holiday recipes

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Sweet potatoes have always been a must for our holiday dinners.  Sometimes I try out new recipes to try them in a different way.  This recipes lets you kill two birds with one stone- sweet potato side dish and stuffing.

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creole gumbo recipes

In anticipation of turkey leftovers after Thanksgiving, I have been searching out different turkey gumbo recipes. Below is an original recipe I found from a very old cookbook.

Gumbo, of all unique dishes of the New Orleans cuisine, represents a most distinctive type of the evolution of good cookery under the hands of the famous Creole cuisinieres of old New Orleans.

Indeed, the word “evolution” fails to apply when speaking of Gumbo, for it is an original conception, a something “sui generis” in cooking, peculiar to this ancient Creole city alone, and to the manor born.

With equal ability the older Creole cooks saw the possibilities of original and delicious combinations in making Gumbo, and hence we have many varieties, till the occult science of making a good “Gombo a la Creole” seems too fine an inheritance of gastronomic lore to remain forever hidden away in the cuisines of this old Southern metropolis.

The following recipes, gathered with care from the best housekeepers of New Orleans, have been handed down from generation to generation. They need only to be tried to prove their perfect claim to the admiration of the many distinguished visitors and epicures who have paid tribute to our Creole Gumbo.

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For a special holiday treat, try this pecan pie spiked with bourbon and enriched with chocolate. The dough recipe is unusual in several ways. It is prepared with slightly softened butter and cool water instead of cold butter and ice water. The dough is not chilled before it is rolled out and it contains a touch of vinegar. The pie pan is also greased and floured. This is a superior crust to most.

chocolate bourbon pecan pie

Ingredients:
3 large eggs, plus 1 egg of any size
½ cup sugar
1 ½ tsp. kosher salt, divided
¼ cup Steen’s cane syrup
¾ cup plus 2 Tbsp. dark corn syrup
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 Tbsp. good quality bourbon whiskey, preferably Jim Beam (sour-mash whiskey is not recommended)
¼ lb. (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus butter for greasing pie pan
1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour, plus flour to dust pie pan and roll out dough
1 tsp. Steen’s cane vinegar or distilled white or apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup cool water
3 Tbsp. whole milk
2 cups pecan pieces or chopped pecans
1 cup good quality semi-sweet dark chocolate chips

Directions:
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the 3 large eggs until frothy. Add the sugar and 1 tsp. kosher salt, whisking vigorously until the sugar is thoroughly dissolved. Whisk in the cane syrup, corn syrup, melted butter, and bourbon. Set this filling aside at room temperature.

Cut ¼ pound butter in ¼ inch cubes. Let the cubes soften at room temperature for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, generously butter a 10-inch metal pie pan about 1 ¼ inches, and dust with flour. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Add the vinegar to 1/3 cup cool water. Gradually add the vinegar water to the flour, tossing lightly with your hand or a fork until blended in. Gently gather the mixture together to form a ball. If it doesn’t hold together, add another ½ Tbsp. of water at a time until the mixture is sufficiently damp to hold together, using as little water as possible. Shape the dough ball into a smooth 5-inch disk. With a floured rolling pin, roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface into a circle about 14 inches in diameter and 3/8 inch thick. Very lightly flour the dough, fold it in half, and carefully transfer to the prepared pie pan. Unfold the dough and gently fit it into the pan. With a small serrated knife, trim the excess dough flush with the outer rim of the pan, then pat the dough around the edge to neaten it. Chill the pie shell for three minutes to firm it slightly. Remove the pie shell from the refrigerator and crimp the edge.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the egg of any size and the milk, blending well. Brush a generous amount of this egg wash on the crimped edge with a pastry brush. Evenly scatter the pecans and chocolate chips over the bottom of the shell. Thoroughly stir the reserved filling, then slowly pour it over the pecans and chocolate chips. Use a finger tip to gently stir the filling to coat all the pecan bits and chocolate chips with filling and evenly distribute them within the filling.

Bake the pie on the middle shelf of the oven until the center feels firm and bounces back when gently pressed with your fingertips, and the crust is golden brown, about 1 hour. Transfer the pie to a metal rack to cool to room temperature, about one hour before serving.

Serving suggestions: The pie may be served at room temperature or warm. If made ahead, let the pie cool thoroughly, then cover it loosely and refrigerate overnight. To re-warm, briefly heat in a 300 degree oven. If using caramel sauce, drizzle about 1 Tbsp. of it around the edge of each dessert plate, and position a wedge of pie on the plate. If desired, top with vanilla ice cream or lightly sweetened whipped cream, and garnish with a mint leaf and a light sprinkle of powdered sugar on the pie and plate.

Optional accompaniments and garnishes:
about ½ cup caramel saucemint leave
slightly sweetened whipped cream
powdered sugar

(Serves 6-8)

<em>Courtesy of Ralph’s on the Park</em>

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