My husband Jim’s birthday falls around Thanksgiving and it is probably his favorite food holiday. I always cook Thanksgiving dinner at home, and we usually have company, but my menu can be fancy (lots of courses) or simple (the basics and just one dessert), depending on how busy I am at the restaurant. Fancy or simple, the menu has to include Jim’s favorites: turkey, of course, sweet potatoes, stuffing, gravy, homemade cranberry sauce and a homemade dessert. When I have time and energy to spare I make two desserts and both stuffing and mashed potatoes, plus a salad and appetizer.
Here are two Thanksgiving menus I have often prepared, plus a recipe for an entirely new dessert to celebrate one of my favorite seasonal fruits: pears. The recipes for courses in both menus can be found in the cookbook (Cooking for Your Gluten-Free Teen) or in this year’s blog posts. There are three exceptions: turkey (everyone has their own version), cranberry sauce and fresh fruit cup. Recipes for cooked and uncooked gluten-free cranberry sauce and relish made with fresh cranberries are commonplace and usually featured on the packages of cranberries. And my easy formula for fresh fruit cup is foolproof.
Simply choose the best seasonal tree fruit, berries or melons. Wash, core, peel and cut (everything except berries) in 1-inch pieces. Gently combine in a large non-reactive bowl with ¼ cup of sugar, cover and refrigerate overnight. Allow ½ cup of fruit person. Spoon into glass dishes (to showcase the bright colors) and garnish with fresh mint. For adults you can drizzle each dish with 1 teaspoon of rum, brandy or fruit liqueur. And for adults I suggest accompanying the meal with a dry Riesling from Germany, Oregon or Washington State.
Appetizer or Soup (choose one): Sarah’s Spring Rolls or Green Onion Dip and rice chips, or Potato Ham Bone Soup with Tomato Relish
Salad: Fresh Greens with Ranch-Style Dressing
Fresh Cranberry-Orange Relish
First Try Apple Buckle Pie
Fresh Seasonal Fruit Cup
Cooked Cranberry Sauce
The latest dessert in my gluten-free repertoire is in honor of one of my favorite fall fruits: pears.
I like to cook with two varieties: Anjou and Bartlett, both grown in USA. 84% of all pears grown in this country are produced in Washington and Oregon states. Pears do not ripen on the tree but are picked green and ripen easily in the home kitchen, unwrapped and placed in a basket or on a plate. For the Pear Apple Crisp I like to use pears that are not softly ripe but just beginning to ripen and still firm.
Both Anjou and Bartlett pears come as green or red. The green ripens to yellow in each case.
- 2 pounds (about 6 medium-large) firm Anjou or Bartlett pears
- 3 large eggs, beaten
- ½ cup rice or dairy milk
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup 1, 2, 3, Gluten-Free Flour
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon pure lemon extract
- ½ teaspoon finely grated nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Streusel Topping
- Sweetened whipped cream or nondairy whipped topping, garnish
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray an 8-inch square glass or ceramic baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
- Quarter pears. Remove core and seeds from each quarter, peel, and cut quarters into 4 slices each. Place directly in baking dish.
- In a medium bowl combine eggs, milk, sugar, gluten-free flour, vanilla, lemon extract, nutmeg, and salt. Beat to mix into a smooth batter.
- Pour batter evenly over the pears in the baking dish. Top evenly with streusel. Bake until puffed and cooked through, 1 hour. Remove from oven. Cut 2 by 4 into 8 squares, or else scoop out with a large spoon. Serve in bowls topped with lightly sweetened whipped cream or gluten-free, nondairy whipped topping.
Yield: about 1 ½ cup
1/3 cup 1, 2, 3, Gluten-Free Flour
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons canola oil
½ cup chopped pecans, optional
In a small bowl, using a fork, stir together flour, sugar and canola oil until thoroughly moistened. Add pecans if using and stir to mix. Sprinkle evenly over top of pear crisp.
Variations for those sensitive to dairy, tree nuts and eggs: Use rice milk and omit nuts or replace with finely chopped dried cranberries or with gluten-free mini chocolate chips. For egg allergies, consult package directions on Gluten-Free Ener-G Egg Replacer to replace 3 whole eggs, but mix the batter right before baking.
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