So, after giving it much thought and trying to figure out what will work the best timing-wise, I think I have a menu. Some things from last year stayed around — the awesome Martha Stewart Cranberry Relish, some things left — the sadly so-so Martha Stewart Green Bean Casserole.
* Raw Veggies and Orange-Tahini Dip
* A few cheeses (sage-cheddar and port salut, perhaps) with a lovely cracker selection
The Main Event
* Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Shallots (just throw them in the roasting pan for the last 1/2 of turkey cooking, then finish them on a baking sheet, at a higher temp (400) while the turkey rests)
* Butterflake Rolls
Dessert this year, will be a Pumpkin-Orange-Marscapone Pie, a recipe I found in Sunset Magazine. It sounded really good and so I did a test half recipe the other day in a few 1-cup ramekins. Yeah. It’s very good. The original recipe called for crushed gingersnap cookies but I used crushed amaretto cookies.
(from Sunset Magazine)
2 cups finely crushed gingersnap crumbs (about 32 gingersnaps) — or 2 cups crushed amaretto cookies
6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
8 ounces mascarpone cheese
2/3 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar
1 can pumpkin purée (15 oz.)
2 tsp orange-flavored liqueur, such as Grand Marnier
1 1/2 tsp freshly grated orange zest
1 tsp freshly grated lemon zest
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup crème fraîche (you could also just use all whipping cream)
Optional: 1/4 cup slivered almonds for the top
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a 10-in. pie pan, stir together cookie crumbs with melted butter and press into a crust. Bake until set, about 6 minutes. Set aside.
Increase heat to 350 degrees. Beat cream cheese, mascarpone, and 2/3 cup sugar in a large bowl until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, beating for 30 seconds after each egg. Add pumpkin, 1 tsp. orange liqueur, citrus zests, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt. Mix until smooth.
Pour filling into crust and (if using) scatter almonds on top of the pie, along the inside rim. I liked the almonds, but honestly, they got a little soggy after refrigeration. I may skip them when I bake the Thanksgiving pie and just scatter some toasted almonds on top before serving. In fact, that’s probably what I’ll do.
Bake until edges are firm but center still jiggles a bit, 45 to 50 minutes (bake any extra filling in ramekins — check the ramekins after 35 minutes, mine took about 40). Cool to room temperature, then chill at least 6 hours and up to overnight.
When ready to serve, beat cream, crème fraîche, and remaining 2 tbsp. sugar and 1 tsp. orange liqueur in a large bowl until soft peaks form. Serve pie with orange whipped cream.
Helpful Thanksgiving links:
Food Network’s Thanksgiving Planning Countdown and Turkey Calculator
Some good tips for what to do a week ahead to 15 minutes ahead of the meal and a cooking time calculator.
Cook’s Illustrated Turkey Help
Hints, recipes, tricks and what not to do — that manner of thing. In the same vein, The Cook’s Illustrated Complete Book of Chicken is a great resource. Yes, it says chicken but it actually covers all poultry — turkey, hen, duck, and more.
The Splendid Table is doing a Web streaming Thanksgiving show on 11/23, titled Turkey Confidential.
Butterball Holiday Guide
More hints, tricks, recipes, etc…