Sunday, December 6, 2009

Thanksgiving Foods

Thanksgiving was Justin's and my first holiday together as an official married couple, and it presented unheard of challenges. In the end we settled on having Thanksgiving afternoon at Justin's MawMaw's house and the day after thanksgiving at my parent's. This solution was not without it's faults, but it was the best we could come up with. There was also the challenge of splitting up who was making what, and in the end we settled on being in charge of all desserts. However, in spite of all the challenges and general ridiculousness - Thanksgiving was officially awesome. We had fun, we watched the game (hook em!), we ate way too much food.

As far as the desserts we made - Okay, I know its a little late. Actually, it's a lot late. But, better late than never right? Maybe you can make these for thanksgiving next year. Or for Christmas this year. Or just because. Cause you know what? They were goooood.

I found this Pear Cranberry Cake in my issue of 'Gourmet Magazine' - it's easy, delicious, and beautiful. Jewel-bright cranberries and moist pear give it color, sweetness, and festivity.

Ingredients (for cake)
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 spt cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
4 large eggs
1 tbsp vanilla extract
3 Bosc pears (you could use Bartlett too if you wanted), cut into 3/4 inch pieces
1 cup cranberries (thawed if frozen)

Ingredients (for glaze)
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup pakced light brown sugar
1 tsp light corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 (3 inch long) cinnamon sticks.

1. Preheat the oven to 350F with rack in the middle and butter either an angel food cake pan or a 15 cup bundt pan. 

2.  Whisk together flour baking powder, salt, and spices.

3. Beat together sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla with an electric mixer until combined well.

4. At a low speed mix in pears and cranberries, then mix in the flour mixture until incorporated. Spoon batter into your pan and bake until a wooden pick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean - about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours depending on your oven. Cool in pan for 30 minutes then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.

5. To make the glaze bring cream, brown sugar, corn syrup, vanilla, cinnamon sticks, and a pinch of salt to boil in a small heavy saucepan, stirring occasionally, then simmer until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. You don't want to scald the cream, so start on low heat and raise gradually. Cool the glaze for about 5 minutes and discard the cinnamon sticks, then pour the glaze over the cake, letting some drip down the sides.

* Cake can be made 1 day ahead and kept at room temp, and glazed up to 3 hours in advance of serving.

The other desserts I made were (obviously) pies. My mom told me that I should just let her know what I was making, and she would buy frozen pies to supplement. No way. Why would you buy frozen pies when you have a daughter who enjoys, nay, loves, baking? So, I also made a German Chocolate Pecan Pie and a Pumpkin Pie - that way no one would have any reason to wish for frozen pies. 

German Chocolate Pecan Pie

 (sorry this is the only picture I got, and it's not very good - camera issues)

1 premade roll out pie crust
2 large eggs
5 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
2 1/2 cups pecan halves, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup sweetened flake coconut
3/4 semisweet chocolate chips

1. Roll out premade pie crust and blind-bake according to instructions on box until crust is just lightly baked (you don't want it to brown much to prevent burning later).

2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk the eggs. In a heavy, medium saucepan, whisk together the butter and 1/2 tsp salt with the brown sugar and corn syrup over medium heat until melted and smooth. Whisk the sugar mixture into the beaten eggs very slowly so as not to cook the eggs with the heat from the sugar mixture. Stir in the nuts and coconut.

3. Spread chocolate chips in the pie shell then pour filling over it. Bake until set, about 25 minutes. Allow the pie to cool completely before slicing.

Finally, I made Paula Deen's Pumpkin Pie, I'll let you follow the link for that recipe. It's a basic pumpkin pie, and really delicious. I also made Cinnamon Whipped Cream to go with it - definitely a big hit.

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