Every Thanksgiving, my family is invited over to our neighbor’s house for a big turkey dinner. While my mother always brings over her signature spinach salad and famous chocolate chip cookies, I tend to bake something different each year. Normally I turn to Pinterest to find a recipe, but this year my internship at the University Press of Florida helped me decide what to make.
Within my first week of interning I learned that we were publishing three new cookbooks in fall: Good Catch, Mango, and The Versailles Restaurant Cookbook. When I was later told that interns could write a blog post for UPF, I decided to bake one dessert from each of the cookbooks over Thanksgiving break and share the results. These desserts were great for Thanksgiving and are perfect for the holiday season that’s now upon us!
from Good Catch: Recipes and Stories Celebrating the Best of Florida’s Waters, by Pam Brandon, Katie Farmand, and Heather McPherson
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups sugar, plus more for sprinkling on fruit
- 2 sticks unsalted butter
- 6 cups fresh blueberries
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine flour and sugar. Add butter and stir until mixture is soft and crumbly. Set aside.
- Put blueberries in a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking dish; lightly sprinkle with sugar if berries are tart. Cover with topping. Bake for 50 minutes, or until top is golden and just starting to brown and sides are bubbling. Remove from oven and cool slightly before serving.
This was the first recipe I tried, and it was by far the easiest. However, I did add a little twist on the recipe.
“By the way, Brianna, blueberries were expensive,” my mother mentioned as I pulled my ingredients together, “this is all I got.”
We only had about five cups of blueberries while the recipe calls for six. Luckily, my parents were on a health kick and they had other fruit in the fridge. I threw in a cup of strawberry slices to make up for the lack of blueberries, and the end result was still wonderful.
from The Versailles Restaurant Cookbook by Ana Quincoces and Nicole Valls
- 4 cups whole milk
- 8 large egg yolks
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ground cinnamon, for sprinkling
- Combine the milk, egg yolks, sugar, salt, and cornstarch in a large bowl. Stir well, until the sugar is completely dissolved.
- Strain the mixture through a fine sieve into a heavy saucepan. Stir in the vanilla and set the pan over medium heat. Cook the mixture, stirring continuously with a whisk or wooden spoon until it begins to boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the mixture thickens, for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Pour the custard into individual ramekins and set aside to cool to room temperature.
- Cover the ramekins lightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, until the custard sets. Sprinkle with cinnamon immediately before serving.
This recipe took off without a hitch, and the results were sweet and savory. After waiting patiently for an hour I eagerly added cinnamon and offered up a taste test to my household. Out of curiosity, I added caramel sauce on top, but it made no difference in taste – the custard was terrific on its own. Don’t mess with perfection!
from Mango by Jen Karetnick
Recipe by Lilian Hardy
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 egg
- ½ cup milk
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 mangos, cut into slices (about 10 slices per mango)
- 1 quart canola or vegetable oil for frying
- Powdered sugar for garnish (optional)
- In a bowl, mix the dry ingredients.
- In a separate bowl, mix the wet ingredients. Add the wet mix to the dry and combine to make a batter.
- In a large frying pan or fryer, heat the oil to a frying temperature. Dip the mango slices in the batter and fry until crisp outside, turning once, about 1 minute on each side.
- Drain on paper towels, powder with sugar if desired, and serve immediately.
These fruit fries were well received after the turkey was taken away. The recipe calls for four mangos cut up into slices, with ten slices per mango. Our mangos were rather large (each mango gave us 15 slices), so I decided to use only two. This was my first time frying anything outside of an egg so when I came out with no burns and delicious food I was pretty pleased with myself.
The book also suggested trying this recipe with different fruit to have an assortment of flavors, so I used apple slices with the leftover batter. While the recipe labels it as optional, definitely use the powdered sugar! It makes the dish look better and taste a little sweeter.
I had to sit down after making these desserts all at once, but it was worth it. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I reminded myself how fortunate I was. I’m thankful for the kitchen I have, I’m thankful for my wonderful family that’s always supporting whatever messy endeavor I’m attempting, and I’m thankful for my internship at an amazing company.
Brianna Tringali, marketing intern at the University Press of Florida, is majoring in English at the University of Florida.