What a pleasure it was to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with our daughter Alicia, her partner Katie and both of our families! We spent a few magical days gathered around a large table, as we shared Thanksgiving dinner and other meals together. We enjoyed leisurely conversations filled with family stories and collective memories.
Katie’s grandparents owned a dairy farm in New Jersey and I loved hearing stories about the taste of the rich milk that the cows produced and this led to a conversation about making clabbered milk; naturally fermented raw milk that her great grandfather enjoyed every day. He attested that this habit was part of his remarkable longevity, he lived until almost 102 years! The word “clabber” comes from the Irish language, and it means “to thicken.” If clabbered milk is allowed to thicken long enough, it becomes clotted cream, a popular spread for scones in many parts of the United Kingdom and Ireland.
Alicia cooked an incredible meal with the most delicious turkey ever that she spatchcocked (the backbone is removed to make the turkey lay flat), brined and rubbed with an herb mixture of parsley, rosemary, thyme, onion, lemon juice and olive oil. Roasted quickly in a hot oven, the turkey had crispy burnished skin and incredibly tender flavorful meat. I made a large chicken with this same method the other night and I will never make a chicken or turkey any other way ever again. The recipe will appear shortly in another blog post!
As always after a Thanksgiving feast, we were happily full and contented, but after a few hours we could start to think about dessert. We had a quite a lineup that included a beautifully decorated key lime cheesecake and apple cranberry pie made by Alicia.
I made a sugar free apple pie and oft requested Kabocha Squash Pie; the recipe will also appear in another post! The recipe comes from the NYT Book of Desserts by the dessert chef Pichet Ong.
The next morning, we gathered for brunch with smoked salmon and bagels from Zabars in New York. Katie’s father, Mark who is a wonderfully talented baker and cook decided we could use some of his dried fruit scones and we all happily agreed!
Quite simply, these are the best scones I have ever tasted. They have a delicate texture with a crispy sugary top and irresistible flavor. I asked Mark for the recipe and here you go. He said that the most important thing is to use heavy cream; don’t be tempted to use anything lighter. The cream is used instead of butter in the recipe and is what makes the scones so light.
Dried Fruit Cream Scones
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup dried apricots, chopped
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons sugar
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Use an ungreased baking sheet.
Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in a bowl, stirring with a fork to mix well. Add the dried apricots. Still using a fork, stir in the cream and mix until the dough holds together in a rough mass (the dough will be quite sticky).
Lightly flour a board and transfer the dough to it. Knead the dough 8 or 9 times. Pat into 2 circles about 6 inches round. For the glaze, spread the butter over the top and side of the circle of dough and sprinkle the sugar on top. Cut each circle into 8 wedges and place each piece on the baking sheet, allowing about an inch between pieces.
Bake for about 11 minutes, or until golden brown
Yield: 12 scones
We had more than enough leftovers for the next day and plenty of desserts! At one point , the conversation turned to summer fruit and Alicia lamented that for the last several years, she had missed the short sour cherry season. She wistfully talked about making sour cherry pie. Somehow, even with extra desserts on hand, it was suggested that if we could find a good source of frozen sour cherries, that maybe Alicia would like to make a cherry pie! Katie’s mother Kathy looked up sour cherries online at the venerable grocery store Wegmans and the parents in the group made the executive decision that cherry pie should be made; if Alicia was willing! Mark, Paul and I headed off to Wegmans on a mission to find sour cherries. Mark had a Wegman’s app on his phone; we quickly located the frozen fruit section and purchased flash frozen sour cherries that came from Wolcott, New York near Lake Ontario.
We got 2 bags, so Alicia would have come cherries for another time. The pie was delicious; the bright red sour cherries had been picked at their peek and were packed full of flavor. The pastry crust was buttery and tender with a beautiful pattern that Alicia had created; served with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream, it topped off a perfect holiday; with stomachs and most importantly, our spirits full!
AND: Here is the Tree of the Week:
STAY SAFE AND WARM!