and new variations on classic favorite endings to the holiday
is that part of the meal when your Uncle Nick leans back,
embarrasses everyone by undoing his belt buckle and trouser
button (“But he does that every year,” Aunt Vi explains),
slaps his ample belly and thunders, “Bring on the pie!”
It can be a labor of love or an afterthought, but it’s the
necessary and expected finale to the holiday meal. And, as
I canvassed family and friends and restaurant people, the
two items always mentioned were apple pie and pumpkin pie.
Even with the ready availability of nonlocal and exotic produce,
these are so firmly holiday-associated that they’ve never
wavered in popularity, with many variations throughout history.
In the 19th century, for example, you might find apple pie
à la Virginia, consisting of “two pie shells filled with applesauce
and stacked one on top of the other. ‘To serve,’ the yellowing
recipe says firmly, ‘cut in sections and put a spoonful of
whipped cream on top with a sprinkle of nutmeg. The crust
must be crisp and the sauce cold.’” (Evan Jones,
In New Hampshire, apple pie was topped with maple syrup.
family always makes a deep-dish apple pie for Thanksgiving,”
says Paul Parker, owner of Chez Sophie Bistro in Malta, carrying
on a restaurant tradition begun by his French-born mother.
“But it’s a little different—we put a lot of lemon
in the recipe. And no cornstarch.” With no Thanksgiving tradition
in France, the restaurant has always closed for the holiday.
“But we do all the usual American things at home,” Parker
says. “This year, though, I’m looking at getting some mimolette,
a cheddar-like cheese from France to top the pie with.”
Parker also offers advice on your pumpkin pie recipe: “Don’t
use pumpkin. Try Mother Hubbard squash—it has a much better
Charmaine Solomon’s new Complete Vegetarian Cookbook (Ten-Speed
Press) is a masterful volume offering both Eastern and Western
influences on vegetable-based cookery, and her tarte aux
pommes recipe (pictured) calls for a purée of apple slices
cooked with sugar, butter, apricot conserve and Calvados that
are then baked in a traditional crust in a flan ring—with
apple slices giving it a decorative top. Calvados is an apple-flavored
brandy that finds its way into many recipes—“We do a pork
loin in Calvados,” says Parker.
Calvados pairs naturally with apples, as exemplified by Michael
London’s apple tart Normandy. “The apples are roasted and
caramelized first,” he explains, “and then they go into a
puff pastry shell along with a custard filling that’s flavored
with Calvados and vanilla sugar. It’s very fragrant, very
This confection will be available for the holidays at Mrs.
London’s Bakery and Café in Saratoga Springs, and it will
be on the table at the London home for Thanksgiving. “We’ll
also have the Plymouth cake, which has layers of chocolate
mousse and pumpkin mousse with a pecan meringue. It’s a lighter,
more ethereal way to go than a traditional pumpkin pie,” London
says. “And Mrs. London won’t be happy unless we also have
a pumpkin caramel pie. We put a layer of soft caramel beneath
the pumpkin filling, which gives it more depth of flavor.”
Other bakeshop favorites you’ll find at Mrs. London’s during
the next few weeks are chocolate pecan, Southern pecan and
cranberry walnut pies, with stollen and varieties of bouche
de Noel, a classic holiday log sporting such fillings
as chocolate mousse, coffee buttercream and such. “Tim Handgarter,
who makes them for us, is from the North Country,” London
says, “and his look more authentic than anything I’ve seen
in France. Maybe you need to have that connection to actual
The search for easy-to-prepare holiday dessert alternatives
was seemingly impossible until Carmine Sprio, of Carmine’s
Restaurant (818 Central Ave., Albany), gave me this amazingly
simple frangipane recipe:
3 cups of sliced almonds, which you can roast beforehand if
1½ oz. orange essence, amaretto, or something strong and flavorful
Throw everything in a food processor, reserving six of the
apricots. Transfer the purée to a quiche pan, and fan slices
of the remaining apricots on top. Bake at 350 degrees for
20 to 25 minutes.
this month at the restaurant we’ve been featuring New York
state wines and ingredients,” says Sprio. “It’s been great—it’s
really remarkable what’s produced locally. So we’ve had a
lot of apple and pumpkin dishes on the menu.
be closed for Thanksgiving so our staff can enjoy it with
their families,” Sprio says. “At my house, you can bet there’s
going to be apple pie and pumpkin pie, and it’ll be made with
New York state stuff. But if there’s no chocolate somewhere,
I’ll be in trouble.”
French Restaurant (322
State Highway 67, Amsterdam) is hosting a Beaujolais
Nouveau wine- tasting dinner Dec. 5-8, during which
chef Eric Masson will serve a four-course meal including
sautéed wild mushrooms in puff pastry, seafood crêpes,
duck breast with raspberry sauce, lamb kabobs with tarragon
sauce and much more. It’s $33 per person and includes
a glass of the new Beaujolais. For info and reservations,
call the restaurant at 842-6977. . . . Remember to pass
your scraps to Metroland (e-mail food@ banilsson.com).
fax info to 922-7090)
2 pounds pork tenderloin, trimmed
cup maple syrup
red onion, sliced
cup demi-glaze or chicken or beef broth
and pepper to taste
Brine for pork:
4 cups cold water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Trim pork tenderloin of any fat and silver skin, then place
in brine for two hours. Remove from brine; discard brine and
place the pork on a sheet pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper
and place in your preheated oven. Roast pork for approximately
half an hour, or until pork is cooked to 155 degrees. Let
rest for 15 minutes.
To make the maple sauce: In medium-size sauté pan, add onion
and butter over medium heat. Slow cook red onion until translucent.
Add maple syrup (demi-glaze, beef or chicken broth), cinnamon
and nutmeg. Simmer for 20 minutes.
Slice roasted pork loin, pour sauce and serve. Serves 4.
1 lb. fresh goat cheese, good quality
cup soft unsalted butter
tablespoons parmesan cheese
cups curly parsley
tablespoons finely cut chives
and white pepper to taste
In a blender, add soft butter and broken-up goat cheese. Blend
until it’s smooth like a milkshake. Add whole eggs, whites,
parmesan cheese, parsley, salt and pepper to taste. Blend
until all ingredients are incorporated and a smooth texture
forms—there should be no lumps or chunks. Butter the inside
of the ramekins and fill with the mixture in a water-bath,
(this is made by using a deep roasting pan to place the ramekins
in hot water) ¾ up to the outside of the ramekin. Cover with
parchment paper and bake at 325 degrees until flan is set,
about 30 to 33 minutes. Garnish with fresh apple or pear,
caramelized onion, and a dressing or vinaigrette of your choice.
Sprinkle with chives. Serves 8 4-ounce ramekins.
Chicken and Shrimp Penne
Centi and Un’ Hui Filomeno
2 pounds penne
dozen large shrimp, peeled, de-veined and floured
pound chicken breast, julienne-style and floured
ounces roasted butternut squash, cubed
ounces dried plums, pre-soaked
ounces roasted shallots, halved
½ pints chicken broth
ounces fresh herbs, chopped
ounces clarified butter
and pepper to taste.
Heat butter in a large saucepan. Add chicken and shrimp. Cook
both sides of the meat and add the squash, plums, shallots,
scallions and herbs. Deglaze with sherry. Add chicken stock
and reduce. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve over cooked
penne. Serves 4.
Cinnamon Raisin French Toast
Cinnamon Raisin Bread, sliced in 1 inch pieces
1 ½ cups fresh orange juice
ounces (1 bag) fresh cranberries
Mix eggs, milk and vanilla in a medium-size mixing bowl. Dip
Atlanta Bread Company’s Cinnamon Raisin Bread slices into
the batter. Place in a frying pan over medium heat and cook
for approximately one minute on each side.
To make the sauce: Mix orange juice and sugar in a saucepan
and add approximately 3 cups of water. Add juice and sugar
mixture and bring to a boil and then let it simmer for an
additional 5 minutes. Serve sauce with the Cinnamon Raisin
French Toast. Serves 6 to 8.
1 ½ pounds top round beef, cut in large cubes
cup flour seasoned with a teaspoon of salt and pepper
tablespoons red wine vinegar
head garlic, 8 to 10 cloves peeled and finely chopped
medium Spanish onion, chopped large
stalks celery, chopped large
large carrots, chopped large
Idaho potatoes, medium-size, chopped large
pound medium-size button mushrooms, whole
bunch scallions, chopped
cup apple cider
cups frozen peas
cups frozen corn
and pepper to taste
Marinate the beef in Guinness seasoned with salt and pepper
12 hours prior to cooking. Strain the beef, save Guinness
in a separate container. Put your strained beef in a large
plastic bag with flour seasoned with salt and pepper. Shake
vigorously until all cubes are dusted with flour. Brown floured
beef in oil and add garlic. When all of the beef is browned,
add red wine vinegar and deglaze the pot. Add Guinness and
bring to a simmer, then add Tabasco and honey to the Guinness.
Mix all fresh vegetables with water and cider. Bring contents
to a boil, stirring occasionally, then reduce to a simmer
and add peas and corn. Simmer over low-to-medium heat for
three hours and stir occasionally. Add parsley and scallions
with fresh ground pepper and serve hot. Serves 6.
and Clams Marinara
2 dozen mussels, cleaned well
2 dozen clams, cleaned well
1 cup dry white wine
½ cup butter
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
cup tomatoes, crushed
sprigs of parsley
Place the mussels and clams in a large, deep saucepan. Add
the butter, wine, tomatoes, parsley and garlic. Cook about
five-to-eight minutes, until the shells open. Discard any
that do not open and serve immediately. Serves 4.
and Sausage Gumbo
2 pounds andouille sausage
pounds boneless chicken thighs
cups chopped onion
cup chopped red pepper
cup chopped celery
cup chopped garlic
1 cup vegetable oil
teaspoon chili powder
quarts water or chicken stock
and pepper to taste
Brown sausage and chicken in a large saucepot. Once browned,
remove meat and set aside. Add vegetable oil and flour for
roux over moderate heat and cook until it is medium-brown
in color. Add vegetables and spices and cook for 5 to 10 minutes.
Add water or stock and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly.
Continue to cook for about an hour, stirring frequently. Adjust
salt and pepper to taste and serve over broiled rice. Serves
6 to 8.
1 ounce drawn butter
heaping tablespoon fresh garlic, chopped
ounce white wine
cup sundried tomatoes
cup artichoke hearts
ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into medallions
teaspoon dried basil, chopped
½ cups heavy cream
ounces tomato sauce
ounces parmesan cheese
cups cooked penne pasta
tablespoon walnuts, chopped
In a sauté pan, place drawn butter, garlic, white wine and
chicken medallions. Cook on medium-to-high heat until chicken
is blanched-off. Add basil, sundried tomatoes, artichoke hearts,
heavy cream and a splash of tomato sauce. Continue simmering
until the sauce is reduced (thickened) and the chicken medallions
are cooked thoroughly. To finish the meal, add parmesan cheese,
walnuts and your drained penne pasta. Toss until all contents
are mixed well. Top with walnuts to garnish and serve. Serves
1 whole turkey, about 20 pounds
cups sliced fresh wild mushrooms (shiitake, portabella, oyster,
cup heavy cream
cup fresh herbs, chopped (parsley, tarragon, dill and sage)
cup good quality brandy
cups fresh breadcrumbs
and pepper to taste
First, remove the wings from the turkey and set aside. With
the turkey on a cutting board breast-side down, carefully
run a sharp boning knife down along the breastbone. Do not
cut through the skin on the breast-side. Next, remove the
leg and thigh quarters with a gentle pull, trying not to tear
the skin. Remove the dark meat from the bone and pass through
a meat grinder.
To make your stuffing: Brown the ground meat in a large skillet
with the butter. Add the mushrooms, onion, and celery and
cook about 6 to 8 minutes more. Add the brandy, flame it off,
then add the cream and herbs. Reduce heat for about five minutes
until the mixture is nice and thick. Add the breadcrumbs to
make a stuffing consistency. Season with salt and pepper to
With your turkey in front of you, skin-side down, make butterfly
cuts on the thick side of the breast near the tender to make
the breast near even in thickness throughout. Place the stuffing
in the breast and roll it up and tie it with butchers twine.
Roast in a moderate oven at 350 degrees for about one-and-a-half
hours, or until an internal temperature of 160 degrees is
achieved. Serves 12.
1 pound fresh pumpkin
pint heavy cream
quart vegetable stock
and pepper to taste
Toss all of the above ingredients, except the stock and the
cream, in a large bowl. Roast until softened, about 45 minutes
to one hour. When your pumpkin is tender, transfer to a large
saucepan and add stock. Puree the mixture, then add the heavy
cream. Adjust your consistency with the stock. Season again
with salt and pepper to taste.
Stuffed with Chestnuts
Taste of Greece
1 7-to-8 pound turkey
pounds chestnuts (cleaned)
cup butter (softened)
cups dry white wine
pound ground veal
or 4 ounces pine needles
tablespoons heavy cream
and white pepper to taste
To make the stuffing: Remove turkey trimmings from turkey.
Clean and chop finely. Sauté with ½ cup butter and ground
veal, stirring continuously. Add one cup of wine, water and
rice. Simmer until the liquid is absorbed. In a fry pan, sauté
one pound of halved chestnuts with a tablespoon of butter
until lightly browned and then add to stuffing mixture along
with raisins and pine needles.
To make the turkey: Clean and wash turkey. Fill turkey with
chestnut stuffing. Rub turkey with salt and white pepper.
Add your turkey to the fry pan along with ½ cup butter, 1
cup white wine and a small amount of water. Bake in a 350-degree
oven until done. During cooking time, turn the pan to evenly
brown the turkey and baste regularly.
When turkey is fully cooked, remove from the oven. While the
turkey is standing, sauté the rest of the chopped chestnuts
with a tablespoon of butter and the heavy cream. When the
chestnut mixture is complete, cut the turkey in half and garnish
with chestnut mixture. Serves 6.
Pork Loin, with stuffing, mustard and pickled vegetables
1 center-cut boneless pork loin
gallon canola oil
gallon chicken stock
pound green beans
tablespoons mixed pickling spice
cups sherry vinegar
cups Dijon mustard
and pepper to taste
The day before the meal, marinate the pork loin in oil with
half the rosemary, thyme, 1 cup of crushed garlic, one onion
and one celery stalk.
Prepare the pickled vegetables: Blanch vegetables until tender.
Boil an onion in sherry vinegar, lemon water and pickling
spices for 20 minutes. Add the blanched vegetables. Heat to
a boil, then pack vegetables and liquid in a container and
let cool. Refrigerate overnight.
To make stuffing: Cut the baguettes into cubes and toast till
golden brown. Sauté garlic, onions, celery, rosemary, sage,
thyme and sausage meat together until sausage is cooked through.
In a large bowl, add cooked meat and vegetables. Then add
the hot chicken stock, raisins, salt, pepper and eggs to the
bread. Mix thoroughly and place in a casserole dish with a
cover. Bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes.
For the pork loin: Remove pork from marinade seasoning and
bake at 375 degrees until the internal temperature of the
pork is 160 degrees. Let sit for 15 minutes, then carve into
slices. Place slices on stuffing and heat vegetables in their
own liquid. Mix honey and mustard together (pass separately).
Serves 8 to 10.
loaf bread (preferably egg bread or brioche)
cup unsweetened cocoa
ounces semi-sweet chocolate, cut into chunks
tablespoon vanilla extract
Melt chocolate and butter in a double boiler. While waiting,
cut bread into half-inch cubes and set aside. When the chocolate
is melted, add the cocoa and sugar. (I like to use a bowl
large enough to hold all the ingredients—including the bread.)
Stir well to eliminate any lumps from the cocoa power. Next,
add the eggs and stir them in well. Finally, add the milk,
cinnamon and vanilla to the chocolate mixture and stir well.
Scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula and stir
again to make sure all the ingredients are thoroughly mixed.
Now add the bread. Stir everything well and let the bread
sit for an hour or more in the refrigerator. Pour the pudding
mix into a greased 8 x 8 inch pan or 2-quart casserole dish.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until the custard is
cooked through the center. Serve warm with ice cream or berries
and whipped cream. Serves 4.
large onions, minced
cups butternut squash, in 1-inch cubes, peeled and deseeded
½ quart chicken stock
cups potatoes, 1-inch cubes and peeled
to 1 cup heavy cream, to your taste
tablespoon granulated garlic
and black pepper to taste
In a large pot, melt butter and add minced onions. Cook on
medium heat until soft, (approximately five minutes). Add
your squash, potatoes, stock and paprika to the same pot.
Bring everything to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer until
the squash and potatoes are soft (approximately 35 minutes).
In batches, pour soup into a food processor or blender, and
process until smooth. Return the soup to your pot, stir in
heavy cream and add garlic. Season to your taste with salt
and pepper. Serves 8.
Ultimate Turkey Adventure is Wild
1 wild turkey
or pancetta (enough to cover bird)
ground black pepper
clove of garlic
Marinate for at least two hours in Dr. Frank’s Riesling. Cut
garlic in half to release aroma and flavor. Next, stuff the
cavity of the bird with garlic and fresh rosemary sprigs.
Drape bird with bacon and lard (or pancetta) covering breasts,
legs and thighs. Sprinkle sea salt and fresh ground pepper
to taste. Note that the bacon, lard and pancetta are salty,
so go light on the sea salt. Put sea salt and pepper in the
chest cavity of the turkey. Before you begin to roast, be
sure you’ve larded the turkey!
Cook a 10-pound bird for about one-and-a-half hours at 350
degrees. Insert your thermometer between breast and thigh—the
temperature should read 160 degrees internally. Let bird sit
for 15 to 20 minutes before carving.
(Tip: Use legs and thighs for soup, stew or casserole—they
are not as tender as conventional turkey.) Serves 6.
3 pounds Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced
ounce ground cinnamon
½ ounce goat cheese, crumbled
ounce dried cherries
ounces unsalted butter
¾ pound brown sugar
1 10-inch pie shell
To make the pie: Place the sliced apples in a large mixing
bowl. Now add the next five ingredients (sugar, flour, cinnamon,
goat cheese and dried cherries) and mix well with your hands.
Make sure the goat cheese and cherries are evenly distributed.
Pack apples evenly into pie shells.
To make the topping: Place flour, brown sugar and butter into
mixer. Blend ingredients on medium speed for 10 to 12 minutes.
Make sure topping is mixed well by using your hands to break
up any butter lumps.
Top the pie with crumb mixture making sure there is a half-inch
on the entire pie.
Place pie on sheet pan and bake at 400 degrees for 50 to 60
Serve warm with great quality vanilla ice cream. Serves 10.
Brothers’ Grilled Sunshine Shrimp
Davidson Brothers’ Restaurant
1 red pepper
cup pine nuts
Steam red peppers, remove skin and add peppers to food processor
along with the handful of fresh basil and ¼ cup of pine nuts
and olive oil as desired.
For the sauce:
1 cup heavy cream
and pepper to taste.
To make the shrimp and rice:
Add one cup heavy cream to a hot sauté pan along with the
pesto and salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium, sauté to
cup rice pilaf
Cook rice pilaf, grill shrimp and toast pitas. Cut pitas into
eighths (like a pizza) and divide the rest up onto two plates.
Place pita points on outer edge of the plate with the points
facing outward. Place rice pilaf in the middle of the plate
and the shrimp the bed of rice. Pour your sauce over the shrimp.
1 ½ quarts fish or chicken stock
stalks lemongrass cleaned and crushed
clove fresh garlic
ounces fresh ginger knobs
bunch fresh cilantro, cleaned
fresh basil leaves
green onions, cleaned
ounce peanut oil
tablespoon minced fresh garlic
medium onion, minced
large red pepper, diced finely
strong dashes fish sauce
teaspoon sambai or red chili paste
½ pounds sea scallops sliced in half to look like quarters
pint unsweetened coconut milk
cup juice of a lime
ounces blonde roux
Bring the stock to a boil and add the next nine ingredients.
Simmer for three minutes, remove from the heat and let it
steep for at least two-hours. Heat the peanut oil in a two-gallon
stockpot. Sweat the garlic, ginger, onion and red pepper until
tender (no coloration). Next, add the fish sauce, letting
it reduce by two-thirds. Now add the scallops (gently so as
not to destroy them) and stir with a wooden spoon. When the
scallops are cooked medium-rare, stir the sambai or chili
paste in. Now add the coconut milk and the half-and-half.
Let everything simmer for two minutes. Mix the roux in bits,
stirring well. Strain the stock and continue cooking until
the chowder has a shine on it. Add limejuice to desired taste.
Garnish with a pinch of thinly sliced scallions and three
cilantro leaves. Serves 6.
Maryland Crab Cakes
1 pound jumbo back-fin crab meat, picked over for shells
ounce white or French bread, crumbled, no crust
scallions, chopped finely
teaspoon dry mustard
teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
of Worcestershire sauce
of hot sauce
of white pepper
Mix all ingredients until blended. Form into “cakes” and roll
in cornmeal. Sauté in a lightly oiled sauté pan. Finish heating
in a 350-degree oven. Serve with cocktail sauce, Dijon sauce,
remoulade or a cocktail sauce of your liking. Serves 8.
4 fresh artichokes
pound small white mushrooms, chopped
tablespoon Italian parsley, chopped finely
cup fresh basil, chopped coarse
cups fresh crusty bread, diced small
cup celery, diced small
cup parmesan cheese
cup extra virgin olive oil
lemon’s worth lemon juice and zest
pound sweet Italian sausage meat, six links
teaspoon butter, lightly salted
ounces dry white wine or sherry
To make the artichokes: Trim the top pointed leaves and pick
off only the outside layer of leaves. Split in quarters, length-wise.
From the center of the heart, pick out all of the pinch leaves
and any hairy parts with a paring knife. Simmer for 20 minutes
with half of the lemon and a half teaspoon of salt. Drain
and let cool.
To make the filling: In a large skillet, heat olive oil. Add
onions, mushrooms, celery and sausage. Break up the sausage
while stirring with a wooden spoon. Cook for about five minutes;
then add your garlic, basil, parsley, wine and butter. Simmer
for another five minutes, then fold everything in your bread
and cheese. Mix well. Check stuffing consistency and adjust
seasoning while allowing everything to cool.
Once the stuffing has cooled, fill in each leaf. Open center
and fill with the stuffing. Drizzle a small amount of olive
oil on the top of each artichoke. Finally, place on a flat
pan and roast for 25 to 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Serves
6 large yams, or sweet potatoes
bulbs garlic, sliced
cup orange juice
and pepper to taste
Peel and boil potatoes until tender. Drain and mash them with
salt and pepper. Brown your garlic in a little butter or oil
until crispy brown. Top your mashed sweet potatoes with the
crispy garlic, and add a pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg for taste.