Monday, October 19, 2009

Thanksgiving dress rehearsal, part deux.

The remaining parts of our fall feast, lemon popovers, roasted carrots and parsnips, and plum tart for dessert were probably my favorite parts of the meal. I am usually the person at thanksgiving ignoring the turkey and stuffing and gorging myself on corn, Brussels sprouts, and my grandma's homemade buns. Side dishes are not to be ignored.

Dessert was incredibly easy. I can't really take credit for making it, I really just assembled parts and put it in the oven. Frozen puff pastry, ripe plums, homemade raspberry jam, and some fresh whipped cream made for a delightfully light yet decadent ending to the meal.

Roasted Carrots and Parsnips

When carrots and parsnips are roasted, they become caramelized and end up like sweet little candies. I like to add some cayenne pepper to offset the sweetness a bit and give them a little kick.

2 pounds of carrots, chopped on diagonal into 1/2 inch thick chunks
1 pound parsnips, chopped on diagonal into 1/2 inch chunks
Kosher Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh minced thyme
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Toss all ingredients in a large bowl to coat the vegtables. Spread evenly on a baking sheet (I use a sil-pat for even cooking, no sticking, and easy cleanup) and roast for about 30 minutes until the carrots and parsnips are caramelized and cooked through.

Lemon Popovers
adapted (barely) from Food & Wine Magazine

I don't have a popover pan, but I saw this recipe in food and wine for making them in a muffin pan. It worked great, they were just a little more stout than regular popovers. I used lemon zest instead of orange, since that is what I had on hand, but will definitely be trying them with orange in the near future.

3 large eggs, room temperature
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 1/4 cups milk
3 tablespoons plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and divided
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, sugar, and lemon zest. Add the milk and 3 tablespoons melted butter and whisk to combine. In another bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add the wet ingredients into the flour mixture and whisk until combined with only small lumps remaining.

Brush the cups of a 12-cup muffin tin (or two 6-cup tins) with the remaining melted butter. Place the buttered muffin tins into the preheated oven for 5 minutes, until butter starts to bubble and brown. Carefully fill the muffin tins half to three-fourths the way full with the popover batter. Bake the popovers for about 30 minutes until they pop over the muffin cups and are golden brown.

When they come out of the oven, stick each one with a knife to let the steam out so they don't get soggy on the inside. Serve right away. They are great with just a bit of butter, or also with some jam or preserves.

Plum - Raspberry Tart

1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
3 small plums, pitted, quartered, then very thinly sliced
1/4 cup raspberry jam or preserves
1 egg
2 teaspoons water
2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons confectioners sugar, plus more for dusting

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Unfold thawed puff pastry on a sil-pat or parchment paper lined baking sheet. Poke the pastry with a fork all over leaving a 1 1/2 inch border around the edges 'un-poked'. This will help the center stay flat under the fruit, and the edges puff up around the filling.

Arranged plum slices in rows on puff pastry leaving a 1 1/2 inch border around each side. Fold edges of pastry over to encase the plums. Beat the egg together with the water, and brush it on the top of the puff pastry edges. Sprinkle the sugar over the plum center. Bake until pastry is golden brown and plums are bubbly, about 20 minutes.

While the pastry is baking, heat the jam or preserves in a small saucepan over low heat until warm.

In a large bowl, combine the heavy cream with the confectioners sugar and beat with a hand mixer until it forms soft peaks.

Once the tart comes out of the oven, brush the plums with the hot raspberry jam, and dust with confectioners sugar.

Serve immediately with a big dollop of whipped cream.

After all this, you will probably want to take a nap. I did, and it was glorious. Heres hoping your first fall meals warm up your kitchens and your stomachs.

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