal pieces (I fail at this each time, don’t worry. I always mean to measure). Place the rolls in your pan, so the spiral is facing you.

Let the rolls rise, covered with a towel, for 30-60 minutes, or until they have doubled in size. It’s best to pop them in the oven to rise, putting the oven on its lowest setting. When ready, bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Let cool for about 5 minutes then flip the rolls out of the pan (upsidedown) onto a rack. Drizzle any remaining brown sugar mixture from the pan onto the rolls.

These rolls can be frozen a few days ahead of time. Just let thaw or microwave for maybe 20-30 seconds.

Makes 12 rolls.

Recipe: Martha Steimer (the recipe used to be on the back of the Rhode’s Sweet Bread bags — but those apparently don’t exist anymore)

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by Caitlin Saniga

Don’t even bother trying to cut this turkey with a knife. By the time it had cooked and I tried to lift it out of the slow cooker, the meat I was holding on to was so moist and soft that it fell away from the bone. I ended up using my hands to dismantle the turkey and pull it into thick, meaty shreds.

  • 1 6-pound bone-in turkey breast
  • 1 (1-ounce) envelope dry onion soup mix

I served this turkey for a small Thanksgiving gathering, and it was perfect for the group. There were three of us, and this made enough for dinner and lots of leftovers.

Rinse the turkey breast and pat dry with paper towels. Cut off any excess skin, but leave the skin covering the breast. Rub onion soup mix all over the exterior the turkey and under the skin.

In the bowl of a slow cooker, pour just enough water to cover the base. Place the turkey in the slow cooker. Cover, and cook on High for 1 hour, then set to Low, and cook for 7 hours.

Save the liquid from the bottom of the slow cooker! Use it to moisten up the turkey when you reheat it later or use it to make gravy.

Recipe adapted from: AllRecipes.com

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by Sarah Steimer

I definitely talked this pie up to my family, so let's all hope I don't ruin it for Thanksgiving. Trying to maintain the "best daughter" image I've created.

  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh pumpkin puree,* or canned
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten, plus 1 egg for glaze
  • 1 1/2 cups evaporated milk
  • pate brisee pie dough (recipe here)
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream (can use the rest of the carton for whipped topping – just add a little cinnamon!)

*For the pumpkin puree

Use a pie pumpkin – such as a sugar pumpkin or long pie pumpkin – that is about 1 1/2 pounds. Do not use just any pumpkin, as some are stringier than others.

Using a sharp knife, pierce the skin of the pumpkin, going all the way through. Place in a glass baking dish and fill with about 1 inch of water.

Bake at 400 degrees for about an hour, or until a butter knife can be easily inserted into the pumpkin.

Remove from the oven and let cool. Slice in half and remove the seeds. Scoop out the flesh and puree in a blender or food processor. Make sure there are no stringy bits and the puree is the same consistency throughout. Keep refrigerated.

Using my excess dough, I cut out leaf shapes with a cookie cutter. I brushed the leaves with the same egg wash used on the crust, sprinkled them with a little cinnamon and baked them on a cookie sheet for about 10 or so minutes.

For the pie

In a large bowl, combine sugar, cornstarch, salt, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, pumpkin puree and 3 eggs. Beat well. Add evaporated milk and combine.

Once your pate brisee has set in the refrigerator for a couple of hours (hope you followed directions), roll it out into a 12-inch circle or so. The crust should be about 1/8 of an inch thick. Place the crust in a 9-inch glass pie dish and cut off the excess edges, leaving about 1/2-inch overhang. Pinch edges to form a decorative edge, if you so please.

Beat the remaining egg together with the tablespoon of cream and brush the crust, being sure to get into all the nooks. Fill with the pie mixture.

Place the pie on a baking sheet in the oven (not sure why, but I was afraid to find out). Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees and continue baking for 30 minutes more. When I switched the heat, I took the pie out to let the oven lower its temperature and put foil over the crust edges – because you can never be too safe.

When the pie is done, the very center should still be a bit wiggly. Let cool on a wire rack for at least an hour.

Serve with whipped cream.

Recipe: Martha Stewart

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by Caitlin Saniga

This recipe is basically my mom in a nutshell.

  • 1 can whole cranberries
  • 1 can mandarin oranges, drained and cut in half
  • 2 apples, peeled and diced
  • 2 tablespoons hot pepper raspberry jelly (or a combination of raspberry jelly and jalapeno juice from a jar of the peppers)
  • shake of cinnamon
  • shake of ground cloves
  • crushed candy canes, preferably stale/hard as a rock/from last year

Combine. Eat. 🙂

Makes 8 servings.

Recipe: my mom, Stephanie Saniga (And this recipe’s unaltered, copied straight from her 3-by-5 index card — right down to the smiley face.)

Photo: Caitlin Saniga

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Thanksgiving is all about tradition: watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, a Turkey Bowl football game and most importantly — the food. We’ve put some interesting twists on some very traditional Thanksgiving side dishes.

Bourbon-cranberry compote

by Caitlin Saniga

Bowl of sparkling rubies or bourbon-cranberry compote?

  • 1 12-ounce bag fresh cranberries (3 1/2 cups)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup apple juice
  • 1/4 cup bourbon

In a saucepan, combine the cranberries, sugar, apple juice and bourbon.

Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries begin to burst and the sauce thickens, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool before serving.

Makes 8 servings.

Recipe adapted from: Real Simple

Photo by: Caitlin Saniga


Cranberry-apple chutney

by Sarah Steimer

You can serve this chilled or warm, alone or on crackers.

  • 2 cooking apples, peeled, cored, and coarsely chopped (I used one Granny Smith and one Golden Crisp)
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh ginger, peeled and grated (this will be a little bigger than a 1-inch piece of ginger)
  • 1 large garlic clove, peeled and finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/8 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2-3 tablespoons apple cider
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries (6 ounces)

In a medium-large pot, combine all ingredients except the cranberries, stir well, and bring to a boil. Boil the mixture over medium heat for approximately 10 minutes. Stir in the cranberries and cook, stirring occasionally, for an additional 5-10 minutes or until the mixture takes on a syrupy, jam-like consistency (I mashed them just a little). Remove the pot from the burner and allow it to cool.

Makes about 1 pint (looks beautiful in Ball jars and would probably make a great holiday gift).

Recipe adapted from: Modern Comfort Food

Photo: Sarah Steimer

More Thanksgiving Twist dishes: sweet potatoes, vegetables, stuffing

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