November 25th, 2011

Post-Thanksgiving post

Well, it’s over—and all that’s left are the leftovers, the memories, the extra poundage, and the recipes.

This dessert was one of the stars of yesterday’s meal at my family’s celebration:

Recipe: Cranberry Tart

Adapted from “Dolce Italiano: Desserts From the Babbo Kitchen,” by Gina DePalma (W. W. Norton, 2007)

Time: 2 hours plus 1 hour’s chilling

1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup instant or fine polenta
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
Freshly grated zest of 1 lemon
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, diced
1 large egg plus 3 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup light corn syrup
3 cups (12-ounce bag) fresh cranberries, picked over
1/2 cup heavy cream
Confectioners’ sugar, optional.

1. Place 1 1/4 cups flour, polenta, 1 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon salt and lemon zest in a food processor and process to blend. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse sand. In a small bowl, beat whole egg with oil and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Uncover processor, pour in liquid ingredients and pulse until a ball of dough forms. This may take 20 or more quick pulses. If necessary, sprinkle in a little water if mixture does not come together. Form dough into a disk and wrap in plastic. Chill at least 1 hour.

2. In a 3-quart saucepan, melt remaining sugar over low heat. Stir in syrup and bring to a boil. Add cranberries and cook, stirring, about 2 minutes, until they begin to release juice. Remove to a bowl and allow to cool about 20 minutes.

3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll out dough to an 12-inch circle and fit into a 10-inch loose-bottom tart pan. If dough tears, it can easily be pressed together.

4. In a bowl, whisk together cream and 2 tablespoons flour. Whisk in three egg yolks, remaining vanilla and a pinch of salt. Pour over cranberries and fold together. Pour into tart shell, place pan on a baking sheet and bake about 40 minutes, until filling bubbles but is not yet firm, and pastry browns. Cool in pan before removing sides; if desired, dust with confectioners’ sugar.

Yield: 10 to 12 servings.

And for those of you who asked: no, the photo I posted yesterday of a Thanksgiving meal was not of mine, it was just a stock photo. But here’s a photo of our meal yesterday (none of which I cooked). It featured, among other things: a regular and a wild turkey (the latter shot by my brother after several years of hot pursuit); two kinds of stuffing; brussel sprouts with bacon; braised fennel with Parmesen; roast cauliflower with mustard-lemon sauce; braised chard with almonds and raisins; mashed potatoes with celery root and wild mushrooms; beet salad; sauerkraut with white wine; cranberry chutney with walnuts, raisins, and apples; gravy; sweet potatoes with brown sugar and lemon; salad with radishes, blue cheese, and pomegranate seeds; blueberry pie, apple pie, pumpkin pie, tiramisu—and, of course, the above cranberry tart.

In case you think that was a lot of food, it was. But there were also a lot of people there.

13 Responses to “Post-Thanksgiving post”

  1. expat Says:

    Can I come next year? That sounds wonderful.

  2. Kurt Says:

    Yes, that sounds very good.

    For the dinner I attended, I tried making some pumpkin chocolate chip bar cookies using a Martha Stewart recipe I found online. They tasted great, but for some reason they didn’t hold together properly. I don’t know what I did wrong.

  3. Scott Says:

    That looks like quite a delicious spread.

    One of my best Thanksgiving memories was celebrated on my paternal grandparents farm when I was a little kid. Nearly all of the feast was homegrown.

    They raised the turkeys on the farm. They grew and had already canned for the winter most of the vegetables such as the corn, green beans, and even the pickles. As well as all of the jams and jellies.

    But my two favorites were the pecan pie made from pecans picked from their pecan orchard and my grandmother’s homemade bread with her homemade grape jelly spread on it. It didn’t get any better than that.

    The worst Thanksgiving was the year we celebrated with my maternal great-grandparents. My great-grandfather was a Swedish immigrant, and apparently the Swedes have a tradition of eating a disgusting “food” called lutefisk between now and the end of the year. My mother said eating it will bring good luck in the following year. To anyone who doesn’t know, lutefisk is the most disgusting, foul, repugnant “food” imaginable. The smell alone creates a gag response. Forcing a kid to eat it borders on child abuse. That’s one tradition that didn’t stick with me.

  4. Marine's Mom Says:

    That’s quite the gourmet feast. I would have a rebellion on my hands if tried anything exotic. I broke tradition one year and cooked a ham instead of a turkey and I’ve never lived it down.

  5. expat Says:


    My childhood Thanksgivings were hog butchering day at my grandfathers, and there were hoards of relatives and helpers. I remember the food served less than the sausage made, the lard rendered, and the tenderloin being canned. It was quite exciting. There was also a cookstove in the kitchen as well as the gas range. Our turkeys came from his nephew down the road and fortunately they were plucked and in the oven when I arrived.

  6. jon baker Says:

    Fennel-I don’t recalll ever having tried it, but it is funny you mentioned it as I recently saw some in a vegetable seed magazine and wondered what it was like- and leeks also-wondered about them as well.

  7. Gringo Says:

    That tart recipe is the first time I have ever seen olive oil added to sugar, cream, and cranberries.

  8. John Dough Says:


    I would have thought that a green apple pie would have been apropos as a dessert for your Thanksgiving table

  9. expat Says:

    jon baker,

    There is a wonderful Martha Stewart recipe using fennel. She calls it onion-raisin conserve and recommends it with pork tenderloin. It is basically, red onion and fennel strips sauted in butter. Then raisins that have been softened in fresh OJ are added, and the mixture is cooked till it softens. I use it as a flavor enhancer to my menu rather than as a main vegie. My guests have always loved it. The anis flavor of fennel is a nice change.

    As for leeks–they are great. I don’t use them much as a single vegie, but they are great in soups (lentil, potato) and stocks. If I don’t need a whole one, I chop the extra and freeze it for soups.

  10. Sgt. Mom Says:

    We (my daughter and I) were guests at the house of the mother-in-law of my daughter’s friend from diagonally across the road from us. They’re Hispanic, but patriotically American, and our hostess did it up brown, in the classically American style. We thought of offering to bring something, but it was probably best not – as there were so many leftovers! We went home with two heavy-laden plates.
    We are assisting one of the grandsons to join the Air Force, my daughterhelps our neighbor with child-care and transportation – in turn for which we get endless supplies of foodstuff. It was a lovely afternoon, a quarter in Spanish (which daughter and I do understand a lot of) and three-quarters in English (which neighbor does understand a lot of…) It’s one of those complicated trans-border families – about a half a foot in Mexico, culturally – but American in loyalty, a hundred and ten per cent.

  11. jon baker Says:

    thanks expat

  12. expat Says:

    Here is Martha’s fennel page:

    Maybe it’s time fo me to expand my repetoire.

  13. Mrs Whatsit Says:

    Neo, how did you cook the wild turkey? Friends who hunt on our land give us one every now and then, but I haven’t found an ideal way to cook it yet, with that dry, muscular texture. Venison, on the other hand — yum!

About Me

Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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