Category Archives: thanksgiving

Apple & Pear Galette

Apple & Pear GaletteI don’t know why I’ve never thought to make a galette for Thanksgiving, but it feels like a gross oversight on my part.Apple & Pear GaletteGalettes are pie’s more chilled out cousins. They’re free-form, don’t require a pie plate or crimping, never need blind-baking, and you can put pretty much anything but custard inside. Easy easy easy, and positively perfect for a busy day like Thanksgiving. I’m mystified as to how I didn’t realize that until now–it’s so obvious!Apple & Pear GaletteToday’s galette is filled to the brim with sliced tart apples and sweet ripe pears, and it’s seasoned with cinnamon, cardamom, ginger and nutmeg. I like to think of those spices as somewhere between regular apple pie and chai. Yum!Apple & Pear GaletteAssembling an Apple & Pear Galette is as simple as mounding your dough in the center of a piece of pie dough, folding the excess pastry toward the center, and dotting the whole thing with butter. Brush the exposed pie dough with egg wash, sprinkle it with coarse sugar for beauty and crunch, and then bake your galette for about 50 minutes at 375F. You’ll know it’s ready when the filling is bubbling, the pastry is well-browned and your kitchen smells outrageously good—like apples and pears and brown butter.Apple & Pear GaletteAnother thing galettes have over pies? They cool really quickly. I will pretty much never tell you to slice a pie before it has hit room temperature, which can take hours. Galettes though? They’re thin enough that they can be sliced at warm room temperature without any consequence. This beaut was sliced an hour after it came out of the oven, and the worst thing that happened was that it melted my ice cream slightly more quickly than it would have otherwise. And by worst thing, I mean a very good thing. Very good.Apple & Pear Galette

Apple & Pear Galette
makes 1 galette

2 large tart baking apples, peeled, 1/4-inch sliced
2 Bosc or Bartlett pears (about 7-8 ounces each), peeled, 1/4-inch sliced
1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 recipe All-Butter Pie Dough, or other good single crust recipe
2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces

For assembly:
1 large egg
1 teaspoon water
coarse sugar

For serving:
vanilla ice cream
whipped cream

Arrange oven racks in the upper and lower positions. Preheat oven to 375F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

Combine apple and pear slices in a large mixing bowl. Add apple cider vinegar, sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, nutmeg, cornstarch, and salt. Stir together with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon and let sit for 15 minutes at room temperature.

Flour a surface and a rolling pin. Roll pie dough out until it is 1/8-inch thick. Trim edges so that you have a 12-inch circle. Transfer to prepared pan. Mound filling in the middle of the dough, leaving at least 2 inches of excess on all sides. Fold dough over the sides of the filling to contain it. Dot exposed filling with butter.

In a small bowl, whisk together egg and water. Brush mixture on exposed pie dough. Sprinkle with coarse sugar.

Bake galette on the upper rack for 25 minutes. Move to the lower rack. Bake for 20-25 more minutes, tenting with foil if anything begins to brown too quickly. Crust will firm up as the galette cools.

Let galette cool completely in the pan on a rack. Remove to a cutting board. Slice and serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, if desired.

Galette will keep covered at room temperature for two days, or in the refrigerator for up to four.

Apple & Pear GaletteApple & Pear Galette

Brownie Pie

Brownie PieI first had Brownie Pie at an Easter brunch almost twenty years ago, but I’m here to tell you to make it for Thanksgiving. Yes! You may not realize it with everything going on, but Turkey Day is twenty days out. Twenty days! I started off the festive foods with Wednesday’s Pimento Cheese Tarte Soleil, and now we’re on to the first of my usual three pies and one of my favorite sides ever…but I’m getting ahead of myself. I’m here to talk about Brownie Pie, so let’s get to it!Brownie PieBrownie Pie? Like brownies *in* a pie? You better believe it. We’re talking dense, chewy, fudgy, crackly-topped brownies baked up in a flaky all-butter crust. This is a perfect food, people!Brownie PieNow, Brownie Pie not quite as simple as baking brownie batter in a pie crust…but it almost is. You just have to partially blind-bake (bake without filling) the pie crust first, lest your bottom crust stay raw. Don’t worry, it’s not as terrifying as it sounds.Brownie PieBrownie PieTo partially blind-bake, begin by rolling out your dough, then fit and crimp it in a pie plate like you normally would. Next, give it a good chill before lining it with parchment, filling it up with your weights of choice (pie weights, dried beans, rice) and baking for 20 minutes. Then simply lift the parchment and weights out of the crust, dock it with a fork and bake for another 10 minutes, until it starts to brown.Brownie PieBrownie PieAfter that—which, again, is much less of an ordeal than it sounds—it’s as simple as pouring the brownie batter into the crust and baking it off. I used my trusty Cocoa Brownies recipe with a bit more salt and 2/3 cup of chocolate chips for a little extra zazz. If you have another brownie recipe or box mix that you like, feel free to use it! Make sure that it makes enough for an 8” or 9” square pan—you don’t want to overfill your pie plate or worse, have to clean your oven floor.Brownie PieBrownie Pie’s final bake is 30-35 minutes. Ideally, you should let it cool completely for the cleanest slices, but I don’t want to be that person who tells you not to eat warm brownies, so you decide when to slice your pie. Follow your heart and all that. Whatever you do though, don’t skip the vanilla ice cream and chocolate shell.Brownie Pie

Brownie Pie
makes one 9-inch pie

1/2 recipe All-Butter Pie Dough or other good single crust recipe
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light or dark brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons cocoa powder (natural or dutch process)
2 large eggs, cold
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips, divided

For serving (optional):
vanilla ice cream
whipped cream
chocolate shell
chocolate syrup

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 30 minutes or refrigerate for an hour.

Place an oven rack in the lowest position. Preheat oven to 350F.

Remove pie crust from the freezer. Prick the bottom several times with the tines of a fork. Line frozen crust with a big piece of parchment. Fill the center with pie weights (or dried beans or rice).

Place the prepared pie crust on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until pie crust has “set” and is starting to turn golden in places, but is far from done. Use parchment to lift out pie weights. Dock (prick) crust all over with a fork. Return crust to the oven for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the brownie batter. In a small pot over medium-low heat, melt butter, granulated and brown sugars, and cocoa powder together, stirring frequently, until a thick, grainy mixture forms. Remove from heat and let mixture cool 5-7 minutes.

Add vanilla and eggs to the pot, and stir/whisk to combine. Add flour and salt and stir/whisk to combine. Fold in 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips. Pour batter into par-baked crust and spread to the edges. Scatter remaining 2 tablespoons chocolate chips over the top and press lightly to adhere.

Bake pie 30-35 minutes, until filling is set and crust is golden. Let cool completely on a rack.

Slice and serve with desired toppings. Cover leftovers and keep at room temperature for up to two days. Leftovers will keep in the refrigerator for up to five days.

Brownie PieBrownie Pie

Pimento Cheese Tarte Soleil

Hello from the recent past! I’m writing this post ahead of Election Day, so I have no idea what fresh hell is going on in this country upon publishing, nor am I going to address it. This blog has no political views of its own, but you can guess which side I’m on.Pimento Cheese Tarte SoleilI had a very difficult time deciding what to post today. The election has zapped any creative energy I had left, and just…what do I want to talk about post-Election Day? Do I go straight into pie? Thanksgiving sides? Not post a recipe and tell everyone to make one big cookie everyday until we know the actual results? Disappear without a trace for two months and re-emerge only after January 20th of next year? They all seem like good options.Pimento Cheese Tarte SoleilInstead though, I’m going with Pimento Cheese: straight-up cheesy, spicy, sweet, tangy, mayo-bound southern comfort food. While it’s normally served with crackers or celery or on a sandwich, today I’m wrapping it up in two circles of puff pastry, slicing and twisting it so it looks like the sun (“soleil”), and baking until good and flaky with multiple textures of melted cheese. Yesssss.Pimento Cheese Tarte SoleilWhile Pimento Cheese Tarte Soleil sounds fancy, it’s really quite simple, as most things made with puff pastry are. As usual, I went with easy from-scratch rough puff pastry here, but the frozen stuff works too. If you’re going the rough puff route, I find it much easier to make the two sheets separately than I do to make one big one and divide it.Pimento Cheese Tarte Soleil No matter which dough you use, roll your sheets out about as big as you can (mine were 12×14”) and cut out two 12-inch circles. Top one with a batch of homemade pimento cheese, then seal the edges together with a swipe of water.Pimento Cheese Tarte SoleilPimento Cheese Tarte SoleilPimento Cheese Tarte SoleilNext up, create the soleil (sun shape). Place a 2.5-3 inch cutter or vessel in the center of your pastry circles, then use a sharp chef’s knife to slice the edges into sixteen rays. Twist them up for beauty reasons, then brush the whole tarte with egg wash and bake until golden all over.Pimento Cheese Tarte Soleil
When I started working on this recipe, I had some concern that I’d open the oven after 35 minutes to find pimento cheese melted and burnt everywhere, but those fears were unfounded. The pimento cheese gets bubbly on top, gooey in the center, and a little crisp on the bottom.Pimento Cheese Tarte SoleilThis tarte, y’all. This. Tarte. I love that it’s both low brow and high brow–“Pull-aparts, but make it fashion.” It’s a guaranteed showstopper, and one of those things that’s good warm or at room temperature (or cold, honestly), as most flaky, cheesy things are. I had zero trouble putting away a quarter of it after this little photoshoot.Pimento Cheese Tarte SoleilPimento Cheese Tarte SoleilI usually post something to be a part of a Thanksgiving cheese plate, but this fancy finger food? It *is* the cheese plate. No need for crackers or bread or anything else, except maybe a sliced apple and a glass of something festive. And since Thanksgiving is but once a year, know that this would also be welcome in a game day spread. Heck, you could even just make one, slice up some raw vegetables and call it dinner any old time. Basically, it’s appropriate for any pimento cheese and puff pastry-eating occasion, including eating your feelings while waiting for things to sort themselves out, which is the exact route I will be taking.Pimento Cheese Tarte Soleil

Pimento Cheese Tarte Soleil
makes one tarte

Rough Puff Pastry (makes 2 sheets):
2 cup all-purpose flour, divided
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt, divided
10 ounces (20 tablespoons) unsalted European-style butter, very cold, cut into small pieces, divided
1/2 cup water or milk, very cold, divided

Pimento Cheese:
8 ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese
1 4 ounce jar pimientos or roasted red peppers
1 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
3 tablespoons mayonnaise

Egg wash:
1 large egg
1 teaspoon water

If you do not wish to make the Rough Puff Pastry, you may use two sheets of frozen all-butter puff pastry that you have thawed according to package directions. Begin the recipe at “Make the pimento cheese.”

Make the first sheet of rough puff pastry. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together 1 cup flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Use a pastry blender or two forks to cut 5 ounces (10 tablespoons) butter into dry ingredients until the largest pieces are the size of small peas. Pour in 1/4 cup of 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.

Make the second sheet of rough puff pastry. Repeat the mixing, rolling, folding and chilling process with remaining 1 cup flour, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 5 ounces (10 tablespoons) butter, and 1/4 cup cold water and milk.

Make the pimento cheese. Grate the cheese on the large-holed side of a box grater. Transfer to a small mixing bowl.

Drain the pimientos and blot with paper towels. Mince pimentos and transfer to the mixing bowl. Add black pepper and mayonnaise. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold it all together—it will seem dry, but should hold together.

Make the tart. Place an oven rack in the center position. Preheat oven to 400F. Line a rimmed half-sheet pan with parchment.

Flour a surface and a rolling pin. Unfold one sheet of dough. Roll out to at least 12×14-inch rectangle, or a bit larger. Place a 12 inch round item (I used the lip of a large mixing bowl) on top. Use a thin, flexible knife to cut out a circle. Refrigerate. Repeat rolling and cutting process with the second sheet of dough.

Place one circle of dough on prepared pan. Drop spoonfuls of pimento cheese over the dough and spread to cover, leaving a 1/2-inch border on all the way around. Dab or brush some water along exposed dough, then place the second circle of dough over the top. Press edges together all the way around.

Place a light 2.5-3-inch object on the center of your tart (I used a biscuit cutter). Leaving the area covered by the object alone, use a large, sharp chef’s knife to slice the pastry into quarters, then eighths, then sixteenths. Remove the round object to see that your tart looks like a sun.

Taking one “ray” (strip of dough) at a time, gently twist it a few times. Repeat with all “rays.” If the dough becomes soft or sticky at any point in the assembly process, refrigerate the entire tart for 15 minutes.

Make egg wash. Combine egg and water in a small bowl and whisk together with a fork. Use a pastry brush to paint egg wash over the entire tarte.

Bake tarte for 35-40 minutes, until completely golden. Let cool 10 minutes before carefully removing to a serving plate.

Serve immediately. This tarte is best warm or room temperature, but leftovers may be wrapped tightly with foil and stored in the refrigerator for a day or two. Reheat in the oven for best results.Pimento Cheese Tarte SoleilPimento Cheese Tarte Soleil

Baked Feta with Sautéed Dates

Baked Feta with Sautéed DatesI’ve been making Thanksgiving food since mid-October, and while that’s my idea of a good time, it’s a bit of a relief that I’m not going to be anywhere near an oven on Thursday. My family traditionally travels and makes reservations for this particular holiday, so all I have to do is pack that skirt I marked as my “Thanksgiving outfit” back in September, get on a bus to D.C., and leave the cooking to a bunch of chefs.Baked Feta with Sautéed DatesWe’ve been doing this routine in different cities since 1997, so it’s second nature now. In fact, the only issue I have with my family’s Thanksgiving tradition is that I’ll have to wait til Christmas to make them this Baked Feta with Sautéed Dates.Baked Feta with Sautéed DatesPoor them—they don’t know what they’re missing. I do, though, and so I am here to tell you that you absolutely, unequivocally should make this three days from now.Baked Feta with Sautéed DatesI know. I know! The menu’s set. You’ve made the list. But just go ahead and add a brick of feta and some dates to the tail end. I promise it’s worth the change in plans.Baked Feta with Sautéed DatesYou’ll only need five ingredients (plus something carby for serving) and fifteen minutes to put this appetizer together, and I would be utterly shocked if it lasts more than another fifteen minutes. I was alone when I made the feta and dates pictured here, and I had trouble keeping myself from eating half the brick in one go.Baked Feta with Sautéed DatesBaked Feta with Sautéed DatesBaked Feta with Sautéed DatesThe feta is baked for ten minutes and broiled for a couple more. It turns soft and salty with crispy edges and corners that slump in the most pleasing way. It’s brushed with olive oil all over and honey on top before going into the oven, so it gets brown and blistered and…seriously, good luck not hoarding this all to yourself.Baked Feta with Sautéed DatesIt won’t melt—feta doesn’t do that—but it will soften to the point where you can practically slice it with the edge of a cracker. Frankly, you could serve the feta by its lonesome and it’d disappear in minutes, but then you’d be denying yourself the magic of Sautéed Dates, and that’d be a real shame.Baked Feta with Sautéed DatesBaked Feta with Sautéed DatesI mean, if there’s anything in the world that can stand up to the wonder that is Baked Feta, it’s these dates. They’re sautéed in olive oil for a minute or two while the cheese is in the oven, just until the edges begin to caramelize. The results are mostly sweet and a little savory—they’re great with yogurt, labneh and hummus. Here, they’re spooned over the warm feta and sprinkled with finishing salt before being scooped up with crackers or baguette or whatever and shoveled into your mouth as quickly as possible because—oh my goodness—this stuff is delicious.Baked Feta with Sautéed DatesSalty, sweet, cheesy, savory, fruity, eyes-rolling-back-in-your-head good. You’re not going to want to share, but you should because…manners, I guess? But go ahead and plan to make this for every party between now and January 2nd, because if you can’t eat a brick of cheese during the holidays, when can you?!Baked Feta with Sautéed DatesHappy Thanksgiving, dear readers!Baked Feta with Sautéed Dates

Baked Feta with Sautéed Dates
dates adapted from Renee Erickson
makes about 8-10 servings

Baked Feta:
4 teaspoons olive oil
1 8-ounce brick feta cheese, blotted with paper towels
1 teaspoon honey (or maple syrup)

Sautéed Dates:
1 tablespoon olive oil
10-12 medjool dates, pits removed, sliced in half
coarse or flaky salt, for garnish

For serving:
water crackers
pita or pita chips
sliced baguette

Preheat oven to 400F.

Bake the feta. Use a pastry brush to apply 2 teaspoons olive oil to an 8-inch broiler-safe dish. Place gets brick in the center. Brush exposed feta with 2 teaspoons olive oil. Brush the top of the feta with a teaspoon of honey. Bake feta for 10 minutes or until soft and slumping. Feta will not melt.

Preheat broiler. Broil feta for 2-4 minutes, until the top is blistered.

Meanwhile, sauté dates. Heat 1 tablespoon (3 teaspoons) olive oil in a small sauté pan over medium heat. Add halved dates and cook, flipping once or twice, until they have all been coated in a thin layer of oil and some are beginning to caramelize (about 2 minutes). Do not burn.

Spoon sautéed dates over baked feta. Sprinkle with coarse or flaky salt. Serve warm with crackers or bread of choice.

Baked feta will firm up as it cools. To rewarm, place in a 350-400F oven for 5 minutes or until soft again.Baked Feta with Sautéed DatesBaked Feta with Sautéed DatesBaked Feta with Sautéed Dates

Buttermilk Pie with Oatmeal Crust

Buttermilk Pie with Oatmeal Crust {Gluten-Free}Here we are, six days from Thanksgiving. Six days!Buttermilk Pie with Oatmeal Crust {Gluten-Free}I’ll have one more holiday recipe for you on Monday—a really simple one—but first, pie. More specifically, Buttermilk Pie with Oatmeal Crust.Buttermilk Pie with Oatmeal Crust {Gluten-Free}Buttermilk Pie with Oatmeal Crust {Gluten-Free}Just imagine a layer of vanilla-scented buttermilk custard soft enough to squidge (technical term) against your teeth, and a crisp, lightly-spiced crust reminiscent of an old-fashioned oatmeal cookie. That’s what you get with this recipe.Buttermilk Pie with Oatmeal Crust {Gluten-Free}Oh, and it’s easy. The filling comes together with a whisk and a mixing bowl. It’s incredibly simple, and the results are old-fashioned and delicious.Buttermilk Pie with Oatmeal Crust {Gluten-Free}As for the crust, well, let’s just say I’m in love. It’s a little thicker than your average pastry crust, but it’s also like a big cookie—a big cookie filled with buttermilk custard!Buttermilk Pie with Oatmeal Crust {Gluten-Free}Buttermilk Pie with Oatmeal Crust {Gluten-Free}Buttermilk Pie with Oatmeal Crust {Gluten-Free}Buttermilk Pie with Oatmeal Crust {Gluten-Free}This oatmeal crust comes together in a food processor before being pressed into a greased pie plate. No need for chilling, rolling or crimping. Easy easy easy.Buttermilk Pie with Oatmeal Crust {Gluten-Free}And did I mention that both components just happen to be gluten-free? Yesssss. I love inclusive recipes—that goes double at the holidays.Buttermilk Pie with Oatmeal Crust {Gluten-Free}

Buttermilk Pie with Oatmeal Crust {Gluten-Free}
makes one 9-inch pie

Oatmeal Crust:
3 cups old-fashioned oats* (use certified gluten-free for gluten-free crust)
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter,* cut into pieces
4 tablespoons water

Buttermilk Pie Filling:
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
3 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 cup buttermilk (preferably whole)
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

For serving (optional):
whipped cream

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

Make the crust. Scatter oats in an even layer on a rimmed sheet pan. Bake for 5-7 minutes, until fragrant. Let cool a few minutes.

Add oats to the bowl of a food processor, along with brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and butter. Process to combine. Add water and process again until clumps form.

Press mixture in an even layer on the bottom and up the sides of the prepared pie plate. Place pie plate on a rimmed baking sheet and bake 10 minutes.

Make the pie filling. In a small bowl, whisk together sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk eggs for 2 minutes, or until very thick and foamy. Gradually whisk in sugar mixture, followed by melted butter, buttermilk and vanilla. Mixture will be thin. Pour into crust.

Carefully move the pie (still on the baking sheet) to the oven. Bake 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350F and bake for another 35-45 minutes, or until the top is light golden, the edges are puffed, and the center is still a little jiggly (not soupy). Tent with foil if it is darkening too quickly. 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. Chill for at least 2-3 hours before serving.

Buttermilk Pie is best served cold. Garnish with whipped cream, if desired.

Leftover pie will keep covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Notes:

    You may use an equal volume of coconut oil.
    To make this in a regular pie crust, follow the crust-baking (partial blind-baking) instructions here.Buttermilk Pie with Oatmeal Crust {Gluten-Free}Buttermilk Pie with Oatmeal Crust {Gluten-Free}Buttermilk Pie with Oatmeal Crust {Gluten-Free}Buttermilk Pie with Oatmeal Crust {Gluten-Free}