Thanksgiving baking

Thanksgiving is the one American holiday I insist on my family celebrating together here in Ireland. When I first moved to Ireland in the early 1990’s it was almost impossible to get a hold of pumpkin pie filling, Karo syrup for pecan pie. I relied on stocking up on ingredients when visiting my family back home and one year out of desperation talked my sister into posting two cans of pumpkin purée that probably cost $1.50 each for about 20 dollars. Luckily baking for Thanksgiving is no longer such a challenge.  I don’t use canned pumpkin purée anymore with the availabilty of fresh pumpkins this time of year. I steam our Halloween pumpkins, puree and freeze them so I can enjoy pumpkin through out the year. Pumpkin purée is easily found in Tesco and even occasionally Aldi sells it. Fallon and Byrne usually stocks Karo syrup and much to my surprise I found out they are selling cartons of  Egg Nog! Mind you it’s €8.00 a carton but it’s a special occasion.

I don’t mess with the classics ! Deserts are always pumpkin pie and pecan pie either a big one or loads of little mini ones. Thanksgiving marks the beginning of my holiday baking so mince pies always make their holiday première in my house. Chocolate brownies and rocky road are usually made for the kids. This year I’ve made an alternative gluten free pastry for some of the the pies.  I was skeptical that it would taste as nice but I found a really good recipe that is light and easy to work with. I did a a taste test with my gluten loving husband and he couldn’t tell it was gluten free.

  Pumpkin Pies one of the seasonal pies I sell at Naas farmer’s Market, Co.Kildare. www.naasfarmersmarket.ie

Freshly steamed pumpkin puree which I bought at Kennedy’s pumpkin patch in Co. Meath

Gingerbread cake with salted caramel topping.
  Pecan pie- my favourite of the holiday classics   Mince pies- I use a super rich short paste.

 First time I’ve been able to buy Egg-Nog in Ireland. I’m so excited can’t wait to add some Captain Morgan’s spiced Rum to this.

Dia de Muertos

November the 2nd, Dia de Muertos is celebrated predominately in Mexico but has made it’s mark across the globe. Living in Ireland the last 20 years, I have seen the remembrance day of the dead grow in popularity over the past decade. I try to keep my Hispanic roots alive by familiarizing  my 6 children with Mexican celebrations and holidays.

I’ve started a few days early but this year I made “Day of the dead cookies.” I made two batches: one a very traditional Mexican recipe from corn masa (Masca brand) and another from a gluten free self raising flour (Doves farm brand) and egg free recipe. Although the first recipe was also gluten free it is a very acquired taste as it is pure corn flour.  My children are my official tasters but also brutally honest and the Masca version did not get the thumb’s up. I preferred the Masca ones as they were not as sweet and tasted more authentic.

The stamps I ordered on-line with Amazon. They are pretty fiddly to use without breaking the cookies. Dip the stamp in flour and roll the dough between two sheets of baking paper. Also stamp the cookie before using the other side which is the cutter. Take care when pulling out the stamp. To decorate I made basic icing with icing sugar, lemon juice and water. I piped the colours on with a paper piping bag for the fine details.

Sounds painful but they were fun!

day of dead cookie 2             day of dead cookie 1

Pan muerto

I also made mini Pan Muertos to celebrate Dia de Muertos. I used the same recipe as I did for my Pan Dulce (Conchas) except I did not put on the sugar paste topping and topped them rolled out dough that is the bone decoration and  brushed butter and cinnamon-sugar topping once cooked and cooled. My bones could of turned out better but I had been baking for about 12 hours that day and was eager to get them in the oven. They were a big hit  at my local market where I sell my goods at on Saturday mornings  in Naas Farmers Market in Naas Co. Kildare http://www.naasfarmersmarket.ie/.

pan muerto 1          pan muerto 2