If ever there’s a meal worth going all out for, it’s Thanksgiving. This is the time to splurge on the pine nuts, roast the sweet potatoes, reserve a fresh turkey and make the pie crust from scratch.
You’ll find a million ideas online and in magazines for creating the perfect Thanksgiving dinner. You can do the traditional Americana whole bird on a platter with all the trimmings, or you can go nontraditional and do anything you please. The best thing to do is to cook what makes you and your guests happy.
In my family, that means a combination of old and new. There will always be a roasted turkey, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce and rolls at our table. But every year, there’s also something new. Someone might try a new recipe for green beans with shiitake mushrooms or a chestnut dressing. It’s a joy to fill a plate with a mix of the familiar and the unexpected.
If you’re looking for something new to make or take this holiday, consider one of these recipes, which might be new to your table but are classic enough to fit with any traditional menu.
Serve these biscuits with Thanksgiving dinner, but set back a couple for leftovers the next day. They’re so good filled with a little turkey and cranberry honey butter.
Makes 15 biscuits
3 cups self-rising flour
½ cup yellow self-rising cornmeal mix
¼ cup cold butter, cut into pieces
¼ cup shortening, cut into pieces
1 ½ cups buttermilk
1 teaspoon yellow cornmeal
2 tablespoons butter, melted
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk flour and cornmeal mix. Cut in butter and shortening with a pastry cutter or two forks until mixture is crumbly. Chill 10 minutes. Add buttermilk, stirring just until moist.
Turn dough onto a floured surface. Knead four times. Pat dough into a ¾-inch thick circle.
Cut dough with a 2 ½-inch round biscuit cutter until you have about 15 biscuits. You will have to reroll the scraps as necessary.
Sprinkle cornmeal on baking sheets. Place biscuits on baking sheets. Lightly brush tops with melted butter. Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
Serve this butter in cute mini glass jars. Or, mold it into a log to cut pats of butter at the table.
Cranberry Honey Butter
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup finely chopped dried cranberries
¼ cup honey
2 teaspoons grated orange zest
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
In a small bowl, beat all ingredients until blended. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to two weeks.
This pie has everything you want: a little tart, a little sweet, a little streusel topping.
Apple Blackberry Crumble Pie
Pie dough for a 9-inch pie
5 large red apples (or 6 medium), peeled and cut into slices
2 cups blackberries, fresh or frozen
½ cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon or apple pie spice
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons corn starch
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
5 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
¾ cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 stick unsalted butter, cold and cut into bits
Roll out the pie dough, and fit into a 9-inch pie plate. Trim and crimp edges. Chill pie shell for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Prebake pie shell by lining the entire pie shell with foil and filling with dried beans or rice. Bake 20 minutes. Remove pie from oven, remove foil and beans and set aside.
Toss apples, blackberries, sugars and cinnamon (or apple pie spice) and salt in a large mixing bowl. Set aside for 30 minutes.
Drain the apples and blackberries, collecting the liquid in another bowl. Warm the liquid in a microwave-safe bowl for 2-4 minutes, or until the mixture is bubbling and reduced by half. (You also can do this on the stovetop.) Add the syrup back to the bowl of apples. Add corn starch and flour, and toss all ingredients until combined.
Make Streusel Topping by combining brown sugar, granulated sugar, flour and cinnamon in a bowl. Cut in cold butter using a pastry cutter or two forks until mixture is crumbly.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Pour apple mixture into pie shell. Top with streusel topping. Bake 15 minutes at 425 degrees. Remove pie from oven, then lower temperature to 375 degrees. Loosely cover pie with foil, and bake an additional 30-40 minutes or until juices are bubbling and thick.
There are a thousand ways to cook sweet potatoes, but this one has to be in the top 10.
Baked Maple Sweet Potatoes
4 pounds sweet potatoes (about 5 large potatoes)
½ cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ cup real maple syrup
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups fresh breadcrumbs (from about 3 slices of bread)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup coarsely chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Pierce the potatoes with a fork, and place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Roast for 60 minutes or until very tender.
Remove the potatoes from the oven, cool slightly, then peel and discard the skin. Place potatoes in a bowl, and add the cream, butter, maple syrup and salt. Whip with electric mixer until very smooth.
Butter a 2-quart casserole dish, and fill with the potato mixture.
For the topping, combine all the ingredients, and sprinkle over the potatoes.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Check after 20 minutes, and cover loosely with foil if the topping browns too quickly.
Note: You can make these potatoes a day ahead. Assemble, then cover and place in the refrigerator. Before baking, bring the casserole out of the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Cover and bake for 40 minutes at 350 degrees then uncover and bake an additional 10-15 minutes.