I’ve been wanting to share this “comfort-food”-themed Gourmet Group meal with you, since I had the pleasure of eating it, a year ago. Unfortunately, I didn’t get photos right away, and then the season had kind of passed. I’m sharing it with you now, because some of the ideas, might work well on your Thanksgiving table. If not, you might look at this menu for another autumn/winter time feast.
Let’s start with the centerpiece, because it was so beautiful in its simplicity, and would be quite simple to re-create for Thanksgiving.
My friends, Angie and Raquel hosted the meal, and for the table setting, they pulled together several elements they already had, borrowing some from their neighbor, who came and helped with the pretty stuff. The main element, is this large vase filled with mini-white pumpkins, and pomegranates. I’ve always loved the use of food/fruit in centerpieces, particularly at Thanksgiving time, since the bounty of the harvest, is what we are celebrating. I liked the eclectic mix of candlesticks they used, and thought it worked well together, with all the varying heights.
Here was the menu:
Bacon Cheddar Deviled Eggs
Italian Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms
Lettuce Soup (shown above)
Individual Chicken Pot Pies (below—so flavorful!)
And my favorite of the evening (so I am sharing the recipe)…
Pear Dumpling with Caramel Cream Sauce
For the filling:
- 3 tablespoons dark rum
- 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 cup golden raisins
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest, minced (1/2 lemon)
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
- 1/4 cup pecan halves
In a small saucepan, simmer raisins in rum over medium heat until most of the liquid evaporates. Sauté pecans over medium heat in 1 tablespoon of butter. Toss/stir continually so they don’t burn, then chop. Combine raisins, pecans, brown sugar, softened butter, cinnamon, and lemon zest. Set aside.
For the Caramel Cream Sauce:
- 1/2 cup softened unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup sugar
Combine butter with sugar in a saucepan. Cook over low heat until mixture turns golden brown. Watch carefully. Stir continually for 5 minutes. Turn off heat, add heavy cream to sauce. It will bubble so be careful. Add vanilla seeds. Return mixture to stove and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes until the sauce is smooth and glossy. Strain and cool.
- 4 pears (I used bosc), hollowed (with melon baller) and peeled
- juice from two lemons
- 2 sheets purchased puff pastry, thawed
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 tablespoon water
- sugar for sprinkling
Level off the bottoms of the pears so they sit flat on baking sheet. To keep from browning, place in a bowl of cool water with lemon juice and let sit for 10 min. Drain & pat dry. Roll out puff pastry dough into a 14” x 21” rectangle, about 1/8” thick. Cut four 7” squares from dough, trimming any uneven sides. Place a pear in the center of dough square. Fill the cavity with 1 – 2 tablespoons of filling, pack tightly. Fold up one corner of dough and moisten with water. Fold up the other corner and glue it onto the first with water, applying pressure to secure. Wrap completely and secure at top. Repeat for all pears. Cut 2” – 3” leaves out of leftover dough. Score veins down the center of the leaf with the back of a knife. Moisten backs of leaves with water. Glue 2 – 3 leaves onto each pear with water. Bend leaves slightly. Stagger pears on a parchment-lined baking sheet and chill for 30 minutes. Mix egg wash (egg beaten with water) and brush over dumplings. Liberally sprinkle all sides of dumplings with granulated sugar. Bake at 425? for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 375? and bake 30-40 minutes more, until pastry is browned and pears can be pierced with wooden skewer. Serve dumplings warm with Caramel-Cream sauce.
And here we all are eating, and feeling the comfort! Thanks Raquel and Angie!
Gratitude Giveaway #2 coming up tonight!