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Whether you’re stateside or not, the lure of a plump, juicy Thanksgiving turkey framed by golden-brown pies and a smorgasbord of seasonal side dishes is too good to pass up on. Don’t we all deserve the chance to weigh down our dining table with the best of the autumnal ingredients? Can’t we simply give thanks for an incredible meal without having to involve giant balloons shaped like cartoon characters and a steady stream of American football? Surely the love of food knows no borders.
To prove that point, we’ve asked three chefs from both sides of the Atlantic to share the dishes they’ll be serving on Thanksgiving Day, November 24. For some of you, it’s a time-honoured holiday built on centuries of tradition. For others, it’s a Thursday. Either way, Jasmine Hemsley, Dominique Ansel and Francis Agyepong have a good idea what you’ll be craving. BYO bird.
Extra-Silky Pumpkin Pie
“I never had pumpkin pie before coming to the U.S., and it was this recipe that really made me love it. The key is to have a very silky custard texture and just very subtle, not overpowering, spice.”
For the gingerbread pie crust
125g light brown sugar
220g plain flour
1 stick butter
1 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp baking soda
2¼ tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp milk
1 tsp ground ginger
Pinch ground nutmeg
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
2 tbsp fresh ginger, finely grated
2 tbsp cornstarch
Pinch of Maldon sea salt
Makes two pie crusts
In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, cream together butter and sugar on medium-low speed until light and fluffy, about three minutes. While continuing to mix, stream in lemon juice, followed by milk and vanilla, until evenly combined. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, ground ginger, nutmeg, grated ginger, cornstarch, and salt until combined. With the mixer on medium-low speed, add in one-third of the dry ingredient mixture until combined. Repeat with the next third, then the final third. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and transfer dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap. Form the dough into a rectangle no more than half an inch thick, wrap in the plastic, and chill in the refrigerator for at least one or two hours.
Remove dough from the fridge. Divide in half (this recipe yields two pie crusts, so you can keep one half wrapped in plastic in the fridge). On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a 14-inch round. Transfer to a pie tin, gently pressing down into the corners and up the sides. Trim away excess dough using a paring knife, leaving a one-inch overhang around the edge. Fold the edges under, then form a fluted edge around the rim with your fingers. Lightly dock the bottom surface of the dough with a fork. Chill or freeze the pie shell in the pie pan until ready to bake. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line the pie shell with a coffee filter and fill with rice or dried beans to blind-bake the crust. Bake in the oven for 14-16 minutes, until the bottom of the pie crust is just lightly baked. Remove from oven and discard the coffee filter and rice/beans. Return the crust to the oven and bake until golden brown, approximately four more minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
For the pumpkin custard
380g pumpkin puree
121g egg yolks
114g granulated sugar
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1½ tsp ground cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C). In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients. Blend with an immersion blender until smooth and creamy. (Tip: You’re looking for an even, smooth custard-like filling without any lumps.)
To assemble the pie, pour the custard into the already-baked and cooled pie crust until just below the top. Bake for 20-35 minutes (check after 20 minutes; the pie is done when a paring knife inserted into the centre comes out clean). Let cool on the counter, then chill in the fridge until ready to serve. Serve with a dollop of freshly whipped cream.
Michigan Cherries Stuffing
Courtesy of Francis Agyepong, head chef at Christopher’s Covent Garden
“The stuffing works really well with our bronze turkey, which we cook at a low temperature for four hours. It embodies all-things American, from the wholesome hazelnuts to the sweetness and the tartness of the cherries.”
500g good quality pork sausage meat
12 cups of corn bread broken up or white bread crumbs
3 cups of shaved hazelnuts, toasted
2 cups dried Michigan cherries (soaked in brandy)
6 tbs olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
4 medium stalks of celery, chopped
½ tsp of sage, thyme, and oregano, chopped
1/2 tsp tarragon, chopped
1 cup chicken stock
3 large eggs, beaten
Makes 10-12 portions
Sweat off the onions in the olive oil together with the sausage meat, garlic, celery, and herbs over a medium heat for about 15 minutes. Add the hazelnuts and cherries, then fold in breadcrumbs. Add stock, then reduce until it has soaked into the mixture. Add beaten eggs and mix together well.
Spoon into a shallow baking dish and cook in the oven at 165ºC for 30 minutes until a skewer inserted comes out clean and is hot to the touch. Alternatively, mould into balls and steam over simmering chicken stock for 15-20 minutes. Or, stuff the turkey with the stuffing and cook according the size of the turkey.
Spiced Pumpkin Latte
“Hot and gently spiced recipes are the order of the day in Ayurveda, so this Thanksgiving-inspired treat hits the mark in terms of Ayurvedic principles and seasonal feel-good factor. A warming and indulgent tonic for the colder months, our spiced pumpkin latte is a world away from the fast-food versions that have become ubiquitous in the US. Using high-quality whole foods and stimulating spices, it’s a brilliant way to sneak a little extra veg into your daily intake.
Note: If you have a high-powered blender like a Vitamix, then save on shop-bought almond milk and throw a handful of soaked and peeled almonds, along with two cups of water, into the blender instead. Want to really boost the health benefits of this recipe? Add a pinch of turmeric and black pepper for anti-inflammatory effects with an aromatic bonus.
For our spiced pumpkin latte recipe, we’ve continued with our US inspiration, and measured in cups, with one cup measuring approximately 250ml. Not only is it on-theme, it’s so much easier than getting the scales out, and this recipe is simple enough for even the freshest pumpkin latte novice to perfect. So, cheers! Here’s to a warming cup of delicious, home-made goodness to bring in the autumn.”
1/2 cup (8 tbsp) cooked butternut squash or pumpkin
2 cups of unsweetened almond milk (or more)
1 tsp of coconut oil, butter, or ghee
2 tbsps maple syrup or jaggery (if using honey choose raw and add when it’s off the heat; do not cook it)
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
Large pinch of ground allspice
Large pinch of ground nutmeg
Optional: 1 tsp of turmeric and a pinch of black pepper
Makes two mugs
Blend all of the ingredients together in a blender or Vitamix, then simmer gently in a saucepan until piping hot. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding more almond milk or water if needed to serve.
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