Friday, November 27, 2009
Traditions and twists
Thanksgiving has come and gone. Too quickly if you ask me. We spend hours shopping, cooking for if we are lucky an hour at the most eating. Is it worth it? Probably not, but its tradition and memories. It has always been important to me to keep the traditions I grew up with. Certain things are meant to be kept the way they are. Holiday Dinners are one of them for me. Food is an important memory in most of our pasts. Taste, smells and visuals bring back exact moments in time. I celebrated Thanksgiving in Texas a week early with my brother and his family, as I blogged about in my two earlier posts. He requested a few dishes from our past that I was happy to whip up. He doesnt like change, and finds traditions as important as I do. The past few years I have been scheduled to work on Thanksgiving, such is the life of a chef. This year I am not yet working. Married cousins, children with partners and working relatives seem to change on a yearly basis as to where we celebrate our holidays. This year I stayed home with my mom and her husband. She decided she wanted a big Thanksgiving dinner and since she wasnt feeling well, I tried to do most of the cooking. Several years ago I started cooking dinner for my mom and tried to keep it traditional with that twist of a professional chef. My menu this year is as follows:
Roast Turkey / moms homemade gravy
Papa John's Stuffing
Bourbon Sweet Potatoes
Green Bean Casserole
Roasted Beets and Carrots
and for dessert I tried something new....A Pumpkin Banana Mousse Pie.....Everything was traditional for our family except the dessert. It was delicious and very easy to make.
Pumpkin Banana Mousse Pie/Tart
Ingredients For the crust:
• 2 cups graham cracker crumbs (14 crackers) » 1/3 cup sugar
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
For the filling:
• 1/2 cup half-and-half
• 1 (15-ouhce) can pumpkin puree
• 1 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
• 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon » 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
• 3 extra-large egg yolks
• 1 package (2 teaspoons) unflavored gelatin
• 1 ripe banana, finely mashed
• 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
• 1/2 cup cold heavy cream
• 2 tablespoons sugar For the decoration:
» 1 cup (1/2 pint) cold heavy cream
» 1/4 cup sugar
» 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
» Orange zest, optional
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, cinnamon, and melted butter in a bowl and mix well. Pour into an 11-inch tart pan with a removable bottom and press evenly into the sides and then the bottom. Bake for 10 minutes and then cool to room temperature.
For the filling, heat the half-and-half, pumpkin, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water until hot, about 5 minutes. Whisk the egg yolks in another bowl, stir some of the hot pumpkin into the egg yolks to heat them, then pour the egg-pumpkin mixture back into the double boiler and stir well. Heat the mixture over the simmering water for another 4 to 5 minutes, until it begins to thicken, stirring constantly. You don't want the eggs to scramble. Remove from the heat.
Dissolve the gelatin in 1/4 cup cold water. Add the dissolved gelatin, banana, and orange zest to the pumpkin mixture and mix well. Set aside to cool.
Whip the heavy cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment until soft peaks form. Add the sugar and continue to whisk until you have firm peaks. Carefully fold the whipped cream into the pumpkin mixture and pour it into the cooled tart shell. Chill for 2 hours or overnight.
For the decoration, whip the heavy cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until soft peaks form. Add the sugar and vanilla and continue to whisk until you have firm peaks. Pipe or spoon the whipped cream decoratively on the tart and sprinkle, if desired, with orange zest. Serve chilled. PS- If you dont feel like making the pie crust - use a ready made graham cracker crust.