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Thanksgiving Day DIY: Try A New Dessert Recipe, Impress Family & Friends
Monday, November 12, 2012
Not Quite Gourmet
Thanksgiving! What a wonderful time to gather around a beautifully set dining room table with loved ones. I like to offer a variety of desserts to choose after the big meal-everything from the dreamy and decadent, to the simple and traditional. I like to use Thanksgiving Day as the day to try out new recipes and add a new dessert or two. For the sake of tradition be sure to include a pumpkin pie!
Pomegranate poached pears lead to the creation of this year's new Thanksgiving dessert!
Poached Pomegranate Pears with Cherry, Ginger, Blue Cheese Oat Crumble & Spiced Whipped Cream
Note: You can make this ahead of time! Poach the pears and store them, in the liquid, until ready to use - up to three days ahead - the color will only deepen! The crumble can be made one day ahead, omitting the blue cheese until broiling. Whipped cream can be made one day ahead. Appropriate garnishes: orange zest, pomegranate molasses, small slivers of candied ginger.
Poached Pomegranate Pears:
3 firm Bosc pears, peeled whole with the stem intact
3 Tablespoons of fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon of orange zest
1 small beet
2 cinnamon sticks
2 whole star anise pods
2 teaspoons of sugar
16 ounces of pomegranate juice
In a small pan, on medium low heat, combine the pomegranate juice, a few beet slices (for natural coloring), 2 cinnamon sticks, 2 star anise pods, and sugar until simmers gently. Carefully lower your peeled whole pears into the juice mixture. Allow this to cook for about 20 minutes. This cooking time may vary on how firm the pears are - some may need more time to cook and soften. As this cooks you should turn the pears with a spoon every 10 minutes for even coloring. Or, do as I did, and use a turkey baster to baste the pears! You will know the pears are cooked if you insert a small paring knife into the pear. It should easily pierce the pear with no resistance. Remove the pears to cool completely in a medium sized bowl with the juice mixture - discarding the whole spices.
Ginger Cherry Oat Topping
¼ cup quick oats
2 Tablespoons of flour
2 Tablespoons of butter, cubed
2 Tablespoon of chopped pecans
1 Tablespoon of candied ginger
1 Tablespoon of dried unsweetened cherries
1 teaspoon of brown sugar
¼ teaspoon of cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon crumbled blue cheese, per serving
In a small bowl combine the oats, flour, butter cubes, pecans, ginger, cherries, brown sugar and spices. Crumble this with a fork, your hands or a pastry blender until the mixture resembles small peas.
Cinnamon Whipped Cream
¼ Cup whipping cream
1 teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon of cinnamon and vanilla extract
In a small bowl combine cold whipping cream, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla and whisk together until it forms soft peaks. I recommend using an immersion blender with a whisk for this. Alternately, you can use a handheld mixer, or a whisk and your own two hands.
When ready to serve:
Turn on the broiler to high. In a small oven-proof dish chop up the pears into bite sizes pieces, layer on the ginger cherry topping and add a sprinkle of blue cheese (I used 1 teaspoon for my dish; use more according to taste preference). Broil it for a few minutes, until the cheese starts to melt and the topping becomes golden brown. Add a dollop of cinnamon whipped cream, and a sprinkle of pomegranate molasses, if desired, and serve.
The delicately spiced pomegranate pears combined with the ginger cherry topping and cinnamon whipped cream are wonderful flavor combinations. This dish is easily prepared ahead of time and can be a showstopper of a dessert any time of year!
Other festive dessert options to try:
Pear Cranberry Walnut Bread, Vegan
This bread is a great make ahead bread that uses grated pears, whole cranberries, and toasted walnuts. I replaced the egg with a 'flaxegg' and added in some whole wheat flour.
Recipe slightly adapted from Shutterbean
Makes 10-12 servings
1 cup of all purpose flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
¼ - ½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 Tablespoon of ground flax seed
3 Tablespoons of warm water
½ cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 ½ cups peeled and grated pears, with juice (about 2 pears)
1 cup coarsely chopped, toasted walnuts
1 cup fresh cranberries, coarsely chopped
Preheat the oven to 350*. Prepare your bread pan (I have used both a 9X5 and 5 mini loaf sizes pans) by greasing them lightly with a baking spray. In a small dish combine the ground flax seed with warm water, mix together and set aside. This mixture will become gelatinous-like. Put the nuts in a small pan to toast - about 5 to 8 minutes until they smell nutty and fragrant. In a small bowl whisk the flours, sugar, baking soda, salt, and spices together. In a large bowl mix together the vegetable oil, flax egg, vanilla, lemon zest and juice, and grated pears/ juice. Add the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Gently fold-in the chopped cranberries and walnuts. Bake the large sized pan 1 hour - 15 minutes to 1 hour - 20 minutes. Let this cool in the pan for about 20 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. The smaller sized pans will need to bake about 20 to 30 minutes, or, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Vegan Chocolate Ginger Orange Cupcakes
A great chocolate option for the table!
Recipe slightly adapted from TheKitchn
Yields 12 to 48 cupcakes depending on size of tin
3 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups natural cane sugar
1 2/3 cups of cold freshly brewed coffee (or water)
1 cup canola oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons candied ginger, chopped fine
4 tablespoons zested orange peel
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
4 tablespoons cider vinegar
Preheat oven to 375*. Line muffin tins with cupcake liners. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar together. Add the coffee (or water, if preferred), oil, vanilla extract, chopped candied ginger, zested orange peel, and juice. Mix well. Add the vinegar, and stir quickly to combine. This will foam up (it is natural-it is science!) and the color will turn lighter. Once the mixture turns slightly darker again you know you've incorporated all the vinegar. Bake for approximately 15 to 20 minutes until the top if the cupcake slightly springs back. Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before moving to a cooling rack to finish cooling completely.
1 cup vegan margarine
4 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 tablespoon orange juice
4 tablespoon soy milk
1/2 cup cocoa powder + 2 tablespoons
1/8 teaspoon salt
Blend margarine in a mixer until creamy and light yellow. Add in the powdered sugar and mix until fully combined. Add the vanilla, orange juice, soy milk, cocoa powder and salt and mix until it forms a creamy consistency. Once the cupcakes are completely cool you are ready to frost them up! Any leftover frosting can be refrigerated for up to one week.
Rustic Peach Tart:
Single pie crust
3 cups of peaches
¼ cup flour
3 Tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons chopped candied ginger
the zest of 1 lime
2 teaspoons lime juice
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
Preheat the oven to 350*. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper or line with a silpat mat. Single pie crust, recipe of your choice, rolled out on a lightly floured surface, into a 10-inch circle. In a medium sized bowl combine peaches (frozen would work), flour, sugar, chopped candied ginger, the lime zest, lime juice, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add the pear filling and bring up the edges towards the center of the circle. Brush the top of the dough with a little milk and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake for 25' - 30' until the middle of the tart is bubbling. Serve with your favorite vanilla ice cream - I recommend Strafford Farm Organic Vanilla Ice Cream!
Read more by Erica at Not Quite Gourmet.
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