I'm thankful for many things this year - and whiskey is one of them. It's easy to incorporate whiskey into your Thanksgiving table. I don't just mean setting down a bottle and grabbing some glasses. I mean actually adding it to some common dishes and desserts. It gives a special taste without altering the traditional menu too much. The recipes below, from bonappetit.com, gave me a chance to cook with both bourbon and Scotch. The kitchen smells delicious.
Bourbon Cranberry sauce - I've never been much for cranberries, either fresh or from a can. However, adding a little whiskey has a way of turning me in favor. This is a simple recipe that sweetens up the dish and can be made up to a week ahead of time. You mix the cranberries, sugar, and cinnamon in a 9x13 inch pan for 30 minutes, stir and bake another 30 minutes. Add the bourbon, stir, and stick in the fridge until you need it.
For this recipe, you will need:
4 cups cranberries
2 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup bourbon (I used Maker's Mark)
For full instructions on preparing this recipe, please visit: http://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/1991/11/bourbon-cranberry-sauce#ixzz1esQO1QkQ
Pumpkin Butterscotch Pie - This seems obvious now, but I did not realize that the way to get butterscotch flavor is to literally mix butter and Scotch. And a little sugar and cream. It's a bubbling, caramelized pot o' goodness that is then mixed with the pumpkin, eggs, and spices. It creates a lighter pumpkin filling, which is soft, creamy and smooth. It is also incorporates a lot of different spices without favoring any of them too much. According to Mom, we are not going to be going back to the regular pumpkin pie anytime soon.
And here's the topper - Scotch whipped cream. Why use vanilla in homemade whipped cream if Scotch is on hand? I will be trying it fresh tomorrow when I make it for Thanksgiving, but whipping cream with either brown or white sugar (I've seen recipes with both) and some Scotch seems like it can't go too wrong.
Apple Pie with Whiskey-Soaked Cherries - This one follows a pretty basic recipe for an apple pie except for the dried cherries soaked in Scotch. They are little flavor bursts that make the pie come alive and add a richness. Don't worry if you soak the cherries longer than the recipe calls for - it does't hurt them a bit.
For the filling, you will need:
1 cup dried tart cherries
2 tablespoons Scotch whisky
3 to 3 1/2 pounds medium-size Golden Delicious apples (about 8), peeled, halved, cored, thinly sliced (For a variation, mix in Granny Smith apples)
1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
*For the pie crust, I use the Martha Stewart recipe, then put the filling in raw dough and follow cooking instructions according to: http://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/2005/10/apple_pie_with_whisky_soaked_cherries#ixzz1ese24PmY