Very Last Minute Thanksgiving Recipes: Butterhorns, Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Port Wine Cranberry Sauce & Food Processor Apple Pie

November 24, 2010 | By | COMMENTS

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There are crafty food bloggers out there (one might call them “smart” food bloggers, or “food bloggers who actually know what they’re doing”) who see a holiday coming and WHAM BLAM they have 1,000 holiday recipes posted weeks ahead of time so by the time the holiday rolls around you’re saturated with great holiday content. As you may have noticed (except for this post) I’m not such a “smart” food blogger. I did all my Thanksgiving post cooking so last minute that now it’s a day before the big holiday and here I am sharing with you a bunch of recipes that are probably coming 48 hours too late. But for those of you who are last minute planners (and I hope there are at least SOME of you), perhaps this will come as some sort of Thanksgiving lifeline? And even if not, these recipes are delicious even when it’s not Thanksgiving. So come with me and look at these Thanksgiving recipes, even if they’re a little tardy.

The first recipe comes from my friend Heidi’s blog, 101 Cookbooks. I’d been flipping through the beautiful new baking book “Good To The Last Grain” (it’s going on my Hanukkah list) and when I went food shopping afterwards, I bought a bag of whole wheat flour with no real plans for what to do with it. Then, that night, I was making one of my Killer Salads for dinner and I thought: “It’d be nice to have some hot dinner rolls to go with this salad.” I did some Googling for a dinner roll recipe involving whole wheat flour (since I had it) and stumbled upon Heidi’s recipe for Whole Wheat Butterhorns. [Click that link for the recipe; it's all there!] Here are some pictures of the Butterhorn making process:

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Here’s where you take some poetic license; after making the dough, letting it rise, dividing it into thirds and rolling out each third into a pizza-like round, you spread it with softened butter and sprinkle with either sesame seeds or poppy seeds (I used black sesame seeds). Then cut into little triangles which you roll up like croissants:

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Here are the butterhorns hot out of the oven:

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As you can see, they turn golden brown and fill your house or apartment with a wonderful yeasty/buttery aroma that couldn’t be more welcoming on Thanksgiving. The best part is you can make these right up to the baking stage and instead of popping them in the oven on a cookie sheet, you can stick the cookie sheet into the freezer for an hour or two and when the butterhorns are frozen solid you can stick them in a freezer bag and use them whenever you want hot dinner rolls with dinner. And on Thanksgiving that can be something of a lifesaver (you can make these tonight, freeze them, and bring them wherever you’re going tomorrow!)

So thanks Heidi for an awesome recipe.

Next up we have an old staple that I’ve never really blogged about before; Ina Garten’s roasted Brussels Sprouts.

There’s not much to say about this recipe except that it’s extraordinarily easy and the results yield the best Brussels Sprouts you’re likely to have in your life time (Ina compares them to French Fries, and she almost has a point.)

The key here is to keep the Brussels Sprouts very, very dry. (You want them to really roast, not steam.) To do that you can either dry them extraordinarily well with paper towels after you wash them or, do what I do: don’t wash them at all and just peel away their outer layers. Once you get rid of that outer layer, there’s nothing dirty about them and you’re ready to roll. (You may also want to cut the stem-end a little bit too if it looks unpalatable.)

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All you do is preheat your oven to 400 degrees, toss however many Brussels Sprouts you think you want (2 or 3 cups worth, I’d imagine, for a Thanksgiving dinner) with olive oil (several table spoons) a big pinch of kosher salt and a sprinkling of freshly ground black pepper. Into the oven it goes for 35 to 40 minutes and you should shake the sheet every so often to move the Brussels Sprouts around. When they’re done, sprinkle them one more time with salt and you’re ready to serve.

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Look at that color! You’re going to love it.

I don’t know about you, but my favorite part of the Thanksgiving table is often the cranberry sauce. I know there are many turkey detractors in the world (and I’m pretty ambivalent when it comes to turkey) but I think of turkey as a condiment for cranberry sauce. And this cranberry sauce, which comes from Epicurious, is a cranberry sauce to rival the best of them.

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Here’s all you do. In a saucepan, add 1 cup ruby port and 2 cinnamon sticks, broken in half:

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Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for five minutes. Then add 1 cup dried cranberries and continue to simmer for another 3 minutes.

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Then add 1 12-ounce bag of fresh cranberries (I actually bought beautiful cranberries from the farmer’s market, but that’s not necessary)…

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…3/4 cup of water, and 1/4 cup of sugar, bring to a boil, stir until the sugar dissolves. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and let it simmer for about 20 minutes (the sauce will thicken.) Transfer sauce to a bowl and discard the cinnamon sticks; you can chill, covered, for up to three days. If you’re anything like me, you’ll eat a spoonful from time to time. Just don’t tell anyone.

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Finally, for those of you making pies tonight to bring tomorrow, may I suggest that you use a food processor to make your pie dough?

Sure, I’m not really a pie dough making authority (um, see here) but after many failed efforts using various failing techniques, I find using a food processor the best way (and this wonderful New York Times pie-making video featuring Melissa Clark confirms that.)

I used the dough recipe from the “Baked” cookbook that I used to make this Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Pie when I set out to make Craig’s dad’s famous apple pie recently (recipe here).

It really doesn’t matter which pie dough recipe you use; if you want to use a food processor, just add all your dry ingredients first (the flour, the salt, perhaps some sugar) and blitz that for a few seconds. Then add all your fat (either just butter or butter and shortening)…

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…and blitz that in just until you get large pea-sized pieces.

Then you slowly add in ice water and here’s where I made a big mistake the first time I tried to do this: I added too much water and the dough was too wet.

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You want to add the least amount of water you can to bring the dough together. Melissa Clark suggests doing this tablespoon by tablespoon and I suggest you do the same (I was pouring in from a measuring cup and that was a bad move.)

So, on effort #2, I produced the following pie crust:

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Not bad, right? (It helps to roll it between two pieces of floured plastic, a tip I learned from an Amanda Hesser pie video on Food52.)

Here are apples from the farmer’s market (Empire, Winesap, Granny Smith) peeled, cut up and tossed with sugar and cinnamon going in, topped with some butter:

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Top crust on, no crimping because, following Martha Stewart’s instructions, I’d frozen the bottom crust and it was unmovable once it came out of the freezer. I brushed everything with an egg wash and sprinkled with turbinado sugar:

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Here it is, hot out of the oven:

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Not bad for a pie loser like me, right?

So, I’m going to click “Publish” right away in the hopes that this post inspires you last minute planners. And even if you’re not a last minute planner and there’s no way you’re changing your menu now, I hope everyone reading this has a very Happy Thanksgiving! I’ll see you back here, very bloated, on Monday.

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