Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving Recipe Round-up

Looking for some last minute ideas for your Thanksgiving meal? Here's a round-up of a few of my Fall favorites from the past. Happy Thanksgiving!!!!



Monday, November 22, 2010

Pumpkin Butterscotch Fudge

Is that pumpkin fudge as good as it looks?  No. It's not. It's way way way better!! You may think you have will power of steel, but if you love pumpkin and cinnamon, you will find this fudge irresistible. I can't walk by the pan without cutting off a small piece. 
I never knew that pumpkin fudge even exited until a couple of years ago when it began popping up on baking blogs. I thought it sounded good, but fudge has always been one of those things that I could take or leave. Most of the recipes I've seen use white chocolate chips. I don't really like white chocolate so I've just always put off making pumpkin fudge. Pumpkin and butterscotch, however are the perfect combo. I made this pumpkin butterscotch pie a couple of years ago and fell in love with the flavors together. With Thanksgiving just around the corner, now is the perfect time to make this fudge!

Pumpkin Butterscotch Fudge
makes 3 1/4 pounds
3 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
12-ounces (2 cups) butterscotch-flavored pieces
7-ounce jar marshmallow creme
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1 teaspoon vanilla

Butter a 13x9x2" baking pan.
In a heavy 2-quart saucepan, combine sugar, butter, evaporated milk, pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg.
Bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. (use care while stirring, the mixture is extremely hot and may sputter and bubble.) Reduce heat. Boil over medium heat till mixture reaches the soft-ball stage, 234 on a candy thermometer, stirring constantly (about 15 minutes).Remove from heat and stir in butterscotch pieces till melted. Add marshmallow creme, nuts and vanilla. Mix until combined.
Pour mixture into prepared pan, spreading evenly. Cool at room temperature. Cut into squares. Wrap tightly and store in refrigerator. 

Even if you've never made fudge before, this recipe is pretty simple. However, I recommend using a candy thermometer to make your fudge. A candy thermometer will help to ensure that you bring the fudge up to the right temp. It's important to get the fudge to the right temperature so you don't end up with a grainy texture.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Cranberry Chutney...

...or is it relish?

Ever wonder what the difference between a relish and a chutney is? Me either until I started this post. As I got started to write this post I remembered that last year for Thanksgiving I made this cranberry rum relish. Which made me wonder why that would be considered a relish and not a chutney.  Just in case there are those out there like me that want an answer to this burning question, I thought I'd try to find out the difference. So the answer is...well it gets a little tricky because chutney and relish are often used interchangeably as condiment terms. The term chutney comes from the East Indian word chatni, meaning "strongly spiced," and is described as a condiment which usually consists of a mix of chopped fruits, vinegar, spices and sugar cooked into a chunky spread. In general, relishes are cooked less, use less sugar, if any, and are more crunchy to the bite. However, chutneys can be savory, and relishes can be sweet.
Still confused? Me too! I'm calling this a chutney because it has fruit mixed with vinegar, spices and sugar. Chutney or relish, it's a great accompaniment to your Thanksgiving meal!

Cranberry Chutney (printable recipe)

2 tsp vegetable oil
1 tsp unsalted butter
1 medium onion, diced
1 medium apple, diced
2 tsp jalapeno, finely diced
4 cups cranberries, rinsed and picked over

1-1/4 cups sugar
Zest from 1 orange
1/2 cup fresh orange juice 
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1 teaspoon crystallized ginger, finely chopped
1/2 tsp salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Heat a 3-quart nonreactive saucepan over medium heat. Add the butter and the oil and, when the foam subsides, add the onion. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes or until the onion is lightly browned.
Add all of the remaining ingredients and cook covered on medium for 8-10 minutes. Uncover the pan, stir, and lower heat to medium-low. Simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, for another 10 minutes, or until the apple is cooked through, all of the berries have popped and the mixture is a uniform color.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Quince and Apple Pie

 "A quince for you, a quince for me, quinces we shall eat" Quinces are one the oldest known fruits. They proceed the apple and are believed by many to be the Forbidden Fruit that Eve offered Adam in the Garden of Eden. In Greece, it's known as the fruit of love and plays a part in most wedding celebrations. Quince trees have been grown in Asia and through out the Mediterranean for over 4000 years. Although quinces have been around for centuries, they are a relatively new discovery for me. They have begun to pop up recently in our local markets so I thought I'd give baking with them a try. Who doesn't want to try the "fruit of love"? I mean if it was tempting enough for Adam...

The quince is a relative of both the apple and the pear, but most varieties  cannot be eaten raw. In the raw form, quinces are usually very hard, even when fully ripe, and very astringent. When cooked however, they turn a beautiful rosy color and a have a lovely floral-like flavor. Because quinces naturally contain a high amount of pectin they are often used in jams, jellies, chutneys and marmalades. They are also wonderful to use in baking and can be substituted for apples or pears in most recipes.

I decided I'd poach my quinces and mix them with apples in a pie. I don't think that it's necessary (or possible!) to improve on a classic apple pie, but the quince mixed with the apples was a nice change from the traditional apple pie.  Because they are in season in late Autumn, quinces are a great choice for your Thanksgiving dinner. If you are looking for a little variety this Thanksgiving, consider a quince and apple pie.
 For the pie crust on this pie, I used part white whole wheat flour and part regular all-purpose flour. I also made a crust with some vegetable shortening as well as butter. Because I used the white whole wheat flour, the vegetable shortening helped make the crust a bit more tender, flaky. I also thought the white whole wheat flour gave the crust a slightly nutty taste that was great with the quince.

Quince and Apple Pie 

Pie Crust
Makes two 9 inch single crust or one 9 inch double crust pie.

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour -( I used 1 cup of white wheat flour and 1 1/2 all-purpose flour)
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup(2 sticks) cold butter, cut in small pieces
1/4 cup shortening- chilled
6 to 8 tablespoons ice cold water

Put the flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times to combine. Scatter the pieces of butter and shortening over the dry ingredients and pulse until it is coarsely cut in-you should have pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and some the size of peas. Drizzle the water over the mixture. Using on/off pulses, pulse just until the dough holds together when pinched. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. divide into two equal pieces. Form each piece into a disk, wrap with plastic wrap and chill for at least one hour.

Prepare the quince:
3 quinces peeled and seeded
2 cups water
1cup sugar
1/2 vanilla bean
Quarter the peeled, seeded quinces, and cut into quarter-inch slices. In a heavy bottom pot, combine water and sugar. Split vanilla bean and scrape seeds. Place the vanilla bean and the seeds along with the quince slices in the pot. Poach the quince 15 minutes. Cool, drain and discard the vanilla bean.
Look at the beautiful color the quinces turn when poached!

Assembling the pie:
4 tart/sweet apples (Honeycrisp, Granny Smith, etc..) peeled and sliced in 1/4 inch slices
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp. lemon juice
2 Tbs butter, cut into small pieces
Milk, to brush on the crust. 
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Combine the sugar, flour and nutmeg. Pour the sugar mixture over the apples and quince stir to coat evenly.Add lemon juice, toss to coat.
Roll out one disk of the pastry dough on a floured board into a 14-inch circle. Fold the dough into quarters, center it on the pie plate, unfold and gently pat the dough into the bottom and sides of the plate.
Spoon apple/quince mixture into the pastry-lined pie plate. Dot with butter.
Roll out the second disk into a 14-inch circle. Fold the dough into quarters, center on top of the pie and unfold. Trim, seal and flute the edges.Make slits in the center to vent the pie. Brush the surface of the crust with milk.
Bake until the crust is golden brown and juices bubble, about 45 to 55 minutes.

I made little individual pies. So cute!
    They dined on mince and slices of quince,
    Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
    And hand in hand on the edge of the sand
    They danced by the light of the moon.
~ "The Owl and the Pussycat," by Edward Lear