Category Archives: thanksgiving

Apple Cider Cranberry Sauce

Apple Cider Cranberry SauceMy mother makes the best cranberry sauce in the world, but that’s not the recipe I’m sharing today.* Sorry to disappoint.

*Just kidding! I wrote her original recipe in the notes at the end. It’s a Thanksgiving two-fer 🙂 Apple Cider Cranberry SauceI have a good reason for holding out on you. My mom’s cranberry sauce is made with a large amount of brandy, which gets cooked off over the course of an hour in the oven. As I have mentioned previously though, I cannot safely consume alcohol, and therefore do not keep it around, even for cooking.

Since I quit drinking five and a half years ago, cranberry sauce is one of the only dishes that I have really missed. I’ve found work-arounds or substitutes for all sorts of other recipes, but I just couldn’t find one that hit all the same buttons as my mom’s.Apple Cider Cranberry SauceIn case you’re wondering, those buttons include:

  • It’s gotta be whole berry. No weird can-shaped cranberry jello here.
  • It can’t have more than three ingredients. I’ve had cranberry sauces with nuts and spices and other fruits and all sorts of other silliness, and all of it was completely unnecessary.
  • It shouldn’t have any citrus. Orange and cranberry are complementary flavors, but I can’t stand them together in cranberry sauce. This is more of a personal preference than anything, but I mean, this is my personal food blog.
  • It can’t be too sweet. I hate when cranberries are so over-sweetened that their natural tartness is completely masked.
  • It has to be easy. Like ridiculously easy. So low-maintenance, it’s silly. And if it can be made more than a day ahead, that’s ideal.
  • If nothing else, it must be so delicious that I want to eat it every time I spot the jar in the fridge.

Apple Cider Cranberry SauceApple Cider Cranberry SauceIt’s taken a few years and many sauces with unrecognizable berries, too much sugar, flavors I didn’t care for, and a lot of feeling sorry for myself, but I’ve finally made a cranberry sauce that hits all those buttons. And the missing ingredient was looking at me the whole time in the form of a seasonal fridge staple: apple cider. It has flavor, but not enough to overwhelm the cranberries, and it’s sweet without being saccharine. Perfection.Apple Cider Cranberry SauceApple Cider Cranberry SauceThis sauce comes together over the course of an hour in the oven. It gets stirred twice, but needs no help otherwise.Apple Cider Cranberry SauceThe result is soft, bursting berries that slump into a sweet, sticky sauce. It’s just divine. As is the fact that it can be made today and nuked in the microwave just before you sit down to Thanksgiving dinner. In fact, it’s probably even better that way. Love that.

Happy Thanksgiving, dear readers.Apple Cider Cranberry Sauce

Want more cranberries? See here and here. For more apple cider, see here and here.

Apple Cider Cranberry Sauce*
makes about 3 cups

2 12-ounce bags whole cranberries
1 cup apple cider
1/2 cup granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 350F.

Combine all ingredients in a 9×13-inch casserole dish and stir together. Bake 60 minutes, stirring every 20 minutes.

Remove sauce from oven. Cool for a few minutes before transferring to a serving dish. Serve.

Cranberry sauce may be made up to two days in advance; it reheats well in the microwave.

Note:

If you want to try my mom’s cranberry sauce, swap the cider for brandy and double the sugar. Everything else is the same.
Apple Cider Cranberry SauceApple Cider Cranberry SauceApple Cider Cranberry Sauce

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Baked Brie with Caramelized Onions

Baked Brie with Caramelized OnionsIf you go back and look at the order of recipes on this blog, you can clearly see my train of culinary thought. Last week, I posted three pies back-to-back. Last month, I posted a cake per week. Earlier in the year, I was making doughnuts right and left. I can’t help that my inspiration is so obviously linear.Baked Brie with Caramelized OnionsThis week, I’m caramelizing everything. On Wednesday, it was Brussels sprouts. Today, it’s onions. But they’re not just any old caramelized onions. Nope. These are nestled with a wheel of brie, wrapped in buttery pastry, and baked into a puffy, golden appetizer worthy of any Thanksgiving spread!Baked Brie with Caramelized OnionsBaked brie is always a holiday hit—what’s not to love about the combination of melty cheese and flaky pastry?!—but I am all about the sweet addition of caramelized onions here. They’re cooked low and slow until they’re soft, sweet, and deeply browned. I like to add some minced garlic and fresh rosemary (it’s another thing I’m into right now) at the end of cooking, just for a little dimension.Baked Brie with Caramelized OnionsBaked Brie with Caramelized OnionsAfter the onions cool, it’s time to assemble the baked brie. Roll out a sheet of puff pastry (I use rough puff, but the frozen all-butter stuff works too) and pile the onions on top.Baked Brie with Caramelized OnionsSmear a little dijon on one side of a wheel of brie and place it on top of the onions. The mustard flavor isn’t too pronounced here, but it’s sharpness helps offset the richness of the cheese and pastry.Baked Brie with Caramelized OnionsBaked Brie with Caramelized OnionsWrap everything up tight, give it an egg wash glaze, and decorate with some little pastry leaves, if that’s the sort of thing you’re into.Baked Brie with Caramelized OnionsBaked Brie with Caramelized OnionsBaked Brie with Caramelized OnionsBaked Brie with Caramelized OnionsBake the brie until the pastry puffs and turns golden. Wait a few minutes before serving it with seasonal fruit and the crackers you made your roommate go get from the overpriced cell-phone-dead-zone grocery store behind your building (and you didn’t even complain when he came back with some weird flavor instead of plain because you’re an adult and someone did you a favor)…Baked Brie with Caramelized Onions…um, what was that? Oops. Back to baked brie.Baked Brie with Caramelized OnionsBaked Brie with Caramelized OnionsYou’re going to love this brie, y’all! It’s rich and buttery, and oozes in the best possible way. One bite of this melty, cheesy, salty-sweet treat is worth every second it takes to cook those onions, I promise. I know all your holiday guests will agree.Baked Brie with Caramelized Onions
Baked Brie with Caramelized Onions
makes one 5-inch (13.4 ounce) baked brie

Rough Puff Pastry:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
5 ounces unsalted European-style butter, very cold, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup water or milk, very cold

Caramelized Onions:
2 medium sweet onions, sliced into thin half-moons
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary

For Assembly:
1 5-inch (13.4 ounce) wheel of brie
1-2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1 large egg
1 teaspoon water

For Serving:
seasonal fruit
bread or crackers

Make the pastry. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Use a pastry blender or two forks to cut butter into dry ingredients until the largest pieces are the size of small peas. Pour in cold water or milk and stir with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon until a shaggy dough forms.

Flour a surface and a rolling pin. Turn dough out onto surface, and use your hands to pat it into a rough rectangle. Roll the dough into an 8×10″ rectangle. Fold dough in thirds, and give it one quarter turn. Roll into an 8×10″ rectangle again, fold, and turn. Repeat rolling, folding, and turning until it has been done six times total. Wrap folded dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour, or up to 48 hours.

Caramelize the onions. Melt butter in a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring frequently, until they reduce in volume and are deeply browned (but not burnt!). Add garlic and minced rosemary and cook just until fragrant, about 1 minute. Do not rush this process. Set aside to cool completely.

Preheat oven to 400F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Set aside.

Assemble the baked brie. Flour a surface and a rolling pin. Unfold dough. Roll dough out to 9×12-inch rectangle. Slice off a 2×9-inch strip and refrigerate it for later. Place onions in a 6-inch circle in the center of the remaining dough.

Spread mustard on one side of the brie. Place the brie, mustard-side-down, on top of onions. Fold pastry over the top, leaving no exposed cheese. Place wrapped brie, smoother-side-up, on prepared pan. Refrigerate.

Make an egg wash. In a small bowl, combine egg and water. Whisk with a fork until smooth.

Remove reserved strip of dough from the refrigerator. Use a knife or decorative cookie cutters to cut decorative pieces, if desired.

Remove brie from the refrigerator. Paint with egg wash. Top with decorative pieces and paint with more egg wash. Bake brie for 25-30 minutes, or until puffed and golden.

Let cool for at least 15 minutes before removing to a serving platter. Serve with fruit, bread, or crackers, if desired.

Baked brie is best on the day it’s made, but may be wrapped tightly in the refrigerator for a few days.
Baked Brie with Caramelized OnionsBaked Brie with Caramelized OnionsBaked Brie with Caramelized Onions

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts

Caramelized Brussels SproutsI don’t spend much time writing about vegetables, seeing as this is a baking blog and all.Caramelized Brussels SproutsBut the truth is that I eat a lot of vegetables. A lot. Gotta balance out all the baked goods somehow, you know?

Let’s not discuss how many times I’ve had pie and salad for lunch over the last three weeks. #bakerproblemsCaramelized Brussels SproutsThese Caramelized Brussels Sprouts are one of my fall/winter favorites. They’re basically your standard roasted brussels sprouts with the volume turned up. Plus, they’re super easy to make and have this sweet-salty-herby-spicy thing going on that makes them totally irresistible. Like, good luck getting them from the pan to the table without eating half the batch. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Caramelized Brussels SproutsI make Caramelized Brussels Sprouts for regular weeknights all the time, but they’re also great for dinner parties and holidays. I made them for Christmas dinner last year and they were a huge hit with my whole family! I can’t help but think they’d make a great Thanksgiving side dish, too.Caramelized Brussels SproutsCaramelized Brussels Sprouts are very simple to make. Start by trimming the brussels sprouts and removing any banged-up outer leaves. There’s no need to slice them in half—minimal prep is the name of the game!Caramelized Brussels SproutsPut the sprouts on a baking sheet and toss ‘em with fresh rosemary, red pepper flakes, salt, a little sugar, and olive oil.Caramelized Brussels SproutsRoast the brussels sprouts for 40 minutes, giving the pan a good shake every 15 minutes. The resulting sprouts will have deeply browned (but not burnt!), crispy exteriors and buttery-soft centers.Caramelized Brussels SproutsRemember that “sweet-salty-herby-spicy” thing? Well, add “crispy-buttery.”Caramelized Brussels SproutsAnd maybe “-things-dreams-are-made-of.”
Caramelized Brussels Sprouts

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts
makes 6-8 servings

2 pounds whole raw Brussels sprouts, trimmed & kept whole
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
1/4-1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, based on your preference
1/2-3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, based on your preference

Preheat oven to 400F.

Combine all ingredients on a dry rimmed baking sheet and toss together with clean hands. Spread coated brussels sprouts into one layer.

Roast 40 minutes, tossing every 15 minutes. Brussels Sprouts are ready when the exteriors are deeply browned (but not burnt) and the centers are tender. Let cool 5 minutes before serving.

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts are best the day they are made, but may be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.Caramelized Brussels SproutsCaramelized Brussels SproutsCaramelized Brussels Sprouts

Coconut Custard Pie

Coconut Custard PieIf you’re keeping count, this is my third pie in a row. What can I say? It’s November! And making pie is fun! #sorrynotsorry
Coconut Custard PieToday’s recipe is a new favorite of mine: Coconut Custard Pie! It’s basically exactly what it sounds like—shredded coconut suspended in a soft vanilla custard, all wrapped up in golden brown crust! If you love coconut, this is the pie for you!*

*Also, this one.Coconut Custard PieI won’t lie to you—this pie is a little bit of a diva. For one, the crust has to be partially blind-baked (aka baked without filling). It’s not a difficult process, but it’s fussy.Coconut Custard PieCoconut Custard PieTo put it briefly: roll the dough, put it in a pie plate, crimp it, freeze it, dock it with a fork, line it with foil (2 sheets!), fill it with pie weights/dried beans/rice/seeds/a combination, freeze again, bake just until set (but not anywhere near done), remove pie weights, fill, bake again. WHEW.Coconut Custard PieCoconut Custard PieCoconut Custard Pie
Coconut Custard PieAgain, not difficult, just fussy. Don’t be tempted to skip this step though, unless you are into soft, undercooked bottom crust. I promise that I wouldn’t insist on par-baking if it were not absolutely necessary for stellar Coconut Custard Pie.Coconut Custard PieCoconut Custard PieAnd make no mistake, this pie is stellar. The filling is an easy whisk-and-pour situation, and once it’s baked and cooled, it becomes soft, rich, toasty coconut magic.Coconut Custard PieAdd a little whipped cream, and you’ve got the perfect way to end your Thanksgiving dinner.Coconut Custard Pie
Looking for more pie? Check out my Maple Pecan, Cranberry Crumb, and Silky Smooth Sweet Potato Pies!

Coconut Custard Pie
makes 1 9-inch pie

1/2 recipe Cream Cheese Pie Dough or other good crust
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
2/3 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 cup milk (preferably whole)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut

For serving (optional):
whipped cream

On a floured surface, roll out pie dough to a 12″ diameter. Fit into a deep 9-inch pie plate and trim the overhang to 1/2-inch. Crimp the edges and freeze for 15 minutes.

Place an oven rack in the lowest position, leaving a lot of headroom above. Preheat oven to 375F.

Lightly grease a sheet of foil. Remove pie crust from the freezer. Prick the bottom several times with the tines of a fork. Line frozen crust with greased foil (greased side down). Top it with another sheet of foil going in the opposite direction, so that all the crust is covered. Gently curl the foil down to loosely tent the crimp. Fill the center with pie weights (or dried beans, rice, seeds). Freeze 10 minutes.

Place the prepared pie crust on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until pie crust has “set,” but is far from done. Use foil to lift out pie weights. Let par-baked crust rest in its pan (and still on the baking sheet) on a rack while you prepare the filling.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, nutmeg, and salt. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together sugar and eggs until sugar has begun to dissolve and the mixture is an even light yellow. Whisking continuously, add melted butter. Add dry ingredients one tablespoon at a time, whisking until combined. Whisk in milk and vanilla.

Scatter coconut over the bottom of the par-baked crust. Pour custard over the top. Use a long sheet of foil (~5 feet) to loosely wrap the pie.

Carefully move the pie (still on the baking sheet) to the oven. Bake 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350F and bake for another 25 minutes. Carefully remove foil wrap. Bake pie for another 15-25 minutes, or until the top is light golden, the edges are puffed, and the center is still a little jiggly (not soupy). Turn off oven and crack the door open. Let the pie sit in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove pie to a rack to cool completely.

Coconut Custard Pie may be served at room temperature or cold with whipped cream, if desired.

Leftover pie will keep covered at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.Coconut Custard PieCoconut Custard PieCoconut Custard Pie

Nutella Cream Pie

Nutella Cream PieI suppose this is a year of unconventional Thanksgiving pies here on E2 Bakes.Nutella Cream PieI usually go for traditional pastry crust pies this time of year (and there’s at least one coming your way), but then there was vegan pumpkin pie with toasted pecan crust. And now there’s Nutella Cream Pie.Nutella Cream PieMade with a graham cracker and hazelnut crust, a Nutella pudding filling, and topped with whipped cream and candied hazelnuts, this pie is basically the dessert of my dreams.Nutella Cream PieThis beauty has hazelnut flavor all over the place. We’re talking 2/3 cup toasted and blitzed into a buttery graham cracker crust…Nutella Cream PieNutella Cream PieNutella Cream Pieanother 1/3 cup that are lightly candied and scattered on top…Nutella Cream Pieand a creamy pudding filling that tastes like pure Nutella, but somehow even better.Nutella Cream PieNutella Cream PieNutella Cream PieDon’t ask me to explain how it’s possible to improve the flavor of Nutella—I can’t quite find the words.Nutella Cream PieYou’ll just have to make a Nutella Cream Pie and see for yourself.Nutella Cream Pie
Looking for more Thanksgiving Pies? Check out my light & fluffy Pumpkin Pie, Black Bottom Pear & Almond Pie, and Chocolate Buttermilk Pie!

Nutella Cream Pie
makes one 9-inch pie

Crust:
2/3 cup raw whole hazelnuts
6 full-sheets graham crackers
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

Nutella Filling:
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
2 cups whole milk
3 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup Nutella
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Candied Hazelnuts:
1/3 cup raw whole hazelnuts
3 teaspoons granulated sugar

Whipped Cream:
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup confectioners sugar

Preheat oven to 350F. Make the crust. Scatter hazelnuts on a dry rimmed baking sheet. Bake 5-7 minutes, or until fragrant and toasted. Do not burn. Let cool 10 minutes.

Combine toasted hazelnuts, graham crackers, light brown sugar, salt and melted butter in the bowl of a food processor. Process until hazelnuts and grahams are broken down and the mixture is the consistency of wet sand. Press on the bottom and up the sides of a deep pie plate. Bake for 10 minutes to set. Let cool on a rack while you prepare the filling.

Whisk together sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a heavy-bottomed medium-large saucepan. Slowly whisk in milk. Place pan over medium heat and bring to a boil, whisking continuously. Boil one minute. Remove from heat. Slowly whisk 1/3 of the mixture into the egg yolks. Return egg yolk mixture to pan. Place pan over medium heat and whisk constantly until mixture boils for one minute. Remove from heat. Whisk in vanilla, followed by Nutella and butter.

Place a fine mesh sieve over a bowl. Push filling through the sieve and discard any solids. Transfer filling to prepared crust. Press plastic wrap to the surface. Chill at least six hours.

Make the candied hazelnuts. Line a plate with parchment and set aside. Place hazelnuts in a dry skillet over medium-low heat. Toast for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently, until fragrant and shiny. Add sugar by the teaspoon, stirring until it dissolves (it may smoke up a bit). When all sugar has dissolved, remove hazelnuts to prepared plate and let cool completely. They will be clumped together. Once cooled, place them on a cutting board and give them a rough chop with a large, sharp chef’s knife.

Make the whipped cream. In a medium-large mixing bowl, combine heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla. Use an electric mixer to whip cream until stiff peaks form. Remove pie from refrigerator and top with whipped cream. Scatter candied hazelnuts over the top, as desired. Slice and serve pie.

Leftover pie will keep covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Nutella Cream PieNutella Cream Pie