And that means you can almost feel the dread, too. All that cooking! What to serve?
We have some spectacular suggestions, 21 ways to make the best turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, vegetables and desserts you have ever had.
It's just one more thing to be thankful for.
Salted Caramel-Swirled Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
Yield: 12 servings
1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
¾ cup light brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Pinch salt, optional
6 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature and very soft
½ cup granulated sugar
1/3 heaping cup pumpkin purée
2½ teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ cup thick salted caramel sauce, see note
Note: For caramel sauce, either make your own (recipe follows) or use store-bought. But do not use ice cream or sundae sauce made with corn syrup listed as the first ingredient; it will be too thin.
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with aluminum foil, leaving an overhang on 2 sides, and spray with cooking spray. Set aside.
2. For the crust: In a medium, microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter, about 1 minute on high power. Add the graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, cornstarch and salt, if using. Mix well with a fork to combine. Pour the crumbs into the prepared pan and use a spatula to pack the mixture firmly into the pan in an even, flat layer. Set aside.
3. For the filling: In a medium bowl (you can use the same, unwashed bowl), combine egg, cream cheese, sugar, pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice and vanilla, and whisk (or use a mixer) until smooth and combined. The softer the cream cheese, the easier the mixture comes together. Add the flour and mix just to incorporate. Do not overmix.
4. Pour the filling into the crust. Top with caramel sauce, swirled in a fanciful design.
5. Bake 40 minutes or until center is set with very little jiggle; some looseness is OK, but there should be no sloshing in the center. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out mostly clean or with just a few moist crumbs. Cool bars in pan for 1 hour before lifting out, using the foil overhang, and slicing. They are best when served chilled: Cover the pan with foil and refrigerate 2 hours or overnight before slicing and serving. Bars will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Recipe from “Cooking With Pumpkin” by Averie Sunshine
Salted Caramel Sauce
Yield: About 1 cup
1 cup granulated sugar
¼ cup water
¾ cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
½ stick (4 tablespoons) butter
½ to 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste, see note
Note: If using table salt, use less — perhaps ¼ to ¾ teaspoon.
1. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the sugar and water. Heat over medium-low heat until the sugar dissolves, stirring occasionally.
2. Raise the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil without stirring. Carefully use a wet pastry brush or damp paper towel to wipe down any crystals that cling to the sides of the saucepan. Failure to remove them could result in a grainy sauce. Boil until the mixture is a deep amber color, about 5 to 6 minutes; it will turn color fairly quickly.
3. Remove the pan from the heat and carefully whisk in the cream; the mixture will bubble up vigorously. Add the vanilla; it will bubble up again. Stir in the butter and salt to taste. Transfer the caramel to a glass or heatproof jar with a lid. Caramel sauce will keep airtight for months in the refrigerator.
Per (1 tablespoon) serving: 115 calories; 7g fat; 4g saturated fat; 23mg cholesterol; no protein; 13g carbohydrate; 13g sugar; no fiber; 65mg sodium; 10mg calcium.
Recipe from “Cooking With Pumpkin” by Averie Sunshine
Yield: 4 servings
2 (2-pound) pie pumpkins or 3 cups canned purée
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon (2 pinches) cayenne pepper, optional
1 teaspoon nutmeg
3 cups vegetable stock or chicken stock
½ cup coconut milk
Salt and pepper
Crème fraîche, optional
1. If using canned pumpkin, begin with step No. 2. If using fresh pumpkin, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice off tops of pie pumpkins and cut pumpkins into quarters; remove seeds and stringy bits. Place pumpkin quarters on an ungreased baking sheet and roast 30 to 35 minutes until soft. When cool enough to touch, remove and discard the skins (they will come off easily). Set pumpkin aside.
2. Put oil in a large pot over medium-high heat, add onions and sauté until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add brown sugar, paprika, optional cayenne and nutmeg and stir 30 seconds to 1 minute until well mixed and fragrant. Stir in pumpkin and add vegetable stock.
3. Bring to a simmer and cook 20 minutes. Add coconut milk and mix thoroughly. Add salt and pepper to taste. Purée in a blender or use an immersion blender. Serve hot, topped with a dollop of crème fraîche or a sprinkling of nutmeg, if desired.
RECIPE: Peking-Style Roast Turkey with Molasses-Soy Glaze and Orange-Ginger Gravy
Yield: 8 servings
For the turkey
1 (12 to 14-pound) turkey, neck, gizzard and liver reserved, left at room temperature for 1 hour
Salt and pepper
4 tablespoons (½ stick) butter, melted
¾ cup orange juice, from 2 oranges, divided (keep the peels for the gravy)
¼ cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons molasses
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons 5-spice powder
1 bunch scallions, cut into large pieces
1 celery rib, cut into large pieces
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
For the gravy
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Reserved turkey neck, gizzard and liver (not the heart)
Salt and pepper
1 shallot, chopped
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1 (2-inch) piece ginger, sliced
1 whole star anise
1 allspice berry
4 cups low-sodium chicken or turkey broth
4 tablespoon (½ stick) butter
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup dry white wine
¼ cup orange juice (reserved from above)
1. Steam the turkey: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Season the inside of the turkey with salt and pepper and tie the legs together. In the bottom of a large pot (16 quart or larger) fitted with a small rack or crumpled foil, bring 8 cups water to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium low and lower the turkey into the pot. Cover and steam for 30 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, make the glaze: In a medium saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons of butter. Whisk in ½ cup of the orange juice (reserve ¼ cup for later), soy sauce, molasses, vinegar and 5-spice powder. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and cook until the glaze is slightly thickened, 6 to 8 minutes.
3. Roast the turkey: In a large roasting pan, toss the scallions, celery and reserved orange peels with the oil and season with salt and pepper. Fit a roasting rack over the vegetables and place the turkey on top. Brush all over with the glaze, lower oven to 350 degrees and roast the turkey, basting every 20 minutes, until a thermometer inserted in the thigh registers 165 degrees, about 2 hours. If the turkey is browning too quickly, tent with a piece of foil. Let the turkey rest about 20 minutes before carving.
4. Make the gravy: While the turkey is cooking, in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Add the turkey neck, gizzard and liver and cook until browned on all sides, 8 to 10 minutes, flipping occasionally. Season with salt and pepper. Lower the heat to medium and add the shallot, garlic, ginger, cloves, star anise and allspice; cook until the vegetables are softened, 2 to 3 minutes.
5. Add the broth and bring to a boil, scraping the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until the stock is flavorful and slightly reduced, about 1 hour. Strain the broth into a large, clean saucepan and set aside on the stovetop to keep warm.
6. In a large pot, melt butter over medium heat. Sprinkle the flour over the butter and whisk to combine. Cook, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until the butter mixture is browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Whisk in the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the gravy is thickened, 15 to 20 minutes.
7. Once the turkey has been removed from the roasting pan, strain the drippings into the pot with the gravy, discarding the solids. Place the roasting pan over 2 burners over medium-high heat. Pour in the wine and orange juice and bring to a boil. Scrape up brown bits on the bottom of the pan, and cook until reduced, about 1 minute. Pour pan juices into the gravy. Season with salt and pepper and serve with the turkey.
1 (6-ounce) package dried apricots, cut into quarters
1 (4 to 5-ounce) package dried cherries
Garlic powder, to taste
1. Leave challah out on counter in slices for 1 or 2 days until dried out.
2. Place water in a medium pot along with gizzard, neck, whole onion, carrots, 2 of the sliced ribs of celery, sliced, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, lower temperature to a low simmer and cook for 2 hours. Strain out solids, reserving the gizzard, and set aside. Cut gizzard into small pieces.
3. Dip dried bread in bowl of milk and drain in colander. Tear bread into pieces and place in a large bowl or pot. Tear cornbread into pieces and add to same bowl or pot. Mix together. Meanwhile, melt butter in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chopped onions, garlic, the remaining 4 ribs of celery and mushrooms. Sauté until the onions are translucent and the celery is soft, 7 to 10 minutes. Add these vegetables and the butter they have been cooking in to the bowl with the bread. Stir in the beaten eggs, dried fruit and the gizzard pieces and turkey broth. Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder.
Note: To make superfine sugar, put granulated sugar in a blender and blend until almost powdery, about 10 to 15 seconds.
1. Combine 2½ cups of the sugar, water, vanilla and orange juice in a saucepan. Heat over medium until sugar has completely dissolved; do not allow to boil. Pour in berries and stir. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
2. Scatter the remaining 1¼ cups sugar on a baking sheet. Strain berries and roll in sugar. Roll gently to cover in sugar coating. Let dry on parchment paper. Put in airtight container and keep in cool spot for up to a week.
Per serving: 383 calories; no fat; no saturated fat; no cholesterol; no protein; 99g carbohydrate; 95g sugar; 2g fiber; 2mg sodium; 4mg calcium
You probably won’t use all of the sugar, which will reduce the number of calories, carbs and sugars.
Roast Turkey With Spicy Rub
Yield: 12 servings
3 tablespoons firmly packed light brown sugar
3 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
3 tablespoons salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 (12 to 14 pound) whole turkey, thawed if frozen
6 tablespoons canola oil, divided
Note: This recipe must be started the night before serving.
1. Combine the sugar, chili powder, cumin, red pepper flakes, salt, black pepper, garlic powder and coriander; blend well (may be prepared 2 to 3 days in advance, stored at room temperature in an airtight container).
2. Remove the neck and giblets from the body and neck cavity of the turkey; refrigerate for another use or discard. Place the turkey, breast side up, on a flat rack in a shallow roasting pan. Brush the turkey with half of the oil; rub the outside and inside with the spice mixture. Cover and refrigerate 12 hours or overnight.
3. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Brush or rub the spiced turkey with the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil. Bake until a meat thermometer reaches 170 degrees when inserted in the thickest part of the thigh, about 3 hours. Let turkey stand 15 minutes before carving.
1 (16 to 18-pound ) turkey, with neck, gizzard, heart and liver
1½ cups carrots, diced ½ inch
2 cups onions, diced ½ inch
For the glaze
½ cup apple cider
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon Tabasco or other hot pepper sauce
½ teaspoon salt
For the sauce
1 cup white wine
2 teaspoons cornstarch or potato starch, dissolved in 2 tablespoons water
Salt and black pepper
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place a small wire rack (or crumpled foil) in the bottom of a large stockpot (or other large pot such as a canning or lobster pot) and add 6 cups of water. Place the turkey (minus the neck, gizzard, heart and liver) in the pot, and bring the water to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to low and steam the turkey for about 30 minutes.
2. For the glaze: In a small bowl, mix together the cider, vinegar, Tabasco and salt. Set aside.
3. When the turkey is cool enough to handle, remove it from the pot (reserving the stock created from the steaming) and place it breast side up in a roasting pan. Put the pan in the heated oven, and cook the turkey for 30 minutes. Sprinkle the carrots and onions around it, and stir to coat them with any fat in the pan. Brush the turkey with the glaze, and continue to cook it in the oven for 1½ hours longer, brushing it occasionally with the glaze. If the top of the bird begins to brown too much, cover it loosely with aluminum foil.
4. While the turkey is roasting, pour the reserved stock into a bowl and let it rest until most of the fat rises to the surface, about 10 minutes. Skim off and discard as much fat as possible. Transfer the stock to a saucepan and add the turkey neck, gizzard and heart. (As a special treat, sauté the liver in a little butter, add salt and pepper and snack on it with a cold glass of white wine.) Bring the stock to a boil and reduce the heat to low. Simmer, partly covered, until reduced to 4 cups, about 1 hour. Remove the neck, gizzard and heart from the stock, pick the meat from the neck and coarsely chop the meat along with the gizzard and heart. (You should have about 2 cups of meat.) Return the chopped mixture to the stock.
5. Remove the turkey from the oven when the breast and the leg register an internal temperature of about 165 degrees. Keep the turkey warm, uncovered, in a 165-degree oven, or tent with foil.
6. For the sauce: Add the stock and giblets to the vegetables in the roasting pan and mix well with a wooden spoon, scraping the bottom. Transfer the contents to a saucepan and let rest for 5 minutes. Skim off as much fat from the surface as possible. Place the pan over medium-low heat, add the wine and cornstarch mixture and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally until it thickens. Simmer for 1 minute and season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a warm sauceboat and serve.
Recipe adapted from Jacques Pepin, via the New York Times
Extra-Creamy Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Yield: 4 servings
2 large russet potatoes
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 cups heavy cream or whipping cream
2 tablespoons butter
Chopped chives for garnish
1. Peel potatoes if desired and cut into small cubes. Add potatoes, garlic and cream to a large pot over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, until potatoes can be easily pierced with a fork.
2. Strain, reserving the cream. Return potatoes to the pot or a large bowl and add 1 cup of the potato-flavored cream (the rest will make an excellent addition to many soups). With a masher or fork, mash the potatoes well. Add butter and stir until melted. Salt liberally, and taste for seasoning. Serve warm, with chopped chives sprinkled on top.
1 vanilla bean or 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract or paste
5 egg yolks
½ cup granulated sugar, plus more for caramelizing
1¼ teaspoons grated nutmeg
2 tablespoons dark rum, such as Myers, optional
1 tablespoon brandy, optional
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Bring a pot of water to boil.
2. Bring 1¾ cups of the cream and pinch of salt in a saucepan to a low boil and immediately reduce heat to low. Steep for 15 minutes with vanilla bean, if using. Meanwhile, whisk together egg yolks, sugar and nutmeg in a separate bowl. If you are using vanilla extract or paste, add it here. Add alcohol if using.
3. Add the remaining ¼ cup cream to the hot cream, to lower its temperature. Add 1 tablespoon of the hot cream mixture to the egg mixture while vigorously whisking. Add another tablespoon while whisking, then trickle in the rest while still whisking. Pour into ramekins and set them in a baking pan.
4. Place the pan in the oven and fill it to halfway up the sides of the ramekins with the boiling water. Bake for about 40 minutes or until a thermometer reads 170 to 175 degrees. Cool for 3 hours or overnight.
5. Let rest for 20 minutes outside the refrigerator. Sprinkle each ramekin with a teaspoon of sugar and heat the top with a kitchen blowtorch until lightly browned.
10 tablespoons (1¼ sticks) butter or margarine, divided
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1 cup whipping cream
1 cup sour cream
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ cup fresh bread crumbs
¼ cup minced fresh parsley
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 2-quart soufflé dish or ovenproof casserole with cooking spray, or grease well with butter. Set aside.
2. Cook red and sweet potatoes separately in boiling water for 30 minutes, until fork tender. Drain and cool slightly. Peel. Mash each batch in a separate bowl.
3. Melt ½ stick (4 tablespoons) butter or margarine in a small skillet. Add green onions and cook, stirring frequently, until onions are tender. Stir half of the onions into each bowl of potatoes.
4. Whip cream to soft peaks. Whisk sour cream into the whipped cream. Gently fold half of the cream mixture into each bowl of potatoes. Season each mixture with half of the salt, pepper and nutmeg.
5. Put half of the sweet-potato mixture into the bottom of the soufflé dish or casserole. Add half the red-potato mixture on top of that. Repeat layering. Swirl potatoes with a metal spatula to give a marbled effect.
6. Melt the remaining 6 tablespoons (¾ stick) butter. Stir in the bread crumbs and parsley. Sprinkle this topping evenly over the potatoes. Bake 45 to 60 minutes, until topping is golden and potatoes are hot throughout.
7. Can be frozen without the topping and before baking. Thaw before heating, sprinkle with topping and bake as directed.
Note: This recipe requires a brining period of 8 to 16 hours before cooking.
1. Combine the vegetable stock, salt, brown sugar, peppercorns, allspice berries and candied ginger in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally to dissolve solids and bring to a boil. Then remove the brine from the heat, cool to room temperature and refrigerate.
2. Early on the day or the night before you’d like to eat, combine the brine, water and ice in a 5-gallon bucket. Place the thawed turkey (with innards removed) breast side down in brine. If necessary, weigh down the bird to ensure it is fully immersed, cover, and refrigerate or set in cool area for 8 to 16 hours, turning the bird once half way through brining.
3. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Remove the bird from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Discard the brine.
4. Place the bird on roasting rack inside a half sheet pan (a cookie sheet surrounded by a lip) and pat dry with paper towels.
5. Combine the apple, onion, cinnamon stick and 1 cup of water in a microwave-safe dish and microwave on high for 5 minutes. Remove these aromatics from the water and add to the turkey’s cavity, along with the rosemary and sage. Tuck the wings underneath the bird and coat the skin liberally with canola oil.
6. Roast the turkey on lowest level of the oven for 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Cook until a thermometer inserted into the deepest part of the thigh (without touching the bone) reaches 165 degrees. A 14- to 16-pound bird should require a total of 2 to 2½ hours of roasting. Let the turkey rest, loosely covered with foil or a large mixing bowl for 15 minutes before carving.
Per serving (based on 12): 567 calories; 19g fat; 5g saturated fat; 343mg cholesterol; 92g protein; 1g carbohydrate; 1g sugar; no fiber; 1,037g sodium; 74mg calcium.
Recipe adapted from Alton Brown, via Food Network
Apple and Apricot Dressing With Pecans
Yields: 14 cups (approximately)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cups celery with leaves, chopped
2 tart apples, peeled, cored and chopped
1 cup dried, chopped apricots
1 cup pecans, chopped
8 cups dried bread crumbs or cubes
½ to 1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh sage, chopped, or 2 teaspoons dried
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped or 1 teaspoon dried
1 tablespoon fresh marjoram, chopped or 1 teaspoon dried
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 egg, beaten
1½ cups chicken or turkey stock, or more if necessary
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2. Heat oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onions and celery and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
3. Add the chopped apples, pecans, apricots, bread crumbs or cubes, salt, pepper and herbs. Toss to mix. Drizzle the melted butter over all the ingredients, then pour in the beaten egg. Stir to mix. Add enough chicken or turkey stock or broth to moisten the dressing.
4. Place stuffing inside turkey cavity. Roast as directed. Place the remaining dressing in an ovenproof casserole and set aside. Add a few tablespoons of the pan juices from the poultry to the extra dressing and bake for the last 45 minutes of cooking time at 325 degrees.
Recipe submitted by Susan Luxem, created by Karen Rogers Riedel.
Cheryl's Nuttier-Than-A-Fruitcake Stuffing
Yield: 24 servings
10 cups whole wheat bread
10 cups whole-grain white bread
2 (14½-ounce) cans chicken broth
2 (12-ounce) cans evaporated milk
1½ cups golden raisins
1 cup sweetened dried cranberries
Nonstick cooking spray
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
3 cups chopped celery
3 cups chopped yellow onion
2 red delicious apples, chopped
1 cup chopped walnuts
2½ tablespoons dried sage
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
3 eggs, beaten
1. On the day before, tear bread into bite-sized pieces and spread onto cooking sheets. Do not cover. Let stand a full 24 hours or place pans in a 175 degree oven for 3 hours.
2. Early on the day you make the stuffing, place the dried bread in a large, deep pan. Pour the chicken broth and the evaporated milk over the bread, mixing until the bread is saturated. Allow to stand an hour or more until the bread has absorbed the liquid. Meanwhile, soak raisins and cranberries in warm water.
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 2 (13-by-9-inch) baking pans with nonstick spray and set aside.
4. Melt butter in a large saucepan. Add the celery, onion and apples and sauté until the onion becomes translucent, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add to saturated bread. Add the chopped walnuts, sage, salt and pepper. Drain the raisins and the cranberries, then add to the stuffing mixture. Stir until evenly mixed. Stir in eggs and mix thoroughly.
5. Divide stuffing between the prepared pans. Bake until firm and browned, about 1 hour.
1. Prepare a boiling water bath at least 1 or 2 inches higher than the height of the jars you will be using. Place lids in a small sauce saucepan, cover with water and bring to a bare simmer. Rinse the cranberries in cold water.
2. In a very large pot over high heat, combine the cranberries, sugar, cider, lemon zest and juice and orange zest and juice. Bring to a boil, skimming off the foam on top. Cook 10 to 15 minutes, until the cranberries pop.
3. Add the ginger, cinnamon and cloves, and stir to combine. Continue to cook, stirring regularly, until the jam looks quite thick. If it appears to be thickening too much before all the cranberries have popped, add a splash of water to loosen.
4. Carefully ladle jam into jars while it is still hot, leaving about ¼ inch space below the top. Wipe off the inside rims, apply the lids and rings (don’t tighten the rings too tight), and place in the boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Remove the jars from the water and allow to cool. Once they are cool, press each lid in the center; if it pops back up, refrigerate and eat within a few days.
Per 2-tablespoon serving: 42 calories; no fat; no saturated fat; no cholesterol; no protein; 11g carbohydrate; 9g sugar; 1g fiber; 1mg sodium; 2mg calcium.
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon ( 1/3 tablespoon) butter
1/8 teaspoon kosher or flake salt
1. Fill a large bowl halfway with ice and add water. Heat a large pot of salted water to boiling and add haricots verts or green beans. Blanche 2 minutes for haricots verts or 3 minutes for green beans, strain, and immediately plunge into the ice water. When completely cool, dry beans on towels.
2. Melt 1 teaspoon butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add almonds and cook, tossing frequently, until almonds turn golden brown and fragrant. Immediately transfer to a bowl. Take care not to burn the nuts.
3. Place a medium or large skillet over medium-high heat and add wine. Boil until nearly evaporated. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and melt. Add beans and salt, and sauté until beans are completely cooked, about 2 to 3 minutes. Serve immediately, topped with toasted almonds.
Note: This recipe requires 2 days’ of dry brining time before cooking.
1. Two days before serving, rinse the turkey and pat dry. Rub all over with the salt, slipping salt under the skin where possible and rubbing some into the cavities; use about 1 tablespoon per every 4 pounds of bird. Put the bird in a large plastic bag and refrigerate. On the second night, turn the turkey over.
2. One hour before cooking, remove the turkey from the bag and pat dry. Put in a roasting pan and allow to warm up a bit.
3. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Sprinkle half the pepper into the main cavity of the turkey and add the thyme, parsley, half the onions and half the apples. Tie the legs together with kitchen twine. Put the remaining apples and onions in the neck opening and tuck the neck skin under the bird.
4. Rub the butter under the breast skin and over the thigh meat. Sprinkle the bird with the remaining pepper. Roast for 30 minutes.
5. Remove the turkey from the oven and reduce the heat to 350 degrees. Cover the breast of the bird and the wing tips with foil. Add 1½ cups of the water (or white wine) to the roasting pan and roast the bird for another 2 hours or so, depending on size; figure on 10 minutes a pound for an unstuffed bird. Remove the foil from the breast in the last half hour so it browns.
6. When the turkey has roasted for 2 hours, begin to test for doneness by inserting an instant-read thermometer (digital is best) into two different places in the thigh, making sure not to touch bone; it should be about 165 degrees.
7. When it is done, tip the turkey so the interior juices run into the pan. Remove the turkey to a rimmed baking sheet or a serving platter, cover with foil and then a damp kitchen towel, and allow to rest for at least 30 minutes.
8. Meanwhile, pour the fat and drippings from the pan into a measuring cup. Add the ½ cup white wine (or broth) to the pan, stirring to deglaze it, and pour that into the same measuring cup. The fat and drippings can then be used to make gravy.
Recipe adapted from Kim Severson, via the New York Times
Yield: 8 to 10 servings
2 pounds sweet potatoes
1 cup packed brown sugar, divided
1 stick (½ cup) melted butter
¼ cup brandy
3 tablespoons orange juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teapoon salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter
¼ cup chopped pecans
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil. Poke holes all over sweet potatoes with the tines of a fork and place them on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until tender all the way through, 45 to 60 minutes. Remove sweet potatoes and lower oven temperature to 350 degrees.
2. When cool enough to handle, peel sweet potatoes and place in a large bowl. Beat until well mashed. Add ½ cup of the brown sugar, melted butter, brandy, orange juice, vanilla and salt. Beat until smooth. Add eggs and beat until smooth.
3. Transfer to 2-quart baking dish (no smaller). In a medium bowl, mix together flour, the remaining ½ cup brown sugar and cinnamon. Cut in 2 tablespoons butter with a pastry cutter or 2 knives. Sprinkle pecans on top. Bake for about 40 minutes. This dish can be made 2 days early and stored in the refrigerator.
2. Stir half-and-half, pumpkin, dark brown sugar, eggs, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice and 1½ teaspoons of the vanilla in large bowl to blend. Fold in bread pieces. Stir in golden raisins. Transfer mixture to 11-by-7-inch glass baking dish. Let stand 30 minutes. Bake pumpkin bread in preheated oven until knife inserted into center comes out clean, 1 hour. Cool about 45 minutes.
3. While the bread pudding is baking and cooling, make the butterscotch sauce: Combine light brown sugar, corn syrup and butter in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil for 1 minute; remove from heat. Immediately stir in cream and the remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla. Cool; store in the refrigerator.
4. Cut the bread pudding into squares. Serve warm, topped with powdered sugar, butterscotch sauce and whipped topping. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.
Recipe by Lisa Rapp, adapted from Wildfire restaurant in Oak Brook, Ill., as printed in Bon Appétit
Holiday Cranberry-Orange Cream Cake
Yield: 12 to 15 servings
6 cups granulated sugar plus more for rolling cranberries, divided
2½ cups cranberries, divided
Sparkling sugar, for rolling cranberries
11 large egg whites, room temperature, divided
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature, divided
1½ pounds (6 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2¾ cups sifted cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
Zest of a whole orange
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped into half-and-half
2 cups half-and-half, divided
¼ cup cornstarch
4 egg yolks
2 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter cut into small cubes
2 tablespoons plus 4 teaspoons Grand Marnier, divided
1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1/3 cup cool water
2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed orange juice
2 cups sliced almonds
1. For the sugared cranberries, begin at least 1 day ahead: Make a simple syrup by bringing 1 cup water and 1 cup granulated sugar just to a simmer in a medium saucepan, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Let the syrup cool for a few minutes; then pour over 1 cup of the cranberries in a heat-proof bowl (if the syrup is too hot, the cranberries will burst). Cover and refrigerate overnight.
2. The next day, drain the cranberries well and toss them with sparkling sugar or other medium-grain sugar until they are well-coated. Do this in small batches so the sugar doesn’t get too wet. Place the coated cranberries on a baking sheet to dry at room temperature for a few hours. Toss cranberries a second time with granulated sugar; this will fill in any bare or sticky spots on the cranberries. Let dry another hour.
3. For the cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 2-inch dot of cooking spray in center of 3 (8-inch) cake pans and line bottoms with parchment paper (cut circles to fit); spray a 2-inch dot of cooking spray in center of parchment. Set aside.
4. In small bowl, mix 5 egg whites and ¼ cup of the buttermilk. Set aside. In a mixing bowl, beat ½ pound (2 sticks) of the butter and 1¾ cups of the granulated sugar until creamy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Beat in 2 tablespoons of the vanilla extract. Add in cake flour, baking powder and kosher salt, and mix until combined. Slowly add in egg white mixture. Beat in remaining ¾ cup buttermilk for 1 to 2 minutes until fluffy. Pour evenly into prepared cake pans. Bake about 25 to 28 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean with a few clinging crumbs. Remove and cool in cake pans 5 minutes. Invert onto a wire rack and cool completely before frosting. Cake can be made 1 to 2 days before serving, wrapped at room temperature in plastic wrap.
5. For the pastry cream: In a small saucepan, combine scraped orange zest, vanilla bean, 1½ cups of the half-and-half and ½ cup of the granulated sugar. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, whisking to dissolve the sugar. In a medium mixing bowl, combine a pinch of salt, the ¼ cup cornstarch, the egg yolks and the remaining ½ cup of half-and-half, and whisk well.
6. Remove the half-and-half mixture from the heat and add some of the hot liquid to the egg yolk mixture while constantly whisking. Add the egg mixture to the pan with the remaining half-and-half and bring to a brisk simmer over medium heat, stirring constantly. Once the mixture thickens, immediately remove from heat and whisk in the cold butter. Stir in 2 teaspoons of the Grand Marnier. Press the mixture through a sieve into a clean bowl. Discard any solids. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the pastry cream and transfer to the refrigerator to keep cold until ready to use. This pastry cream can be made 1 to 2 days before serving.
7. For the berry filling: Add 1½ cups of the cranberries, ¾ cup of the granulated sugar and ¼ cup water to a saucepan and heat until the berries are soft and begin to pop, about 8 minutes. Transfer to food processor and puree until smooth. Combine the 1/3 cup water and 1 tablespoon cornstarch in a cup. Return the berry puree to the pan, add the cornstarch mixture and cook over medium heat, stirring consistently until mixture thickens and comes to a boil, about 5 minutes. Boil for 1 minute, then remove from heat. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. This berry filling can be made 1 to 2 days before serving.
8. For the simple syrup: Bring ½ cup water and ½ cup granulated sugar to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in 2 tablespoons of the Grand Marnier. Set aside to cool. This syrup can be made 1 to 2 days before serving.
9. For the frosting: In bowl of stand mixer, combine remaining 6 egg whites, remaining 1½ cups granulated sugar and a pinch of salt. Place over a pan of simmering water and whisk continuously until temperature reaches 160 degrees on a candy thermometer and the sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes. (If you don’t have a thermometer, the mixture should feel smooth when rubbed between your fingers). Attach bowl to mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Starting on low speed and gradually increasing to medium-high, whisk until stiff peaks form and mixture is fluffy and glossy, about 10 minutes. The bowl should no longer feel warm to the touch. Switch to paddle attachment, and with mixer on medium speed, add remaining 1 pound (4 sticks) butter a few tablespoons at a time, mixing well after each addition. Continue mixing until icing is smooth and silky, about 10 to 15 minutes.
10. Add remaining 2 teaspoons vanilla, remaining 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier and orange juice, and mix until well-combined. If the icing looks curdled, continue mixing and it will return to a silky texture. If it is too runny, simply refrigerate it for 15 to 20 minutes and then mix it again until it comes together into smooth mixture.
11. To assemble cake: Heat oven to 350 degrees. Add sliced almonds to a baking sheet and toast them until light golden brown, about 7 to 8 minutes, stirring periodically. Remove from oven and cool completely. Place 1 layer on the cake board or serving plate and brush about ¼ cup simple syrup over top. Pipe a ring of frosting around edge and fill center with ¾ cup or less of pastry cream, smoothing out with an offset spatula. Top with ¼ cup berry filling, smoothing carefully over the pastry cream and trying not to mix them. Place second cake layer on top and repeat steps. Top with third layer and brush with syrup. Cover cake with a thin coat of frosting. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
12. Cover cake completely with frosting, making sides smooth. Press the cooled, toasted almonds into the sides, working from top to bottom. Make swirls and dips in icing on top of cake and then decorate with almond-cranberry flowers: Place a sugared cranberry 1 inch in from the edge of the cake all around perimeter. Poke pointed end of sliced almonds around the berry on an angle to look like a daisy petal. Add some berry-nut flowers to center of cake, as desired.
13. Keep cake refrigerated. Remove from refrigerator an hour before you plan to serve to allow frosting to soften.
Note: This recipe can also be made with skinless turkey breast.
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a large sauté pan, heat 1 to 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook until the onions turn translucent, about 3 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the orange zest, lemon zest, rosemary, tarragon, marjoram, sage and parsley, and cook 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
3. Lay the turkey breast out on a plastic-wrap-covered cutting board and butterfly the flesh, leaving the skin as intact as possible, cutting so that it has a thickness of about ½ inch. Pound out the meat with a mallet, if needed, to flatten.
4. Evenly distribute the herb mixture on the inside of the turkey breast. Roll up the turkey, folding in the edges as you go (like a pinwheel), enclosing the outside surface of the rolled turkey with the skin as thoroughly as possible, if using turkey with skin.
5. Tie up the rolled turkey with a long piece of kitchen twine and use bamboo skewers to secure any areas that can’t be easily tied. Sprinkle the rolled turkey with salt and pepper.
6. In a large sauté pan with an oven-safe handle, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat. Sear the turkey on all sides and then place in the oven. Roast the turkey until fork-tender, with an internal temperature between 170 and 175 degrees as measured with a meat thermometer, about 55 minutes to 1 hour.
7. Remove the turkey from the oven and let rest 10 to 15 minutes before slicing.