Hello friends! Please ‘scuse my lack of post for the past…how long has it been? Twelve days? Unacceptable. The dog ate my recipes.
Actually, my real excuse is that I am in the process of moving. Moving is already hell on earth, and just to take it to the next level, we [long story short(er)] also could not find a place we liked by the time our lease was up, and have been staying at a Hotel Toshi sublet(s) in Williamsburg for the past week. So, we’ve been moving around a lot and our stuff is split between two different locations and a million different boxes and bags right now, but I am thrilled to say that we (fingers crossed) will be moving into a great place we found in a condo-style building next week.
Oh yeah, and then there was Thanksgiving. The first one I ever cooked on my own since I was in NYC instead of with family this year due to see above. Rather than having the time to blog about my Thanksgiving recipes, I found myself quickly understanding what my mother talks about when she claims to be “cooking up a storm” or “slaving over a hot stove”.
I cooked for 36 hours straight, with an 8 hour sleep break. The Final Menu:
Rosemary + Sage Turkey with Gravy
Chestnut, Apple + Cranberry Stuffing with Fennel
Slow-Cooked Cranberry Chutney with Mandarin Oranges
Harvest Hash with Butternut Squash + Parsnips
Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Bacon + Shallots
Buttermilk + Parmesan Mashed Potatoes
Mini Mincemeat Pies
Molasses Pumpkin Pie
As you can see, I went with a pretty traditional menu this year, unlike the love of my life Samantha of Krauted Haus, whose amazing Thanksgiving menu you should check out here. I also wanted to keep it as close to what I usually eat on Thanksgiving as possible (my mom’s menu was relatively similar to mine). Everything came out really good, with only a few changes I would make next time, which I will share as I share my recipes. Maybe stuffing is not a dish for non-Thanksgiving occasions, but hopefully you can use some of these other recipes over the holidays! And, there’s always next year…
And now: Holiday recipe #1. Mincemeat Pies. This is a love it or hate it kind of thing. I love it. My grandparents are (were?) British, and although I never got used to Christmas Pudding (I only ever ate it as a kid for the dimes, which I always thought were for heat retention when you light it, but I guess its because it is believed to bring wealth in the coming year), I did develop a taste for mincemeat, which is made of similar ingredients but minus the booze and the lighting it on fire, which is really what gives Christmas pudding it’s distinct taste. Plus mincemeat is super sweet, which helps.
Originally, mincemeat was composed of 13 ingredients, including minced meat, suet, fruits and spices. The standard version you’d find in North America today contains no meat. Interestingly enough, mincemeat has a bit of controversial history due to its strong connection with Catholicism in England. Puritans were opposed to eating it, and it was banned during the English Civil War along with various other Catholic traditions. In fact, the reason it contained 13 ingredients initially was to represent Jesus and his 12 apostles.
Luckily its 2010.
Mini Mincemeat Pies
From The Joy of Baking
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1/8 cup to 1/4 cup ice water
1 cup mincemeat
1 egg mixed with one teaspoon water for egg wash
In a food processor, place the flour, salt and sugar and process until combined. Add the butter and process until mixture resembles coarse meal, about 15 seconds. Pour 1/8 cup ice water in a slow, steady stream into mixture until the dough just sticks together when pinched. If necessary, add more ice water. Do not process more than 30 seconds.
Turn the dough onto your work surface and gather it into a ball. Cut the ball in half and flatten each half into a disk. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour to chill the butter and relax the gluten in the flour.
Preheat the oven to 400°. Have redy 24 mini muffin tins. After the dough has chilled, place one of the disks of pastry on a lightly flour surface. Roll out the pastry dough until about 1/8 inch thick and cut into 24 rounds that are slightly bigger than the muffin tins. To prevent the pastry from sticking to the counter, keep lifting up and turning the pastry a quarter turn as you roll, and always roll from the center of the dough outwards.Gently place the rounds into the muffin tins and form them to the tin. Place a teaspoon of mincemeat into each cup and set aside.
Next, roll out the second piece of pastry to 1/8 thick. If you have cookie cutters, you can cut them into a shape of your choice such as stars or leafs, but I didn’t have any, so I just cut into strips and latticed it.
Finally, brush the pastries with a bit of egg wash and sprinkle them with granulated sugar. Bake about 10-15 minutes or until the pastry turns amber brown. Remove and cool on wire rack. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.