Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Thanksgiving



I've got about one million things to do, but feel I MUST post these recipes first. I have finally become a person with a specialty -- or a "usual" -- for Thanksgiving I make a pumpkin praline torte. Husband found the recipe in the back of a Taste Of Home magazine years ago, and said, "I think that sounds good." The rest, as they say, is history. And so, here is the recipe.

Pumpkin Praline Torte

¾ c. packed brown sugar
1/3 c. butter
3 T. whipping cream
¾ c. chopped pecans

CAKE:
4 eggs
1 2/3 c. sugar
1 c. vegetable oil
2 c. canned pumpkin (or 15 oz. can)
¼ t. vanilla extract
2 c. all purpose flour
2 t. baking powder
2 t. pumpkin pie spice
1 t. baking soda
1 t. salt

TOPPING:
1 ¾ c. whipping cream
¼ c. confectioners sugar
¼ t. vanilla extract
Additional chopped nuts

In a heavy saucepan, combine brown sugar, butter and cream. Cook and stir over low heat until sugar is dissolved. Pour into two well-greased 9-in. round baking pans. Sprinkle with pecans; cool. In a mixing bowl, beat eggs, sugar and oil. Add pumpkin and vanilla. Combine dry ingredients; add to pumpkin mixture and beat just until blended. Carefully spoon over brown sugar mixture. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks to cool completely. Place one cake layer, praline side up on a serving plate. In a mixing bowl, beat cream until soft peaks form. Beat in sugar and vanilla. Spread two-thirds over cake. Top witsecond cake layer and remaining whipped cream. Sprinkle with additional pecans if desired. Store in refrigerator.

This next recipe is from the Washington Post a few weeks ago... soft buttermilk rolls. I also made these this year, and will continue to make them as often as possible. I first made them for an office Thanksgiving party and everyone loved them. A drift on a cloud of good feelings, I made them for my mother-in-law's dinner and not a single person mentioned them.... typical. But don't despair, I know they are delicious and they are going up on the blog, darn it!

Soft Buttermilk Rolls

4 t. active dry yeast (do not use instant or quick rising)
¼ t. plus 1/3 c. sugar
¼ c. warm water (105 to 110 degrees)
2 large eggs
1 c. low-fat or regular buttermilk
¼ t. baking soda
8 T. (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature, cut into 1 tablespoon chunks. Plus butter for greasing muffin tins and greasing the proofing bowl.
4 c. flour, plus more as needed for work surface
1 t. salt

Combine the yeast, ¼ t. of the sugar and warm water in a measuring cup. Allow the mixture to stand for 6 to 7 minutes, until the mixture has swollen.

Whisk together the eggs and the 1/3 c. sugar in a medium mixing bowl. Whisk together the buttermilk and baking soda in a separate small cup. Add the buttermilk-baking soda mixture, the yeast mixture and the butter to the egg-sugar mixture, stirring to combine.

Combine the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl, stirring to mix well. Add the egg-yeast mixture and stir to combine with a wooden spoon or paddle.

At this point the dough will be dry in some parts and moist in others. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and knead lightly to bring the dough together; it will be sticky. Sprinkle the work surface with more flour as needed.

Knead the dough for 7 or 8 minutes until it is smooth and moderately soft, incorporating as much of the flour as needed to achieve that state.

Use butter to liberally grease the inside of a proofing bowl. Transfer the dough to the bowl, turning to caot it all over. Use kitchen scissors to make several cuts in thedough, then cover the bowl tightly with a sheet of plastic wrap. Let rise at room temperature for 1 hour and 45 minutes or until the dough has doubled in bulk.

Butter the inside of 24 muffin cups

Divide the dough in half. Cut each half into 12 equal pieces

To form cloverleaf rolls, cut each of the 12 pieces into 3 equal pieces. Use your hands to roll the pieces into smooth balls and place them in the prepared muffin cup.

Cover each pan of rolls loosely with a sheet of lightly buttered plastic wrap. Let the rolls rise at room temperature for 60 to 75 minutes or until they are puffy and have doubled in bulk (or overnight and up to 24 hours in the refrigerator).

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes at 375. Cool the rolls in pans for 15 minutes.

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