Dutch Apple Pie

One last recipe before the rush of Thanksgiving preparation begins. When I was growing up we often had Dutch apple pie on our Thanksgiving dessert table. It was one of my father’s favorites and mine too because we liked the buttery crumb topping. If I am making an apple dessert for the holiday this is the recipe I use most often. It is best served the day you bake it. Happy Thanksgiving!

Pie Crust
3 c. all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
1 c. lard, room temperature (not cold)
1/2 c. (or a little less) ice cold water

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a bowl combine flour and salt. Mix. Cut lard into flour and with your hands form pea-size crumbs. Make a well in the center and add just under 1/2 c. ice water. Gently and carefully work the dough into a ball with your hands. Just bring dough together; do not overwork because you want to see lard marbling the dough as you roll it out on a lightly floured surface (roughly 1/8″ thick). Fit dough into the bottom of a 9-inch pie plate. (You will have enough pie dough for a second pie or save for another use.) Add apple filling and trim the edges. Sprinkle the crumb mixture on top of the apples. Bake for 45-50 minutes until filling is bubbling up from the crumb mixture and the apples are fork tender. Cool on rack. Store covered at room temperature. Serves 8.

Apple Filling
6-1/2 c. peeled and sliced apples (6-8 apples)
2/3 c. sugar
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/4 c. flour
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 tsp. kosher salt

In a large bowl combine apples, sugar and lemon juice. Stir well. Add flour, spices and salt. Mix well. Pour into prepared pie shell.

Crumb Topping
1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. sugar
1-1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
pinch of kosher salt
5 Tbsp. cold butter or margarine, diced

Combine flour and sugar. Mix. Add spices and salt. Mix again. Cut in the butter and mix to form coarse crumbs. Sprinkle on top of apple filling.



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Brined and Roasted Turkey and Porcini Mushroom Mashed Potatoes

The brining of the turkey I leave to the men in my family; my job is to roast the bird after brining. This brine recipe is slightly adapted from the New York Times. We make the brine the Monday of Thanksgiving week. Let it chill overnight, then immerse the turkey and let it brine for 48 hours, removing it from the brine on Thanksgiving morning when you rinse and then roast it. The turkey is always moist and flavorful.

Brined and Roasted Turkey
1 (14-16 lb.) turkey
2 gallons water
3/4 c + 2 Tbsp. kosher salt
3/4 c. sugar
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 large white onion, peeled and diced
1/4 c. diced celery
1 large leek, cleaned and chopped
2 fresh bay leaves
1 Tbsp. mixed peppercorns
1 Tbsp. coriander seeds
2 dried red chili peppers
1 tsp. fennel seeds
2 star anise
1 tsp. dried thyme

Aromatics for the Turkey
1/2 large onion, peeled and sliced
1/2 large lemon, sliced
1/4 apple or Asian pear
2 fresh bay leaves
handful of fresh herbs – sage, rosemary, thyme, and parsley
1/3 c. unsalted butter, melted
sprinkling of onion powder, garlic powder, sweet paprika

On Monday: Prepare the brine by bringing 1 gallon of the water to a boil. Remove from the heat, add salt and sugar, then stir to dissolve. Add vegetables, herbs, and spices. Stir to mix. Add 1 more gallon of water. Stir to mix. Refrigerate overnight until cold.

On Tuesday: Remove giblets and neck from the turkey cavity and set them aside for stock. Transfer brine to a 21-quart pot, 5-gallon bucket, or other large plastic container. Submerge the turkey in the brine, cavity side up. If necessary add a bit more water to submerge the bird. Cover with a lid. Place in the refrigerator for 48 hours, stirring occasionally.

On Thursday (Thanksgiving morning): Remove turkey from brine, then rinse the turkey. Place it on a rack inside a roasting pan. Let sit at room temperature for at least one hour.

Roasting the Turkey: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Insert the onion, lemon, apple or Asian pear, and the fresh herbs into the turkey cavity. Brush the outside skin with butter, and season with a generous sprinkling of onion powder, garlic powder, and a bit of sweet paprika. Roast for 25 minutes. Lower the heat to 350 degrees and continue cooking for another 2 hours or until the deepest part of the thigh registers 165 degrees using an instant read thermometer.

The porcini mushroom potatoes are a nice variation on the mashed potato theme, delicious along side the Thanksgiving turkey, or steak, or even chicken cutlets. They can also be used as a filling for pierogies, knishes, and savory pies.

Porcini Mushroom Mashed Potatoes
14 medium to large Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cubed
9 Tbsp. salted butter, diced and at room temperature
3/4-1 c. milk, warmed
1/4 c. dried porcini mushrooms
2 Tbsp. flat leaf Italian parsley, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Place potatoes in a 6 quart stockpot. Cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Add two teaspoons of kosher salt and let boil for 15-20 minutes until potatoes are fork tender. While the potatoes are boiling you will need to rehydrate the mushrooms. Do this by placing the porcinis in a bowl. Cover with 1 cup boiling water. Let sit 5-10 minutes until mushrooms are soft. Once they are softened drain and chop porcinis. Drain potatoes and let sit for 1 minute, then return potatoes to the stockpot and let them dry on medium heat for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally so they don’t stick to the pan. Transfer dried-out potatoes to a mixing bowl. Add softened butter and milk. Beat on low speed for 20 seconds. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix again. Add chopped mushrooms and parsley. Mix until they are just incorporated. Serves 8.


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Pumpkin Mascarpone Cake Roll

I learned to make this recipe at a cooking class taught by pastry chef Letty Flatt. I have adapted it slightly and it is on our Thanksgiving dessert table every year. It is a nice alternative to the typical pies. It is a great make ahead dessert. I bake it on Tuesday of Thanksgiving week.

Pumpkin Mascarpone Cake Roll
3 large eggs
1 c. sugar
2/3 c. pumpkin purée (I use Libby’s)
1 tsp. fresh orange juice
3/4 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. fine salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
powdered sugar for the tea towel

Mascarpone Cream Filling
1 c. mascarpone, room temperature
3/4 c. heavy cream
1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp. rum extract or emulsion
3/4 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray bottom and sides of a half sheet pan (18×12). Line pan with parchment paper. For the cake: combine eggs and sugar in a mixing bowl and whip for 5 minutes until thick, pale yellow and ribbons. Mix in the pumpkin puree and orange juice. Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and spices. Add to the egg mixture on low speed until well mixed. Stop and scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl. Add vanilla extract. Pour cake batter into prepared pan. Spread evenly to the edges with a spatula. Bake for 12-15 minutes until the cake springs back when touched with a finger. Remove cake to a rack. Set a tea towel down on the counter and sprinkle generously with powdered sugar. Take the half sheet pan with both hands and invert onto the tea towel so the parchment paper is facing up. Roll the tea towel up and let sit while you make the filling. For the filling: combine the mascarpone and heavy cream. Mix with the wire whip just to combine. Add the sugar and extracts. Beat until soft and smooth – 1-2 minutes. Be sure not to over whip or it will curdle. Gently unroll the cake and carefully peel away the parchment paper. Spread the mascarpone filling evenly over the cake, leaving a 1/2 inch border. Roll the cake to form a long log with the seam on the bottom. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate. To serve: trim the edges, slice then sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serves 10-12.

Sugar-lined Tea Towel


Cake spread with filling

Rolling the filled cake

Rolled up cake

Slice pumpkin mascarpone cake roll


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Green Beans with Garlic and Basil

We often serve green beans as a Thanksgiving side dish. This recipe came from my Aunt Fran and is my daughter’s favorite way to eat them. It is a simple preparation but delicious. You can vary the recipe by adding caramelized onions, sautéed mushrooms, shallots, a roasted red pepper, chopped olives, some freshly chopped parsley or thyme, toasted almonds, hazelnuts or walnuts, a bit of orange or lemon zest. I usually double this recipe for the holidays.

Green Beans with Garlic and Basil
1 lb. fresh green beans, trimmed
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped into large chunks
5-7 fresh basil leaves, chiffonade
salt and pepper to taste

Bring a 5 quart pot full of water to the boil. Add 1 tsp. kosher salt. Add green beans and boil until crisp tender – about 7 minutes. Drain then place in a serving bowl. In a small frying pan combine olive oil and garlic. Slowly heat until the garlic is soft, fragrant and light golden. It should take about 3 minutes or so. Pour the garlic and oil over the beans and toss to coat beans with the oil. Top with fresh basil and toss again. Serves 4.


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Sweet Cornbread

This is our family’s favorite cornbread recipe. It is not your typical southern cornbread. It is sweet like a cake and very moist. The recipe came from one of my mother’s New Jersey friends. She brought it over to the house with a batch of chili when my father passed away and it was so warm and comforting at our time of loss. Whenever we eat this bread I am reminded of and thankful for those small acts of kindness that lift us in times of need.

Sweet Cornbread
1-1/2 c. milk
1-1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. unsalted butter, melted
3 large eggs
4 heaping Tbsp. cornmeal
1 tsp. baking powder
3 c. Bisquick baking mix, sifted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease or spray a 9×13 baking pan. In a large bowl whisk together milk, sugar and butter. Add eggs and mix until smooth. Add cornmeal and baking powder. Mix well. Add sifted Bisquick and beat until smooth. Pour into the prepared pan. Bake for 30-40 minutes until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool on rack. Serves 10-12.


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Thanksgiving Yeast Rolls – Plain, Cinnamon or Orange

One of the most popular items on our Thanksgiving table is fresh homemade yeast rolls. Some are plain, some are filled with cinnamon sugar, some with orange sugar. At this high altitude yeast rolls rise so light and fluffy that even a double batch disappears quickly. My children like to help form the rolls. I have found that the easiest method for making them amidst all the food prep of Thanksgiving morning is to mix the dough the night before. Spoon it into a food-grade bucket with a lid, or a bowl with a tight plastic cover, and let slowly rise overnight in the refrigerator. The next day bring the dough to room temperature and then shape into rolls. There are instructions below if you prefer not to do the overnight method. This recipe is adapted from the cookbook A Pinch of Salt Lake by the Junior League of Salt Lake City.

Thanksgiving Yeast Rolls
1 Tbsp. yeast (I use Saf Instant)
1/4 tsp. sugar
1/2 c. warm water
1/2 c. sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 c. whipping cream, warm
1/3 c. salted butter, melted or margarine
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
3 to 3-1/4 c. flour
Extra butter for forming rolls, melted

Cinnamon Sugar Filling
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. light brown sugar
1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon

Orange Sugar Filling
1 c. sugar
zest of 1 large orange or 2 small oranges

In a small bowl combine yeast, 1/4 tsp. sugar, and warm water. Stir and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit 5 minutes to foam. In a mixing bowl combine 1/2 cup sugar, eggs, warm cream, melted butter, and salt. Add yeast mixture. Mix well. Add flour one cup at a time. The dough should be sticky. Pour into a buttered bowl or food-grade container with a lid. Refrigerate overnight. The next day allow the dough to come to room temperature on the kitchen counter. This should take 2-1/2 to 3 hours. If you want to make the dough and bake the same day, mix the dough and let rise, covered tightly with plastic wrap, for 1-1/2 hours until doubled. Divide dough in half. Take one dough half and roll out on lightly floured surface into a 14-16-inch round circle. Brush dough with 1-2 Tbsp. melted butter. At this point you can add half the flavored sugar of choice or leave it plain. Cut into 16 wedges as if cutting a pie or pizza. Roll up each pie slice-shaped piece of dough from the perimeter edge down to form a crescent. Place on a parchment- or silpat-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough. Cover with a tea towel and let rise for 1 hour. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes until lightly golden, rotating the pan half way through baking. Transfer rolls to a rack. Makes 32 rolls.

Note: It is optional to roll the dough into a large rectangle 16 inches long. Brush with butter, fill with sugar mixture if you want, then just roll up like a jelly roll. Slice with dental floss into 24 individual rolls. Place close together in a parchment-lined 9×13 metal pan. Then let rise before baking. You can also glaze cinnamon or orange rolls with the following glaze if desired (I usually leave them unglazed for Thanksgiving).

Glaze (optional)
1/4 c. unsalted butter, melted
pinch of fine salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 c. evaporated milk
2 c. powder sugar, sifted

In a bowl whisk together butter, salt, vanilla, and 2 Tablespoons evaporated milk. Whisk until smooth. Add powdered sugar one cup at a time, whisking until smooth, then add 2 more Tablespoons of milk. It should be fairly thick. Spoon over hot rolls and spread with a spatula to coat. Use all the frosting.


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Southern Pecan Pie

We always begin our Thanksgiving feast with antipasti, followed by the turkey dinner. We take a break to clean up and distribute leftovers, build a fire in the family room, and perhaps watch a movie before we have dessert. We are still a bit full but everyone looks forward to that final dessert course. We always have cake, roasted chestnuts and fruit, homemade eggnog, local apple cider, ice cream, and a good assortment of pies. We try to have everyone’s favorites. There is the coconut custard pie that I must have. My son favors the Dutch Apple and sour cherry. My brother’s family is partial to pumpkin and key lime pies. My sister loves chocolate cream and banana cream. My husband, daughter, and mother adore this Southern pecan pie. The recipe came from my mother-in-law by way of a Southern neighbor. She made it every Thanksgiving and sometimes at Christmas. Granted, this seems like a lot of dessert after a huge meal, but whatever we can’t consume on Thanksgiving night becomes a great morning-after breakfast treat!

Southern Pecan Pie
3 c. all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
1 c. lard, room temperature (not cold)
1/2 c. (or a little less) ice cold water

Pecan Filling
3 large eggs, beaten
3/4 c. white sugar
3/4 c. light corn syrup
2 Tbsp. salted butter, melted
pinch of fine salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1-1/2 c. chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. For the Pie Crust: In a bowl combine flour and salt. Mix. Cut lard into flour and with your hands to form pea-size crumbs. Make a well in the center and add just under 1/2 c. ice water. Gently and carefully work the dough into a ball with your hands. Just bring dough together; do not overwork because you want to see lard marbling the dough as you roll it out on a lightly floured surface (roughly 1/8″ thick). Fit dough into the bottom of a 9-inch pie plate. Trim the edges. (You will have enough pie dough for a second pie or save for another use.) For the Filling: In a mixing bowl combine beaten eggs, sugar, corn syrup, butter, salt and vanilla. Pour filling into prepared crust then sprinkle nuts on top. Bake for 40-45 minutes until filling is set. Cool on rack. Store covered at room temperature. Serves 8.


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Grilled Orange Sage Pork Tenderloin

My children love pork tenderloin. I have found that one of the best ways to infuse flavor into the pork is to roll it in an olive oil and herb bath after grilling, then let it sit in the oil bath for 10 minutes while the meat absorbs the flavors. Once it is sliced, spoon the remaining olive oil bath on top as a sauce. If you are cooking for a crowd for Thanksgiving and want more than one meat option, this may be a nice alternative to ham. It does not require oven space and stays moist at room temperature.

Grilled Orange Sage Pork Tenderloin
4 pork tenderloins (4-5 lbs.)
Olive oil

Orange Sage Olive Oil Bath
1 c. extra virgin olive oil
zest and juice of 1 medium orange
1 Tbsp. chopped red onion
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh sage leaves
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh Italian flat leaf parsley (or more to taste)
1 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat grill on high to 450 degrees. While the grill is preheating whisk together the ingredients for the orange and sage olive oil bath. Pour it into a deep casserole dish and set aside. Turn the grill to medium high. Pat the pork tenderloins dry with a paper towel. Place the meat on the grill and salt it generously. Close the lid and cook for 7-9 minutes. (You will need to cook all sides of the tenderloin.) Turn meat and salt again. Keep the lid closed and cook for 5-7 minutes. Turn the meat again and cook 3 minutes with lid up. Turn to the last remaining side and cook 2-3 minutes longer. The internal temperature of the meat should be 145-150 degrees. Remove from grill and immediately roll each tenderloin into the herb bath. Let the meat sit in the bath covered with foil for 10 minutes. Slice the pork, then place it on a serving platter and spoon the olive oil bath over the meat. Serves 8-10.



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Pear Almond Olive Oil Cake

We have been enjoying very sweet local Bartlett pears the past couple of months and my favorite recipe that takes advantage of them has been this pear olive oil cake. The combination of pear, almond, and warming spices creates a lovely autumn dessert. The inspiration for this recipe came from the French blog Manger. If you are looking for a cake to go along with pies for Thanksgiving, try this recipe. It is good either warm or cool. Serve with cream, ice cream, or simply sprinkled with powdered sugar.

Pear Olive Oil Cake
3/4 c. vanilla granulated sugar or regular granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 c. olive oil (not extra virgin)
1-1/2 c. flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 tsp. ground cardamom
pinch of ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. lemon zest
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. almond emulsion or extract
3 large ripe pears, peeled and diced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch cake pan or a 12×6 rectangular baking pan. Line pan with parchment. In a mixing bowl combine sugar, eggs, and olive oil. Beat on medium speed for 4-5 minutes until mixture thickens. Sift dry ingredients and spices together. Gradually add to the egg mixture until well mixed. Add lemon zest and extracts. Mix until smooth. Fold in the diced pears. Pour into prepared pan and use a spatula to spread batter evenly to the edges of the pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes until an inserted toothpick comes clean. Cool on rack for 5 minutes, then lift parchment to remove cake from pan. Let cool completely. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serves 8.



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Pecan Streusel Pumpkin Cake

This pumpkin cake has been in my recipe box for at least 25 years. It is one that a New Jersey friend gave to my mom in the 1980’s. We made it for several years, then it fell out of the recipe rotation. It recently returned to popularity in our family. I have adapted the recipe to my own liking. It’s a nice dessert for Halloween or Thanksgiving.

Cake Base
1 pkg. white cake mix minus 1 cup for the streusel topping
1 large egg
1/2 c. unsalted butter, melted

Pumpkin Filling
1 (29 oz.) can pumpkin purée (I use Libby’s brand)
3/4 c. sugar
2 large eggs
2/3 c. evaporated milk
1-1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
pinch of kosher salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Pecan Streusel Topping
1 c. white cake mix
1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 c. pecans halves or walnuts, chopped
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter or margarine, diced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×13 pan. Set out three bowls. Pour the cake mix into the first bowl. Measure out 1 cup of the cake mix for the streusel topping and place it in the second bowl. Set the second bowl aside. To make the cake base, take bowl number one with the majority of the cake mix and add to it 1 large egg and 1/2 c. melted butter. Mix well and pat into the 9×13 pan. The third bowl will be for the pumpkin filling. Combine pumpkin with sugar, eggs and milk. Beat well. Add the spices, salt, and vanilla. Mix well and pour over the cake base in the 9×13 pan. To make the streusel topping take the second bowl with the remaining 1 cup of cake mix and mix it with 1/2 c. sugar, spices, and nuts. Add diced butter and cut it into the dry mix to form a crumbly streusel topping. Sprinkle topping evenly over pumpkin filling. Bake for about 50 minutes until pumpkin filling is set and streusel topping is golden brown. Cool on rack. Refrigerate for several hours before serving. Serves 12-15.


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