This will be the first year since I have been living in the US that my parents will get to spend Thanksgiving with us. It’s very exciting to be able to share a holiday meal with them. I grew up in a large family where holidays and gatherings revolved around food. We always had at least thirty people around the table. Space was always an issue but it never stopped us. Improvised tables, mismatched silverware, borrowed chairs. It was all fine as long as we could all be together, elbow to elbow. So this year, I am really going to sit at the Thanksgiving table, take time to enjoy the moment and be thankful for their company.
As my mom and I sat down to write down the Thanksgiving dinner menu, I realized how most of the traditional American holiday dishes are foreign to my parents’ palates. Roasted turkey, stuffing, yams with marshmallows or cranberries. They have never tasted any of those. I have to admit I am not very fond of the cranberry jellies and compotes served at many dinner tables, but I really wanted my mom to try a new berry, something she had never had before.
Warm fruit crisps are always a comforting dessert and my mom happens to love cooked apples in any way, shape or form. So I combined sweet apples with tart cranberries and spicy candied ginger and topped it all with pistachio and almond crumble. And because us Europeans really enjoy fruit compotes in jars (check out these lovely ladies here and here), I made her a little cranberry and orange compote to go with a quick white chocolate mousse. I am not much of a white chocolate fan unless it is accompanied by something tart and sour to balance out the sweetness so I barely added any sugar to the cranberry compote.
Cranberry, Apple and Candied Ginger Crumble
100 grams fresh cranberries
2 golden delicious apples, peeled, cored and medium diced
100 grams sugar
5 grams candied ginger, small dice
Zest of an orange
Juice of half an orange
Pistachio and almond crumble (use half ground pistachios and half ground almonds)
In a bowl, combine the fresh cranberries, diced apples, diced ginger, sugar, orange zest and orange juice. Mix gently and let the fruit sit in the bowl for a few minutes until the sugar starts to lightly dissolve with the juices.
Place 4 small ramekins on a sheetpan. Spoon the fruit filling into the ramekins and top with some pistachio and almond crumble. Bake at 350F for about 30 minutes or until the fruit starts to bubble over and the crumble is golden brown. If the topping starts to get dark but the fruit is not cooked yet, cover the ramekins with aluminum foil so it doesn’t burn and continue cooking.
Cranberry Orange Compote
100 grams fresh cranberries
20 grams sugar
Zest of half an orange
Combine the cranberries, sugar and orange zest in a small saucepan and cook for about 10 minutes until cranberries pop open. You can serve it like this or puree it with a hand blended or food processor (which I did). Spoon the compote into the glass jars and let it cool.
Quick White Chocolate Mousse
150 grams heavy cream, soft peak
75 grams white chocolate, chopped
Place the white chocolate in a bowl and melt it over a double boiler. Remove the bowl from the heat when the chocolate is melted and let it cool slightly.
In the meantime, whip the cream to soft peak. Pour a third of the whipped cream into the chocolate and whisk. Pour this mixture over the rest of the whipped cream and gently fold not to overmix it.
Place the mousse in a pastry bag and pipe into the glass jars on top of the cooled cranberry compote. Return jars to refrigerator to cool completely and until the mousse hardens a bit more. Serve with white chocolate shavings.