For most people, roast turkey is the big star at Thanksgiving.
But the headliner on the last Thursday of the month needs a supporting cast. That’s why Mary Jewett bakes crescent rolls and Mary Lou Moskov grabs her casserole dishes for Green Beans Fermier — that’s French for “farm-made” — and corn pudding.
Julie Ashcroft makes sure pumpkin bread is part of her family feast. Dawn Tonneau likes to serve the elegant-sounding-but-simple-to-make apple-cranberry galette for dessert.
All four women — contacted through local churches — were happy to share their longtime recipes with Daily Gazette readers.
Mary Jewett’s Crescent Rolls
Crescent rolls have been in Mary Jewett’s family for decades. “They go into the oven when the turkey comes out,” said Jewett, who lives in Princetown.
The rolls are popular with adult diners because of their taste. Children appreciate the crescents because they can help make them. “Sometimes, you can get some unusual-shaped rolls as they learn the technique,” Jewett said.
“My mother and her sisters made them,” she added. “It was just something I grew up with, I would say the 1940s. I got married in 1956 and came here from Pella, Iowa. I brought the recipe with me.”
Jewett, of First Reformed Church in Schenectady, likes rolls on a holiday table, especially when bread may not be served because of bread-based dressings often served with the turkey. It all comes back to Midwestern sensibilities: “You just have to have bread,” Jewett said.
2 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon salt
11⁄2 cups lukewarm milk
21⁄4 teaspoons yeast
4 cups flour
Mix sugar, butter and salt until smooth. Stir in milk. Add yeast and stir until dissolved. Beat in flour.
Ingredients can also be mixed in a stand mixer.
Scrape the dough from the sides of the bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a damp cloth. Let rise until double (about 30 minutes).
The dough will be soft and a little sticky. Lightly flour your hands and work surface .
Divide dough into two equal balls. Roll each ball into a 12-inch circle. Spread with soft butter. Cut into 12 pie-shaped pieces. Beginning at the rounded edge, roll up. Place on baking sheet with the point underneath. Cover and let rise until double (about 15 minutes).
For a nice, brown glaze, brush rolls with an egg glaze — two teaspoons beaten egg mixed with two teaspoons water.
Bake in a 400-degree oven for 12 to 15 minutes.
Julie Ashcroft’s Pumpkin Bread
Pumpkin is king around Julie Ashcroft’s place in November.
“We grew up sharing and eating pumpkin bread, and the fall would not be complete without it,” said Ashcroft, who lives in Glenville and attends the Church of the Immaculate Conception. “Someone has to bring the pumpkin bread to any gathering this time of year. It is good for breakfast or any time of day, even as a dessert since the chocolate chips add a touch of sweetness.”
One batch makes two loaves. So Ashcroft can afford to wrap loaves of pumpkin bread and give them as holiday gifts.
“People think pumpkin bread might be bitter,” she added. “It doesn’t seem like it would be sweet. The chocolate chips, I think, are the big surprise.”
The recipe came from Ashcroft’s mother, Eleanore Moskal of Utica. It became a family tradition and has remained with Eleanore’s six children. “We all have the recipe, we all make it,” Ashcroft said.
People can butter the bread. Ashcroft will even change her ingredients, if some family members prefer their pumpkin without any nutty flavoring. “My sons don’t like the walnuts, so I double the chips in theirs, leaving out the nuts,” Ashcroft said. “They often ask for it, and my college son (Villanova sophomore Matthew) requests to have it in the house when he is home on break. My husband’s family has now adopted it and it is a must-have at their house as well.”
1 cup oil
2 cups sugar
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1⁄2 teaspoon cinnamon
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
4 beaten eggs
2 cups canned pumpkin
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts
Combine first nine ingredients in mixer until smooth. Stir in chocolate chips and walnuts.
Divide batter into two greased bread pans. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour. Cool approximately 10 minutes and remove from pans. Allow to cool before cutting.
Mary Lou Moskov’s Green Beans Fermier and Corn Pudding
There will be trouble if Thanksgiving arrives and Mary Lou Moskov’s green bean and corn pudding dishes do not.
“If I don’t make them, I may as well leave town,” said Moskov, who lives in Glenville and also attends the Church of the Immaculate Conception.
Last year, 26 adult children, spouses and grandchildren were at the Moskov Thanksgiving table, which featured two turkeys and two kinds of stuffing. With all that cooking, it’s fortunate the green bean and corn side dishes are so easy to make.
“They can be put together the day before and baked Thanksgiving morning,” Moskov said, adding that Thanksgiving is her favorite holiday dinner of the year. Green Beans Fermier goes well with other vegetables Moskov serves, such as creamed onions, squash and candied sweet potatoes. Corn pudding, she said, returns to her spring dinner table.
“I’ll make it at Easter,” she said. “It’s nice with ham.”
Green Beans Fermier
2 packages frozen green beans (9 ounces each)
6 slices bacon
1⁄2 cup diced onion
1⁄4 cup flour
11⁄2 cups chicken broth
1⁄8 teaspoon pepper
1⁄2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Drain green beans and put in a greased 11⁄2-quart casserole dish. Cook bacon in frying pan, crumble and set aside. Reserve 3 tablespoons drippings. In frying pan, saute onion in bacon drippings and cook until tender. Stir in flour until blended. Gradually add chicken broth and pepper, stir until thickened. Add bacon to sauce; mix and pour over green beans, stir.
Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese halfway through baking. Serves 6 to 8.
1⁄2 cup butter, softened
1⁄2 cup sugar
1 cup sour cream
1 package corn muffin mix (81⁄2-ounce package)
1⁄2 cup milk
1 can whole kernel corn, drained (151⁄4-ounce size)
1 can creamed corn (143⁄4 ounce size)
Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Beat in sour cream. Gradually add corn muffin mix alternately with milk. Fold in the canned corn and creamed corn. Pour into a greased, shallow 3-quart casserole dish. Bake uncovered for 45 to 50 minutes or until set and lightly browned. Makes 8 servings.
Dawn Tonneau’s Apple-Cranberry Galette
Galette may be a little hard to pronounce. But the French-style, flat, round or free-form crusty cake is an easy kitchen assignment.
“It’s very simple to make and it looks stunning,” said Dawn Tonneau of Niskayuna, a member of St. George’s Church in Schenectady. “It looks like there’s a lot of effort, but it’s easy and the taste is very unique because of the ginger and cloves. Most apple tarts don’t quite use those spices.”
Tonneau said galette can sub for pie during the holidays, and added that holidays don’t even have to be on the calendar for a galette to be in the oven. “They’re great any time,” she said. “They’re not as big as a traditional pie, but they’re very, very tasty.”
Tonneau also likes cooking with apples and cranberries — traditional autumn fruits — for her free-form dessert. “You probably want tart apples, like a Granny Smith,” she said. “But you can really use anything.”
1 pie crust
2 1/4 pounds apples, peeled, cored and sliced into 1/4-inch slices (about 4 apples)
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 pinch nutmeg
1 pinch ground cloves
1 pinch ground ginger
1 egg white, beaten
1 tablespoon sugar
Heat oven to 400 degrees. On a lightly floured board, unfold pie crust and roll into a 15-inch circle. Gently transfer to 9-inch or 10-inch pie plate.
In a large bowl, toss together apple slices, cranberries, sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. Place filling in center of crust, leaving 2 1/2-inch border. Fold border over filling.
Brush pie crust with egg white and sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes. Cool on wine rack. Can be stored at room temperature overnight. Warm in 350-degree oven for 15 minutes before serving. Serves 4.
Reach Gazette reporter Jeff Wilkin at 395-3124 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.