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"It's so beautifully arranged on the the plate – you know someone's fingers have been all over it." – Julia Child

Homemade Tagliatelle

We like to indulge in food, drink, and good company. This post is a glimpse into what fuels our friendships, our work, our lives. Here are chef Jessica O’Brien and interior and prop stylist Emily Rickard, helping in the kitchen, giving our gathering ambience, and making sure everyone’s glass and forks are full.

Ingredients

TAGLIATELLE WITH VANILLA BEAN LOBSTER AND MAITAKE MUSHROOMS

For the Lobster

2 (2 ½ to 3 pound) live lobsters

Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil.

Set one lobster on a cutting board. Hold the tail down, and, with a chef’s knife, cut down the line on the head, lengthwise and firmly (you should feel the tip of the knife touching the cutting board) until you hit the horizontal line where the tail begins. The lobster will die instantly, and I much prefer this method to dumping it into a pot of boiling water. It will continue to move a bit, but trust me, it is no longer. Repeat with second lobster.  Remove elastic bands from claws.

Cook the lobsters about 6 minutes. They will turn bright red. Remove them from the pot with tongs and run under cold water briefly. Tear the claws off, then, tear the tail off. Discard the head, unless you’re planning on making stock.

Lobster 101

Use shears to cut vertically down the tail on both sides – this will make it easy to remove the shell and the meat in a single, clean piece.

Cover the claws with a dish towel and tap them with a mallet to crack them. Pry off some of the shell, and pull out the meat.

Chop the lobster into bite-sized pieces.

Tagliatelle with Lobster & Mushrooms

For the Pasta

Note: Vanilla bean accentuates lobster’s sweetness, while the maitake mushrooms beefiness rounds out and anchors the dish.

1 recipe fresh pasts (see our previous post)

6 to 8 tablespoons salted butter

2 shallots, finely chopped

3 tablespoons white wine vinegar

Chopped lobster from recipe above

8 ounces maitake (hen of the woods) mushrooms, chopped

3 vanilla beans, seeds scraped out, pods reserved for other use

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 small bunch chives, chopped (about ¼ cup)

Melt butter in large skillet over medium-high heat. Swirl it in the pan until it begins to turn golden and aroma is nutty. Add the shallots and cook, stirring, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add vinegar and allow to evaporate, about 1 minute.

Add the lobster, mushrooms, and vanilla bean and season with salt and pepper. Sauté until they are golden. Add more butter if desired.

Toss mixture with pasta and chives. Serve immediately. Mangia!

Time to Eat!!

Supple and full, biting into fresh pasta is like biting into a bottom lip. Sold? Yes, it’s a bit of an effort, but pressing palms into soft dough as you push and extend is an addictive release.

This is how we like to do it.

FRESH PASTA

Makes 6 to 8 servings

Note: You can use equal parts semolina and all-purpose flour in this recipe.

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour, plus additional for work surface and adjustment

5 large eggs, at room temperature

Salt

Extra-virgin olive oil

On a clean, dry work surface, combine the flour and 1 teaspoon salt. Form the flour into a hill, then create a well in its center. Add the eggs and a drizzle of oil to the well and begin vigorously stirring them, breaking the yolks and mixing them with the whites.

With the fork, quickly and steadily begin pulling the flour into the eggs, making sure no lumps remain – remember, steady.  Continue doing this until the flour and eggs are completely incorporated. Use a bench scraper to gather any scraps and press them into the dough.

Begin kneading: use your palm to gather the dough towards you, press it into the table, rotate, and repeat. Essentially, you want to shape the dough into a ball as you knead.

Making pasta, like making pie dough and bread, is highly tactile. The more you make it, the more you’ll understand its texture. It will start smooth and pliable, then begin to get sticky (add a bit more flour at this point – you want to keep the surface dry enough to be able to knead,  but don’t go crazy), then a bit rough and tough, like a muscle after you’ve been on the stairmill for a few minutes, then it’ll become smooth and terse like Hollywood starlet’s well-trained bum.  The whole process will take about 15 minutes.

Set the dough aside and cover it with a dish rag that has been dampened and extremely wrung out. Allow it to rest at room temperature 30 to 45 minutes.

Set up your pasta roller (I use a traditional hand-cranked one) and adjust the knob to the widest opening. Cut the dough into 4 pieces and pat each one into a rectangle about ¾-inch thick. Crank the dough through the machine twice. Adjust the knob one setting down and repeat the process. All you’re doing is thinning it out, one level at a time. Eventually, your dough will be a long, thin sheet.

At this point, you can use the attachment on your pasta maker to cut the dough into fettuccine strands, but I prefer a thicker noodle. To make the tagliatelle, fold the dough onto itself, almost as if you were making a wide jelly roll, then cut it crosswise with a knife into 1-inch thick ribbons. Unspool them and set them aside on a lightly floured sheet pan.

Store the pasta, refrigerated and tightly wrapped in plastic, for 2 to 3 days, or eat immediately.  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and cook pasta about 4 minutes until all dente. Drain. Serve with a drizzle of good olive oil or a knob of good butter and Maldon salt.

Thank you to Emily Rickard & Jessica O’Brien for their amazing work on this post.

Stay tuned for our lobster tagliatelle recipe in the coming weeks!

Red Red Red

A potion for Valentine’s Day… For those stung by cupid, and to those rebuffed. To those in love, in lust, indifferent. To the poets and masochists and loners and users. To the hopeless romantics, the fools, the obsessives, and the cold-hearted…

Blue and orange flame love.
Searing love. Scorching love.
Hungry, gnawing, constantly craving love.
Chocolate, marshmallows, melting, luxuriously dripping.
Saccharine love. Love that bites and chews and sucks and savors and gulps. Satiating, quenching, filling.
Hot berry pie love, caramel cake love, velvety icing love.
Filled, layered, frosted, can’t wait to devour. Ice cream and cherry-on-top love.
Whipped cream. Gluttonous, greedy, can’t get enough love.
Bonbons, macarons, Marie Antoinette confections and pink champagne, bubbly love.
Sticky amber honey, lavender, agua de azahares, fragrant love.
Paper-cut and lemon juice love. Under the skin, cut-to-the-quick, stinging.
Hiccupping love. Heartburn love. Nauseating love.
Drunken, aching, choking.
Chamomile tea, tiny cube of sugar, soothing love. Warm, still, pool of gold; gentle lullaby and dreamless sleep love.
Root cellar love, dark, dank, buried. Forgotten icebox drawer, stale bread, molding cheese.
Blushing apple, falling, rotting, worming. Burnt toast, fallen soufflé, curdled custard love.
Extinguished love, white ashen coals, wisp of smoke.
Bony, famished, gum-in-hair love.
End of the feast love.

RED RED RED … an original recipe from Winter Cocktails
A sparkling drink made blush with a tart beet granita.

8 ounces cooked beets (see Ingredient Tip)
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups water
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
6 star anise pods
2 teaspoons whole allspice berries
1 (750-milliliter) bottle prosecco, chilled

- Pulse beets until completely pureed in food processor. Set aside.

- Combine sugar, water, vinegar, star anise, and allspice berries in medium saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar is completely dissolved, about 5 minutes. Stir in beets. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.

- Strain mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into 13- by 9-inch baking pan and discard solids. Place pan in freezer. After 20 minutes, scrape with fork. Repeat scraping procedure until mixture is fully frozen and has a slushy-like consistency.

- To serve, spoon 3 to 4 tablespoons granita into champagne flutes and top off with prosecco. Serve.

Serves 6

INGREDIENT TIP Beet Red: Use homemade roasted beets or store-bought vacuum-sealed beets. Avoid canned beets, as they are too soft and water-logged.

Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate

We know: it’s freezing. We’d offer to come over and snuggle, but, no way we’re leaving home today. Try our remedy instead!

 

SALTED CARAMEL HOT CHOCOLATE
A dark, rich, and perfectly seasoned elixir from our book,  Winter Cocktails

In this variation, sugar cooks down to an amber, bittersweet caramel that blends seamlessly into hot chocolate.
Cooking Tip: You will need a large saucepan for this recipe: the addition of cream to the caramel causes the mixture to bubble aggressively.

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup water
6 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon Maldon salt, plus additional for garnish
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup natural cocoa powder
3 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
4 cups whole milk
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped, or chocolate chips
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Ingredient Tip: Maldon salt is a sea salt whose large flakes are ideal for seasoning: they melt slowly but easily into warm items, and also provide a nice crunch and textural contrast. See page 000 for resources.

- Stir sugar and water together in large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, swirling pan occasionally, until sugar turns dark amber and just begins to smoke, 6 to 8 minutes. Immediately add cream and salt, stepping away from pan while bubbling and sputtering subside. Reduce heat to medium and stir just until mixture is smooth. Remove from heat.

- Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa and brown sugar and stir with whisk until a paste forms. Slowly add milk, whisking constantly. Whisk in caramel. Bring to simmer over medium-high heat, then, reduce heat to medium-low. Stir in chocolate and cook, stirring until chocolate is completely melted. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.  Serve in warm cups and sprinkle with Maldon salt.

- Spike each serving with 1 1/2 ounces Amaretto per serving, if desired (trust us, you desire).

Serves 4

 

 

Guest Chef Jessica O'Brien

2014. Here it begins with trying to tidy up and pack up the old year, looking back to reflect, and making resolutions, of course… New projects, fresh ideas, daydreams, decisions.

And celebrations. This is our first, with our dear friend and talented chef, Jessica O’Brien. These recipes are delicious and lovely to look at, as well. Gather your friends, toast the new year, and tie on that apron.

About our charming guest…

Occupation: Private chef

Culinary background: The Spotted Pig, Le Cirque, Tasting Table to name a few

Residence: West Village, NY

Most humiliating moment in the kitchen: When Chef April Bloomfield of The Spotted Pig threw a bowl of salad across the kitchen room because she said it was over-dressed.

Most rewarding moment in the kitchen: When I got promoted to the Grill Station at the Pig. It meant you’d made it to the top.

Favorite food to cook at home: In the fall and winter I cook a lot of soups and stews for their heartiness and comfort. In the spring and summer I like to cook fish or shellfish for their simplicity and lightness.

Favorite takeout: Chinese, for sure. I order almost everything off the menu.

Favorite thing to cook for company: Surf & Turf. Best of both worlds.

Tip for entertaining at home: Shop and prep as much as possible in advance.

About these recipes: A menu that is simple, delicious, and elegant. Perfect for any occasion. And can prepare so many of the steps in advance.

Favorite drink: Jameson. Straight and to the point.

Music at your parties:  Pop or dance music. It has to be fun and upbeat. It’s a party after all.

New year traditions:  Spending the first day of the New Year with my husband.

Resolutions:  I like to set myself up for success, and resolutions usually end up being a disappointment so I don’t make any.

Guest Chef Jessica O'Brien

HERB-CRUSTED PORK LOIN WRAPPED IN PANCETTA

2 pounds boneless pork loin
Kosher salt and freshly grated black pepper
Olive oil, as needed
¼ cup fresh rosemary, finely chopped, plus 1 whole sprig
¼ cup fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
Dried red chili flakes, to taste
1 pound assorted small potatoes, such as fingerling, Peruvian, and Yukon Gold
½ pound baby carrots
1 baby fennel (about ¼ pound), or 1 regular fennel, cut into 6 wedges
¼ pound small Brussels sprouts, bottoms trimmed and exterior leaves removed
½ cup dry white wine
1 pound thinly sliced pancetta (about 20 slices)

- Remove pork from refrigerator and allow to sit at room temperature for 1 hour. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat oven to 450°F.

- Pat pork dry with a paper towel and season generously with salt and pepper. Heat about 1 tablespoon oil (enough to coat) a large skillet over high heat until just beginning to smoke. Sear the pork on all sides until deep golden brown, then transfer to a plate and allow to cool.

- In small bowl, stir together chopped rosemary, thyme, garlic, lemon zest, and chili flakes. Stir in 6 tablespoons oil. Rub half of the herb mixture all over the pork and once again, season with salt and pepper.

Guest Chef Jessica O'Brien

- Cut kitchen twine into four 2-foot-long pieces and two 3-foot-long pieces.  Lay the 4 pieces horizontally, a few inches apart from each other, then the 2 longer pieces crosswise.  Arrange 12 slices of pancetta on top of twine, overlapping them slightly in a rectangular shape about 3 inches wider than the pork on all sides (since you want the pork to be completely wrapped).

- Place pork loin in center of pancetta slices and roll pancetta slices over it using the parchment paper as a guide. Place remaining pancetta on top of pork to fully cover, then, lay rosemary sprig on top. Tie shorter, horizontal twine pieces first, then tie longer ones. Transfer pork to a roasting pan.

Guest Chef Jessica O'Brien

Guest Chef Jessica O'Brien

Guest Chef Jessica O'Brien

- In large bowl, toss vegetables with remaining herb mixture and season with salt and pepper. Arrange vegetables around the pork and pour wine over them.

- Roast, basting occasionally with wine and pan juices until an instant read thermometer registers 138°F, 40 to 50 minutes. Allow pork to rest 10 to 15 minutes before slicing.

Guest Chef Jessica O'Brien

ROASTED TOMATO TARTS

2 pounds (10 to 12 medium), plum tomatoes halved lengthwise
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped, plus additional leaves for garnish
2 large garlic cloves, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed according to package instructions
All-purpose flour, for work surface
½ cup (1 ounce) grated Parmigiano-Reddiano cheese, plus ¼ cup (.5 ounce) shaved for garnish
Aged balsamic vinegar, as needed
1 large egg
1 tablespoon water

- Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed backing sheet with parchment paper.

- In large bowl, toss the tomatoes, oil, 2 teaspoons of the chopped thyme, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and toss once again to combine. Arrange tomatoes in single layer, cut-side up, on prepared baking sheet.

- Roast 30 minutes, then reduce temperature to 325°F and continue to cook until the edges of the tomatoes are slightly browned, about 1 ½ hours.

- While the tomatoes are roasting, prepare puff pastry. Lightly dust a clean, dry work surface with flour, unfold pastry, and cut crosswise into 3 rectangular pieces (the creases will be your natural guide to where you should cut).  Lightly flour a rolling pin and roll each rectangle pieces into 11- by 4.5-inch rectangles.

- With a sharp pairing knife, score around the edges to create a ¼-inch border. Using a fork, prick wholes inside the border (to release steam while cooking). Repeat with remaining 2 pieces pastry.

Guest Chef Jessica O'Brien

- Whisk egg and water together in small bowl and brush all over pastry. Sprinkle the center of pastries with grated cheese and remaining chopped thyme. Carefully transfer to parchment paper-lined trays and refrigerate at least 20 minutes.

- When tomatoes finish roasting, return oven temperature back up to 400°F. Bake pastry until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Top each tart shell with shaved cheese while still warm, then top with roasted tomatoes, cut sides down. Sprinkle more cheese to taste and thyme leaves, then drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Cut into pieces and serve.

Guest Chef Jessica O'Brien

SPICED BAKED CHICKPEAS
Makes about 3 cups

2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

- Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat oven to 425°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

- Pat the chickpeas dry with paper towels and transfer them to a medium bowl. Toss them with the oil, rosemary, garlic, cayenne, cumin, paprika, and salt and pepper to taste. Pour chickpeas onto prepared baking sheet, spreading out into single layer. Bake until crisp, 45 to 50 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally to ensure even baking.

- Transfer baking sheet to a cooling rack and cool completely. Serve, or store them in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

ZUCCHINI LATKES WITH APPLE-BEET COMPOTE

For the Zucchini Latkes
1 ½ pounds russet potatoes
1 ½ pounds zucchini
1 medium Vidalia onion
2 large eggs, beaten
¼ cup fine plain breadcrumbs
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Generous pinch ground cumin
Generous pinch ground nutmeg
Pinch cayenne pepper
Schmaltz, bacon drippings, or canola oil, as needed

For the Apple-Beet Compote
2 pounds firm apples, such as Granny Smith, Gala, or Pink Lady, peeled, cored, and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 pound red beets, peeled and grated
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 tablespoon lemon juice
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch kosher salt

For Serving
Crème fraîche (optional)

- For the Zucchini Latkes: Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 325°F.  Set a cooling rack inside a rimmed baking sheet.

- In a large bowl, thoroughly combine all the ingredients.

- Heat enough oil to coat the bottom of a large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Drop the vegetable mixture in 1-tablespoon-sized spoonfuls  into the skillet and lightly flatten with a spatula, being careful to not overcrowd the skillet.
Cook the latkes until light golden brown on both sides, 3 to 4 minutes total. Transfer the finished latkes to the prepared cooling rack and baking sheet and place in oven to keep warm and crisp.

- Repeat cooking procedure with additional oil and remaining batter.

- For the Apple-Beet Compote: Combine all ingredients in medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated and the mixture has thickened, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and arrange on platter. Dollop latkes with compote and (optional) crème fraîche.

Holiday CocktailsHoliday Cocktails

Until recently, I thought one of the lines in “Have a Holly Jolly Christmas” was “Have a cup of GIN.” It’s actually a cup of “CHEER.” In my book, the words are interchangeable.

This Christmas we’re adding to cheer to our gatherings with Latin American versions of eggnog: rompope and coquito, and also, with an unexpected punch. All recipes are from our book, Winter Cocktails, and we’d like to share them with you and yours here.

ALSO! Listen to my spiel on Eggnog on NPR!  

ROMPOPE
serves 6 to 8

The first rompope, a derivation of Spanish ponche de huevo (egg punch), was brewed by seventeenth-century nuns in the Santa Clara convent in Puebla, Mexico. According to legend, Sister Eduviges requested that the nuns be allowed to drink the rompope they were only permitted to make. Legend also has it that there was one secret ingredient in the recipe that Eduviges took with her to the grave.

Rompope is served chilled, often over ice, but it can be served warm, which is how I prefer it when cold weather sets in. Either way, it’s rich, velvety, fragrant, and certainly full of cheer.

2⁄3 cup blanched almonds
11⁄2 cups plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
6 cups whole milk
2 cinnamon sticks
Rind of 1 lemon*
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1⁄4 teaspoon baking soda
8 large egg yolks
1 cup white rum or aguardiente**

*Remove the lemon rind with a vegetable peeler, being careful to avoid the white pith, which will impart a bitter flavor.

**Aguardiente literally means “burning water” in Spanish. It is a strong (29% or higher) spirit distilled from fruits, grains, and commonly sugarcane.
It’s available at most liquor stores; for additional sources, see page 156.

Pulse almonds with 2 tablespoons of the sugar in a food processor until ground to a fine paste.

Bring milk, cinnamon, lemon rind, vanilla, and baking soda to a boil over medium-high heat in a large heavy-bottom saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk egg yolks, the remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar, and ground almonds until thick and pale. Remove cinnamon and lemon rind and discard. Whisking constantly, slowly add the milk to the yolk mixture.

Return mixture to pan and cook over low heat, constantly stirring and scraping the bottom and sides of the pan, until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, 5 to 7 minutes. Set aside to cool completely, about 2 hours.
Stir in rum or aguardiente. Serve.

COQUITO
serves 8 to 10

Coquito brings a refreshing and tropical twist to the winter season. Like rompope, it is traditionally poured and shared on nochebuena (Christmas Eve) and given out as a gift in festively wrapped bottles, but it will fit in at any holiday celebration. The recipe is similar to rompope, but with a few tweaks: sweetened condensed milk acts as a sweetener, evaporated milk takes the place of milk, and, of course, the island influence is asserted with coconut milk and rum.

1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk 8 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
1 (2-inch) piece ginger, peeled and cut crosswise into thin rounds
1 (15-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (13.5-ounce) can coconut milk*
1 cup white rum
4 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1⁄4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus more for garnish
1⁄8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg, plus more for garnish

*Do not substitute cream of coconut for the coconut milk, because the drink will be too sweet.

Bring evaporated milk, cloves, cinnamon, and ginger to a boil over medium-high heat in a small saucepan. Remove from heat and let steep for 30 minutes. Strain liquid through a fine-mesh sieve and discard solids. Let cool to room temperature, about 20 minutes.

Place spiced milk mixture, sweetened condensed milk, coconut milk, rum, egg yolks, vanilla, ground cinnamon, and nutmeg in a blender and blend until fully combined and foamy, 1 to 2 minutes.

Pour into chilled glasses and dust with additional cinnamon and nutmeg.

SWEET SURRENDER, a chamomile punch
makes about 13 cups (about 3 quarts), serves 24

This punch marries chamomile’s delicate floral notes to honey and champagne, with a dash of infused alcohol thrown in for good measure. The result is sure to soothe your winter-weary bones.

Ice mold*
1 (750-milliliter) bottle gin or vodka, chilled
2 cups brewed chamomile tea, chilled**
2 cups Honey Syrup, chilled***
1⁄4 cup fresh lemon juice, strained
2 (750-milliliter) bottles champagne, chilled

*To make the ice mold, fill a Bundt pan or medium metal mixing bowl with water and freeze until set. To unmold, run the container under warm water, just until the ice begins to loosen. Turn the mold over onto a surface covered with a clean kitchen towel to grip the container and lift it off the molded ice. Place the ice in punch bowl or other serving vessel as directed by punch recipe.

**To make chamomile tea, bring 2 1⁄2 cups water to a boil in a small sauce- pan. Add 1⁄2 cup dried chamomile flowers or 8 chamomile tea bags and allow to steep until mixture comes to room temperature. Strain through a fine- mesh sieve, pressing down on solids to release all liquid. Discard solids.

*** To make the honey syrup, combine 1 cup honey and 1 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook, stirring, until honey is completely dissolved. Let cool to room temperature and store, refrigerated, in an airtight container. Makes 2 cups.

To make the punch: Stir gin or vodka, tea, syrup, and lemon juice together in a punch or other serving bowl. When ready to serve, stir in champagne and slide in ice mold. Serve.

winter cocktailswinter cocktailswinter cocktails

We’ve been celebrating the release of our book, Winter Cocktails , for a few weeks with book signings, demos, and most importantly,  with loud and punch-drunk parties at home and with friends who’ve supported us every step of the way. Celebrate with us at home with one of our cocktails, and share in our glee while you look at these pictures, graciously taken by photographer Shinsuke Kishima.

A special thanks to Penelope Bouklas and Emily Rickard our prop stylists, without whose magical touches and hawk-eyed attention to detail, our book wouldn’t be as sumptuous as it is. Thank you to Geraldine Pierson, who put up with a vast number of photos that needed to be scoured through and pruned. Thank you to Lea Siegel for getting us camera-ready for our portraits. Thank you to Benny Mouthon, who added sound to our video and also took the lovely portrait at the back of our book, catching us in all of our early-morning/no makeup glory.

Finally, thank you to Ed Levine, Kenji López-Alt, and Leandra Palermo at Serious Eats for hosting a great party and cheering us on. And, congratulations to old friend and Author of One Bowl Baking Yvonne Ruperti who celebrated her book with us, too.

Thanksgiving Pies

The holidays are upon us! Again, they caught us by surprise, but there is no denying that in the city the streets are carpeted in thick layers of fallen leaves and the windows of shops are screaming out invitations to shop.

We had another early celebration, a dry run, so that we could share our Thanksgiving with you. Last year we honored the turkey and showed you how to roast and carve, but this year, we decided to go straight for what people most ogle at the table: PIE. Here you’ll find sweet and savory pies with classic flaky crusts, nut-based crusts, puff pastry berets, and crunchy layers of phyllo. We’ve included the standard but regal apple pie, and included a reimagined version of candied yams and marshmallows, as well as brown butter pear and cranberry, potato, and of course, turkey.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

And a very special thank you to our friend and rock star prop stylist, Emily Rickard!

Thanksgiving Pies

Thanksgiving Pies

Thanksgiving Pies

INDIVIDUAL TURKEY POT PIES
Makes 8 to 10 pot pies

Notes: You can roast the turkey up to two days in advance.  
My rule of thumb for seasoning poultry is ¾ teaspoon salt per pound of meat.
- I prefer Dufour brand puff pastry; it is pricier, but well worth it for true butter flavor.
- Warming the milk makes it easier to incorporate into the roux.

For the Turkey
1 (6-pound) bone-in turkey breast
4 ½ teaspoons salt* and freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup mixed herbs, such as thyme, sage, and rosemary, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil

For the Turkey: Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 450°F.  Set an oven-safe cooling rack in a rimmed baking sheet.

- Gently separate the skin from the flesh of the turkey with your fingertips. Rub most of the salt and pepper directly on the flesh, then rub the remaining on the skin. Combine the butter with the herbs and smear the butter in between the skin and flesh.

- Drizzle the breast with the olive oil and roast for 20 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 375°F and continue cooking until the thickest part of the breast registers 150°F (usually it is 160°F, but there will be carryover cooking and the turkey will be cooked within the pot pies).  Cool turkey to room temperature, then carve and cut into 1 ½-inch pieces.

For the Filling and Topping
3 pounds red waxy potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1-inch pieces
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
10 tablespoons (9 ounces) unsalted butter
12 ounces slender carrots, peeled and cut on the bias into ½-inch-thick slices
12 ounces mushrooms, such as maitake or shiitake
4 shallots, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, plus sprigs for garnish
1 tablespoon fresh sage leaves, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons sherry
1/3 cup all-purpose flour, plus additional for dusting counter
4 cups whole milk, warmed*
2 sheets puff pastry*, thawed according to package instructions
1 large egg yolk
2 tablespoons heavy cream

For the Filling and Topping: Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 375°F.

-Place the potatoes in medium saucepan and cover by 1 inch with cold water. Add 1 tablespoon salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Simmer on medium heat until potatoes are just tender, about 10 minutes. Drain.

- Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in large skillet. Add carrots, season with salt and pepper, and sautée until golden about 5 minutes. Transfer to large bowl.

- Melt an additional 2 tablespoons of butter in now empty skillet. Add mushrooms, shallots, garlic, thyme, and sage, season with salt and pepper, and cook until mushrooms are golden, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in sherry and cook an additional 30 seconds. Transfer to bowl with carrots.

- Melt the remaining 6 tablespoons of butter in now empty skillet. With a wooden stirring spoon, stir in the flour to make a paste (this is the roux). Cook, stirring, until beginning to turn golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and slowly pour in milk while vigorously whisking. Simmer on medium-low heat for about 2 minutes until thickened; it should be like gravy. If too thick, add more warm milk.

- Pour sauce over vegetables in bowl and fold in potatoes and turkey.

- Divide the mixture evenly between (6- to 8-ounce-capacity) ramekins.

- Dust a clean, dry work surface with flour and rub a rolling pin with more. Roll out the puff pastry — this will depend on the size of your ramekins. Use a round cookie cutter to punch out “lids” for the ramekins, or cut it into squares. Cover the pot pies with pastry. Whisk the egg yolk and cream together in a small bowl and brush over pot pies.

- Set the ramekins on a baking sheet and bake until the pastry is puffed and golden, about 30 minutes. Garnish with thyme sprigs and serve.

CLASSIC DOUBLE-CRUST APPLE PIE
Makes one 9-inch pie, serving 8

Notes: Granny Smiths are firm and tart and will retain their shape while they bake. Avoid softer-fleshed apples like Golden Delicious, which will blow out and turn mushy.

For the Double Crust
400 grams/14 ounces (about 2 ½ cups) all-purpose flour, plus additional for dusting counter
1 ½ teaspoons salt
¼ cup sugar
200 grams/7 ounces (15 tablespoons) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into ¼-inch pieces
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
Ice water, as needed

For the Filling
2 ½ pounds Granny Smith apples*, peeled, cored, and cut into 3/4-inch-thick wedges
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons finely grated zest plus 2 tablespoons lemon juice
½ teaspoon salt
1 large egg yolk
2 tablespoons heavy cream
Demerara or other coarse-granule sugar for decorating

For the Double Crust: See Brown Butter Pear and Cranberry Pie crust recipe above for method. The only difference will be that once you’ve kneaded the dough, you’ll divide it in 2 before wrapping in plastic and refrigerating.

- Once your pie has been filled, roll out the second disc of dough and cut out decorative pieces, if desired. For the design in this picture, I lopped off the top third of a green apple and placed it on the topping. I then used a cookie cutter to cut out an opening in the center of what would be the lid and placed it over the filling and green apple. Rather than trimming off the edges of the dough to make a classic fluted edge, I decided to go a more organic route and simply pinched the bottom and top doughs together, letting the rest ruffle.

For the Filling: In a large bowl, toss together the apples, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cornstarch, lemon zest and juice, and salt.  Pour mixture into prepared dough shell. Cover with second dough round, decorate as desired, and refrigerate for 20 minutes (this will allow the top dough round to rest and also allow the apples to release some of their juices).

- Meanwhile, adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 375°F. Whisk the egg yolk and cream together in small bowl and brush all over pie dough. Sprinkle with demerara sugar and bake until pie is deep golden brown, about 1 hour. Transfer to a cooling rack and cool to room temperature before serving.

SWEET POTATO PIE WITH NUT CRUST AND FLUFF TOPPING
Makes one 8- by 8-inch pie, serving 8 to 12

For the Crust
Baking spray
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup pecans
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into thin slices and chilled

For the Crust: Adjust oven rack to the middle position and preheat oven to 375°F.

- Lightly coat an 8- by 8-inch baking pan with baking spray. Line the pan with parchment paper, laying down first one piece and allowing about 3 inches of excess to hang over the edges, then a second piece crosswise to create a sling. Coat with spray once more.

- In a food processor, pulse the flour, pecans, sugar, and salt until the pecans are finely ground. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Transfer dough to prepared baking pan and press into bottom of pan in an even layer.

- Bake until just set, about 20 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.

For the Filling
½ stick (2 ounces) unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3 pounds garnet sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 cup apple cider
Water
3/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons sorghum syrup or molasses
Finely grated zest and juice of ½ an orange
2 large eggs

For the Filling: Melt the butter over medium-high heat in a large saucepan. Add the allspice and cinnamon and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the sweet potatoes, apple cider, and salt and bring to a simmer (if potatoes are not covered, add enough water to cover by about 1 inch). Cover and cook over low heat until the potatoes are fork-tender, about 12 minutes. If liquid remains in pot, remove lid, increase heat to medium-high and continue cooking until no liquid remains. Remove pan from heat, cool potatoes to room temperature, and transfer to the bowl of a food processor.

- Add the orange zest and juice and eggs to food processor and blend until mixture is completely smooth. Scrape mixture into prepared crust and smooth out into even layer. Prepare topping.

For the Topping
2 large egg whites, at room temperature
Pinch salt
1 (16-ounce) tub marshmallow fluff

- Beat egg whites and with wire whisk in large bowl until they hold soft peaks. Scrape fluff into a second large bowl. Stir in 1/3 of the egg whites, then fold in the rest using a rubber spatula.  Spread over sweet potato filling.

- Bake until marshmallow fluff is puffed and golden, about 30 minutes. Transfer to cooling rack and cool to room temperature. Using the overhanging parchment paper, pull pie out onto a cutting board and cut into 8 to 12 pieces. Serve.

BROWN BUTTER PEAR AND CRANBERRY PIE
Makes one 9-inch pie, serving 8

Notes: In the images in this post, the pie was baked in several different-sized pie plates. Feel free to do the same.
- The measurements for the crust are provided in grams and ounces as I normally use a scale when preparing it.

For the Crust
200 grams/7 ounces (about 1 ¼ cups) all-purpose flour, plus additional for dusting counter
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
100 grams/3.5 ounces (7 ½ tablespoons) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into ¼-inch pieces
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Ice water, as needed

For the Filling
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 pounds firm Bosc pears, peeked, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
Salt
3/4 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
1/3 cup demerara sugar
1/4 cup brandy

For the Crust: Combine flour, sugar, and salt on a clean, dry, and cool work surface. With a bench scraper, cut in butter until it resembles wet sand. Alternatively, combine flour, sugar, and salt in bowl of food processor and pulse to combine. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles wet sand, then transfer mixture to work surface.

- Form a well in the center of flour mixture and pour in beaten egg and 1 tablespoon ice water. Working quickly, use the bench scraper to combine the ingredients.  If the mixture appears very dry and crumbly, add ice water, 1 teaspoon at a time, until mixture is cohesive but not overly wet.

- Bring dough together with lightly floured hands. Pinch off small pieces of dough and, working quickly, with the heel of your hand extend on work surface to ensure even distribution of butter. Gather dough together into a disc. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

- Clean and dry off counter and sprinkle with flour. Rub flour on rolling pin. Roll dough out, starting in the center and working outwards (never roll back into center as it will just bring the dough back). Dough should be about 12-inches in diameter.  Roll dough lightly onto rolling pin, then transfer to 9-inch pie plate. Press into the bottom and sides, trim off edges and reserve them, then pinch the edges into a decorative pattern. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, during which time you can prepare the filling. (The dough may be prepared up to 1 week in advance to this stage and frozen).

For the Filling: Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 375°F.

- Melt the butter in large skillet over medium-high heat, swirling the pan occasionally, until it begins to foam. Once the foam subsides and small brown flecks can be seen in the butter (it will smell nutty, too), add the pears, lemon zest and juice, and a pinch of salt and cook, tossing and stirring, until pears are browned and beginning to soften, about 8 minutes.

- Stir in the brandy, sugar, and cranberries. Remove the pan from heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Then, pour into prepared crust. Pinch off pieces of the reserved dough scraps and scatter over pie. Bake until bubbling and edges of pie are brown, 30 to 40 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack and cool to room temperature. Serve.

POTATO, LEEK, AND CHEESE TART
Makes 1 tart, serving 6 to 8

Notes: This is a great appetizer.
- I used a rectangular tart pan, about 7- by 11-inches. Any tart pan in that general size will work.
- Phyllo is a tissue paper-thin dough that dries out and breaks if exposed to air even for a few seconds. Set the pile of phyllo sheets on your counter, cover it with wax or parchment paper, then cover it with a damp towel. You will work with only one sheet of dough at a time.
- I used Cana de Cabra, a Spanish cheese with a chalky exterior and soft center. Avoid using the chalky logs of goat cheese here as it is lacking in flavor.
- A mandolin makes quick work of thinly slicing potatoes. While working, keep potatoes in a bowl of cold water to prevent them from oxidizing.

10 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 leeks, white and pale green parts thinly sliced (or 5 shallots, thinly sliced)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 sheets phyllo dough, thawed out according to manufacturer’s instructions
6 ounces goat cheese or brie*
2 teaspoons thyme leaves plus additional for garnish
2 ½ pounds red or yellow waxy potatoes, peeled and very thinly sliced*

- Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 375°F.

- Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add leeks or shallots, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and golden, about 8 minutes. Set aside.

- Melt the remaining 8 tablespoons butter. Brush a tart pan with butter, then press 1 phyllo sheet (see notes above about working phyllo) into the pan. Brush the sheet with more butter, then repeat layering and buttering process until you’ve used all the sheets. Crumble or break apart the cheese and scatter over the dough. Scatter the leeks or shallots over the cheese.

- Arrange the potatoes in a slight overlapping pattern over the leeks and cheese.  Brush the potatoes with butter, lightly season with salt and pepper, and sprinkle with some of the thyme. Repeat the process until you’ve run out of potatoes. Trim off any excess pastry hanging over the edges of the tart mold.

- Bake until potatoes are tender and golden, 30 to 40 minutes. Transfer to cooling rack and cool to room temperature before serving.

*Leftovers are great reheated and served with a fried egg on top.

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