Polish-style Christmas with carols and dinner will be held in Oakland on Dec. 3.
“Desserts” by the editors of Food & Wine
Chocoholics, pie lovers, cookie fiends and cake bakers will all have something to love about “Desserts.” Contributed by chefs, bakers and the Food & Wine staff, the creative recipes are enticing, made with easy-to-find ingredients (an exception might be the seaweed for the shortbread) and have simple-to-follow directions. Milk chocolate cookies are filled with malted cream; key lime pie sits on an almond-chocolate crust; apple and pumpkin pies are converted into bars; and cakes take a riff on puddings. Gift it to bakers who don’t like to be called dowdy or those who want to expand their horizon.
Justin Chapple (culinary director at Food & Wine) says: Make sure to line the pan with parchment paper as the apple at the bottom will stick to the pan when it caramelizes and the cake won’t invert properly. Also, the apple slice needs to be ½-inch thick; if it is too thin it will fall apart.
This Thanksgiving: I alternate hosting Thanksgiving, and when I do, I handle most of the cooking. But this year I’m not doing it. Ten of my friends are coming to town [New York City] and my apartment is a little too small. So we are dining out at North End Grill.
Holiday favorites: When I cook, I stick to a more traditional menu of turkey, mashed potatoes and pies. Although I stay in the realm of tradition, I like to upgrade the recipe by changing one ingredient. So I incorporate mayo in the mashed potatoes for a velvety texture and make a butternut squash gratin with poblano cream rather than a traditional cream. For the stuffing, I use sourdough or rustic bread and make a custard with eggs and chicken broth. Then I add sausage, onion and peppers.
Spatchcocked turkey fan: Last year, I hosted my family and I made a spatchcocked turkey and cooked it in half the time. When roasted at a higher temperature, it gets a crispier skin.
Guest contributions: I usually ask them to bring a dessert as it is more portable and can always be made in advance. And of course, the wine.
Go-to dessert: I like making a pear and cranberry slab pie. It’s gigantic and a crowd favorite. It’s slightly sweet and has bites of the tangy cranberry.
Apple Cake With Cranberries
This upside-down cake can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, halved, cored and sliced ½-inch thick
½ cup fresh or frozen cranberries
½ cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
¾ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup sour cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of a 9-inch round cake pan with parchment paper. Arrange apple slices in the pan in 2 slightly overlapping concentric circles and scatter the cranberries around the edge. Sprinkle brown sugar on top.
In a large bowl, using a hand mixer, beat the eggs with granulated sugar, sour cream and vanilla until smooth. Beat in flour, butter, baking powder and salt. Scrape batter into cake pan and smooth surface with a spatula.
Make cake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes, then invert and unmold onto a platter. Cut into wedges and serve warm.
Makes 1 9-inch cake.
— “Desserts” by the editors of Food & Wine (Oxmoor House; September 2017; $34.99)