Your Holiday Feast

Turkey day is right around the corner! Have you planned your menu yet?

If you’re in the mood to add a new dish or two to your Thanksgiving dinner, how about homemade cranberry sauce or a pumpkin twist on breakfast sweet rolls? These three recipes from area chefs will put that extra-special touch on your holiday feast.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
Chef Jeffrey Bane, The Chef’s Academy, Morrisville

1/3 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, beaten
1 package active dry yeast
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup bread flour

3/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract

Egg wash:
1 whole egg
2 tablespoons water

1/2 cup water
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons shortening
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 pounds powdered sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon almond or vanilla extract

Warm milk and butter just until warm and butter is melted.

In large mixer bowl, combine pumpkin, sugar and salt. Add milk mixture and beat with an electric mixer until well mixed. Beat in egg and yeast.

In a separate mixing bowl, combine flours. Add half of flour mixture to pumpkin mixture. Switch to a dough hook and beat mixture on low speed for 5 minutes, scraping sides of bowl frequently. Add remaining flour and mix thoroughly; dough will be very soft.

Turn into lightly greased bowl, then grease surface of dough lightly. Cover and let rise in warm place until doubled. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Punch dough down onto floured surface, roll and stretch dough into a rectangle.

In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and cinnamon. Brush surface of dough with melted butter. Sprinkle with brown sugar mixture.

Beginning with long side of dough, roll up jelly-roll style. Pinch seam to seal. With a sharp serrated knife, gently cut roll into 12 1-inch slices.

Place rolls cut side up in greased 9-inch square baking pan. Cover and let rise to proof 20 minutes.

Crack egg into small bowl; whisk until well blended. Add water and whisk well. Brush on unbaked rolls.

Bake rolls about 20 minutes, or until golden. Meanwhile, prepare frosting.

Heat water, butter, shortening, salt and syrup in a pan almost to a boil. Place sifted sugar in the bowl of a mixer with a paddle attachment. Add the hot mixture while the paddle is moving on a low speed. Blend until smooth. Add almond extract. Adjust consistency with small amounts of water or extra powdered sugar. Keep warm on a double boiler until ready to drizzle over the pumpkin cinnamon rolls. Makes 1 dozen rolls.

Cranberry Sauce
Chef Ryan Payne, Southern Season and The Weathervane, Chapel Hill

1 pound fresh cranberries, washed and dried

2 cups granulated sugar

¼ cup brandy

⅓ cup water

1 cinnamon stick

½ teaspoon ground allspice

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 orange, zested and juiced

In a medium pot, combine the cranberries, sugar, brandy and water. Stir to blend. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. Reduce to a simmer and add the cinnamon stick, allspice and nutmeg. Stir to blend and simmer for an additional 5 to 7 minutes.

Some of the cranberries will burst and some will remain whole. Stir in the orange juice and zest. Remove from heat and allow to cool before serving.


Caramelized Cauliflower Gratin

Executive Chef Steven Greene, The Umstead Hotel and Spa, Cary

2, 2-pound heads of cauliflower

1 pound unsalted butter or 2 cups olive oil

4 tablespoons flour

2 ½ cups whole milk

1 lemon, juiced and zested

½ cup Parmesan cheese

½ cup hazelnuts, chopped and toasted

4 tablespoons fresh chives, sliced

4 tablespoons fresh-picked thyme

Ground nutmeg to taste

Fresh baby kale to taste (seasoned with hazelnut oil and salt)

Salt to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place the whole cauliflower heads with the stems partially removed on a sheet pan fitted with a resting rack. Brush with melted butter and season lightly with salt.

Set a timer for 10 minutes, baste with melted butter when the 10-minute timer finishes. Repeat this process until you total 30 minutes. You should be able to push a small knife through the top of the cauliflower; some ovens may vary.

While cauliflower is roasting, place 4 tablespoons of butter in a small saucepan. Let the butter slightly brown (for flavor). Slowly whisk in flour, and let cook for about 4 minutes.

Slowly whisk in whole milk and cook until sauce begins to thicken.

Add ½ cup of Parmesan cheese and half of the hazelnuts, and slowly cook for another minute.

Season with the lemon juice and zest; add salt and nutmeg to taste.

Remove the cauliflower from the oven and let cool.

Slice the cauliflower thin without breaking it apart too much.

Pour enough Parmesan sauce to cover the bottom of pan. Layer cauliflower with the crispy edges facing out. Season each layer with salt and Parmesan.

Top the cauliflower with the rest of sauce and sprinkle the rest of grated Parmesan on top along with hazelnuts. Bake for another 8-10 minutes; finish with chives, thyme and the fresh dressed kale leaves.

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