‘Tis the season for baking and feasting! We asked a few of our authors to share their favorite holiday recipes. We had so many delicious recipes sent in that we’re making this a two-part post! Check out Part 2 for recipes by Angie Smith, Margaret Feinberg, and Rebekah Lyons.
(Roughly) My Nanny’s Cornbread Dressing
from Beth Moore
I say roughly, Sisters, because none of the women in my family have ever wanted anyone else in the kitchen. My sisters and I were not taught to cook at our mother or grandmother’s knee like some of you were. We were told to play outside or someone was “gonna to cut a switch.” I write these words with delight, not spite. If I’d had five children under one roof, I would have threatened the same thing. My brothers and sisters and I have each figured out our cornbread dressing recipes based on taste. Below is the closest I’ve come in my kitchen to my mother, Aletha’s, and grandmother, Minnie Ola’s, recipes. The only reason I’m braving this recipe is because young cooks ask constantly for dressing recipes and hardly anyone coughs one up because no one has it written down. So, please, at least give me an “B+” for effort here because your blog mama loves you and she’s willing to give it a happy shot. I don’t stuff my turkey with this. I bake it separately but you can certainly use this for stuffing. Just Google the variance in preparation. This recipe will make far more than you can stuff into a turkey. If you have a smaller family, half it and you’ll have plenty.
- 4 pieces of bacon, fried crispy for the bacon grease alone. Eat the bacon while no one is looking and save the fat for this recipe.
- Two batches of baked cornbread
- 4 baked biscuits. I do not know why. Because my grandmother used them and so did my mom. That’s why. The cheap Pillsbury buttermilk biscuits in the can work great. That’s what I use every time.
- 3 pieces of plain white toast
- 1 cup of butter
- 2 chopped onions
- 1/2 cup or so of chopped celery (To your taste. I use a bit more because I like celery.)
- Salt, pepper, and sage to taste
- 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
- 2 eggs
- Fry bacon in an iron skillet if you have one and remove the bacon. If you fry them in a regular pan, just pour the drippings into your baking dish.
- Mix up a double batch of cornbread according to the recipe on the back of any bag of cornmeal. (I always substitute the vegetable oil in a cornbread recipe for an equal amount of Crisco shortening because the shortening makes it so much lighter and fluffier.) We want it light and fluffy!!
- Pour the batter into a nice, hot skillet with the bacon grease in it and bake until it is done all the way in the middle. (I’m feeling compulsive like I need to say stuff like, “Don’t let your grease catch on fire!” But I am going to assume many of you have some basic kitchen experience.) You’ll know it’s done when a sharp knife should come out clean from the center. (Don’t cut yourself on the knife. Stop it, Beth.)
- Bake about 4 biscuits according to directions. The cheap Pillsbury buttermilk biscuits in the can are perfect. (I do not know why. Because my Nanny did and my mother did, that’s why.) It’s awkward to just bake 4 so go ahead and bake the whole can and eat what’s left with your bacon.
- Toast about 3 pieces of white bread. (A friend of mine uses the equivalent of crumbled white French bread instead of biscuits and toast. It’s the same general idea: cornbread dressing usually includes some regular bread.)
- Crumble up the cooled cornbread, baked biscuits, and toast together.
Note: I do all the above on the evening before if I’m doing a noon meal or too many dishes are competing for oven space.
- If you are roasting a turkey (which is optimum for great dressing), reserve a cup of the drippings for the dressing and the rest, of course, for your gravy. (Make sure the turkey is completely done before you remove drippings.) I put my drippings in a gravy separator cup so that the drippings will separate from the fat. If you can’t find a measuring cup with a low spout, put a regular measuring cup of drippings in the refrigerator and the top layer of fat will congeal as it gets cold. You can then spoon it or scrape it off. Keep all turkey drippings in the refrigerator if you are not using them right away.
- Saute 2 chopped onions and a ½ cup (or more, to taste) chopped celery in a cup of butter. (This is not the recipe for heart health. You can eat the rest of your celery for the rest of the week if you have to.) Pour the mixture into a very large bowl with all the crumbled breads in it.
- This is where you start doing it by feel and taste: Add salt and pepper and sage. Remember that the sage is the primary flavor that makes cornbread dressing distinct but it can certainly be overdone. Start with a tablespoon, taste the mixture and add from there to suit your taste. Add 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning. Add 4 cups of canned chicken broth and the cup of reserved turkey drippings. If needed, keep adding more chicken broth little by little until the mixture is just a bit wetter than you like your dressing. It will dry out some as it bakes but, if you get it too soupy, the dressing will turn out too wet. You want the consistency to be fairly dense without being dry.
- After the above mixture suits your taste, stir in 2 beaten raw eggs. (Don’t taste it after the raw eggs are added unless you are really brave.)
- Put in a large greased baking dish and bake for an hour to an hour and 15 minutes. After an hour, I start touching the top of mine with my fingertips and when it’s pretty solid, I consider it done. Don’t let it get too brown on top or it will be too brickish.
I like to put a tablespoonful of baked dressing into my gravy as I make it but that’s just me. I’m not a giblet person so I give the gravy a little added texture with this little addition.
Serve with lots of cranberry sauce and, if it’s good, talk about it a lot during the meal because you earned the affirmation even if you have to give it to yourself.
from Jennifer Rothschild
- 2 quarts apple juice (8 cups)
- 1 pint cranberry juice (2 cups)
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 sticks cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon whole allspice
- 1 orange, studded with whole cloves
Combine all ingredients in a pot and simmer for at least 1 hour. Serve hot. A crock pot or coffee urn works well for keeping it warm and simmering, ready to serve. Having the wassail brewing also makes your whole house smell like Christmas!
Ingredients on the Party-Size 5-Gallon Scale:
- 4 gallons apple juice
- 1 gallon cranberry juice
- 6 cups sugar
- 8-10 cinnamon sticks
- 8 teaspoons whole allspice
- 2 oranges, studded with whole cloves
Perfect Apple Pie
from Mary Jo Sharp
prep time 30 min
total time 3 hr 0 min
- 1 box refrigerated pie crusts, softened as directed on box
- 6 cups thinly sliced, peeled apples (6 medium)
- ¾ cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Heat oven to 425°F. Place 1 pie crust in ungreased 9-inch glass pie plate. Press firmly against side and bottom.
- In large bowl, gently mix filling ingredients; spoon into crust-lined pie plate. Top with second crust. Wrap excess top crust under bottom crust edge, pressing edges together to seal; flute. Cut slits or shapes in several places in top crust.
- Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until apples are tender and crust is golden brown. Cover edge of crust with 2- to 3-inch wide strips of foil after first 15 to 20 minutes of baking to prevent excessive browning. Cool on cooling rack at least 2 hours before serving.
White Chocolate Bread Pudding
from Jen Wilkin
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted
- 3 cups whipping cream
- 10 ounces white chocolate morsels
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 8 egg yolks
- 1 ½ loaf French bread (baguette), sliced into 1/4 inch pieces
- White Chocolate Sauce (see recipe below)
- Vanilla ice cream for serving
- Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Pour butter into a 13×9-inch baking pan, or in bottoms of ramekins.
- In the top of a double boiler over hot water, combine cream and white chocolate; stir until white chocolate is melted. Remove from heat and set aside.
- In sauce pan, heat the milk, sugar, eggs and egg yolks until warm, stirring constantly to keep the eggs from cooking. Pour the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture, whisking constantly.
- Place the bread slices into prepared baking pan, about three layers deep. Pour 1/2 of the mixture over the bread and let settle for a while, making sure the bread soaks up all the mixture. Top with the rest of the mixture. Cover with aluminum foil and bake 1 hour. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes until the top is golden brown. Serve warm with White Chocolate Sauce, a small scoop of vanilla ice cream, and strawberry puree.
White Chocolate Sauce:
- 8 ounces white chocolate
- 3 ounces heavy cream
Heat cream and white chocolate in top of double boiler until melted and smooth. Spoon over bread pudding.
Blend strawberries or raspberries in food processor until smooth.
Makes 10 servings or 8 large ramekins.