We asked the Bay Area's larger-than-life toques to each reinterpret a Thanksgiving staple to be made at home this holiday. Elevate your Thanksgiving cooking game this season with these six delectable recipes from the region's standout chefs, including Alice Waters, Michael Tusk, John Cahill, Omri Aflalo, Thomas Keller, Dominique Crenn, and Lauren Reed.
Chef Alice Waters
A cake by beloved chef Alice Waters can be made with apples, pears, peaches. plums or any slightly fruit.
1 1/2 stick unsalted butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 3/4 cups fresh cranberries
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
2 eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup whole milk, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder 1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup granulated sugar 1 tsp. vanilla extract
1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
2. Measure into an 8-inch cast-iron skillet or heavy-duty cake pan: 4 Tbsp. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter and brown sugar.
3. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the butter melts and starts to bubble.
4. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
5. Heat together in a small saucepan fresh cranberries and orange juice. Cook until the cranberries just start to pop.
6. Remove from heat and pour evenly over the cooled caramel.
7. Separate 2 eggs at room temperature.
8. Measure 1/2 cup whole milk, at room temperature.
9. Measure and stir together flour, baking powder and salt.
10. In another bowl or in a stand mixer, beat to lighten 8 Tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter, then add sugar. Cream until light and fluffy. Beat in the two egg yolks, one at a time.
11. Stir in vanilla extract. When well mixed, add the flour mixture alternately with the milk, starting and ending with one- third of the flour. Stir just until the flour is incorporated.
12. Beat the egg whites until they hold soft peaks. Fold one- third of the egg whites into the batter and then gently fold in
13. Pour the batter over the cranberries in the pan and smooth the top with a spatula.
14. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the cake pulls away from the sides of the pan.
15. Remove from the oven and allow the cake to cool for 15 minutes.
16. Run a knife around the edge of the pan and invert the cake onto a serving plate.
Michael Tusk of Quince Group
This fowl by Quince Group's chef Michael Tusk is a stand-in for turkey on a smaller Thanksgiving during the pandemic.
1 dry-aged duck (Peking)
3 Tbsp. honey, corbezzolo or other
1 Tbsp. tellicherry pepper, coarse ground
1/2 Tbsp. salt
6 each fuyu persimmons 2 sprigs rosemary
2 bay leaves
16 Tokyo turnips, peeled and quartered, stems attached, greens cleaned and washed
12 "fingers" of puntarelle
1 cup red wine
2 cups duck or vegetable stock
1. Preheat convection oven to 425 F.
2. Season the duck with half the black pepper and salt and let sit for 15 minutes.
3. Put latex gloves on and rub the duck with the corbezzolo honey.
4. Season the duck with the remaining black pepper and place in a roasting pan breasts facing up.
5. Peel and quarter the persimmons and reserve.
6. Peel and quarter the turnips. If they have nice greens, wash them, dry them and reserve.
7. Place in the oven for 9 minutes, and when your timer goes off, rotate the duck so it roasts evenly.
8. Cook for an additional 9 minutes and remove the duck and let rest at room temperature.
9. Strain off any fat from the roasting pan and keep it nearby.
10. Do not discard the roasting pan. 11. Turn the oven to 300 F.
12. While the duck is resting, place a couple of tablespoons of duck fat in a 12-inch saute pan and turn the heat to high.
13. Saute the persimmons in batches, making sure not to crowd the pan, until caramelized.
14. Season with salt to taste and reserve when all persimmons are roasted.
15. In the same pan, take some more duck fat and saute the turnips until lightly caramelized and combine the turnips with the persimmons.
16. Finish by lightly coloring the puntarelle and add to the persimmons and turnips.
17. Finish by quickly cooking the turnip greens and add to the vegetables.
18. Keep warm by covering with some foil and place in the oven.
19. Place the duck on a cutting board and remove the two breasts from the carcass by placing your knife on either side of the breast bone. Cover the duck with foil.
20. Put the roasting pan on top of the stove and turn the heat on high. Add the red wine to the pan and scrape up any bits stuck to the bottom using a wooden spoon or metal pastry scraper.
21. Reduce the wine until almost dry and then add the stock and cook until the sauce is to your liking. A small knob of butter might be nice to add.
22. Remove the sauce and hold in a saucepan.
23. Place 4 12-inch dinner plates in the oven and gently warm.
24. Remove the plates and the vegetables and place the persimmons, turnips and their greens and the puntarelle in a circle around the plate.
25. Slice the duck to your liking and place it in the center of the vegetables
26. Bring the sauce up to temperature and place it next to the duck and
Switch things up this season with this recipe.
Ditch the has-been vegetable sides, and try sunchokes from Town Revival's John Cahill and Omri Aflalo.
1 lb. sunchokes
2 Tbsp. EVOO or canola oil 1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. sugar
5 rosemary sprigs
10 thyme sprigs
10 sage leaf sprigs
1. Preheat the oven to 375 F.
2. Scrub the sunchokes in warm water until all residual dirt or sand has been removed. Drain well and dry on paper towels.
3. Place the sunchokes in a medium bowl and add the oil. Toss to coat. Add the salt and sugar. Toss to coat.
4. Place the herbs evenly on a baking sheet. Spread the sunchokes over the herbs, ensuring they are spaced apart from one another.
5. Place in the oven and cook for 15 minutes. Rotate the tray and turn each sunchoke over (this promotes even cooking). Continue cooking an additional 15 minutes or until just tender (not firm, not mushy; think a perfectly cooked baked potato).
10 garlic heads
2 Tbsp. EVOO
4 Tbsp. butter
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper, finely ground 1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 cups grapeseed or canola oil
1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
2. Place a 15-inch sheet of foil on a baking sheet. Prepare another sheet of foil slightly larger and set aside.
3. Cut the top third off each garlic head. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with the EVOO and dot each one with the butter. Season with salt and pepper. Top with the second sheet of foil and close the edges tightly.
4. Place in the oven and roast for about an hour or until the garlic is golden brown, lightly caramelized and very soft.
5. After the garlic is cool enough to handle, squeeze the pulp into a blender. Discard the skins (or alternatively simmer them in water to make delicious garlic broth to use when making gravy, soup, stuffing or another application).
6. Add the eggs and lemon juice. Blend until smooth, scraping down often.
7. Slowly stream in the grapeseed oil and blend until homogenous and smooth.
Take a mixture of the green tops from vegetables in the onion family, which could include leeks, green onions, spring onions, chives, garlic chives and/or garlic scapes. Place them on a rack on a baking sheet and dehydrate in a 200 F oven or dehydrator until dry and crisp (about 12 hours). Alternatively, you could substitute a purchased dried garlic spice blend.
1/3 lb. sunchokes
4 liters canola oil (for frying)
1. Scrub the sunchokes in warm water until all residual dirt or sand has been removed.
2. Drain well and dry on paper towels.
3. Carefully cut them into thin slices (about 1/16-inch thick) on a sharp mandolin. Place them in water as you cut to prevent oxidation.
4. After all the sunchokes are cut, drain the water from them and cover with very hot tap water. Allow to soak 10 minutes. Drain well and dry with paper towels or spin in a salad spinner to remove excess water.
5. Heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot or table-top deep fryer to 275 F.
6. Carefully add the sunchoke slices and fry until they are crispy, slightly curled up and light golden brown.
7. Remove them from the oil and drain well on paper towels. Season with salt and pepper while they are still warm.
Spread a little bit of the garlic aioli on the bottom of a shallow serving bowl. Top with the warm sunchokes and dot a bit more of the aioli through the sunchokes. Top with the allium powder and sunchoke chips. Serve additional aioli on the side.
This sauce is sure to impress your guests.
Thomas Keller's cranberry sauce recipe can be made up to four days in advance for entertaining ease.
1 lb. fresh or frozen whole cranberries 1/3 cup orange juice
3 Tbsp. lemon juice
3⁄4 cup sugar
1⁄4 cup brown sugar
3⁄4 tsp. kosher salt
1⁄2 tsp. finely minced fresh ginger root 2 Tbsp. honey
1 tsp. fresh orange zest, for garnish
1. Place all ingredients into a large, heavy saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened.
2. Allow cranberry sauce to cool to room temperature; transfer to a storage container and refrigerate until ready to serve. Top with fresh orange zest.
Go beyond the basic Thanksgiving menu this year with the help of Dominique Crenn.
Instead of mashed potatoes, swap in this earthy side from legend Dominique Crenn.
2.2 lbs. potato
1 head of broccoli
14 oz. peeled tomatoes
3.5 oz. butter
5 fl. oz. milk
1 egg yolk
5 fl. oz. vegetable broth
7 oz. grated Comté cheese 1 Tbsp. olive oil
1. Peel the potatoes and cut the broccoli into florets. Steam for 20 minutes.
2. Wash and peel the carrots before dicing. Peel the onion and mince. In a medium pan, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and carrots and cook until onions have browned.
3. Add the broth and cook for 15 minutes over low heat.
4. Pass the potatoes through a vegetable mill (or mash with a fork, although this takes longer).
5. Add 1.4 oz. of butter in pieces, the egg yolk and milk. Season with salt and pepper to your taste.
6. Add the peeled tomatoes and cooked broccoli to the onion and carrot mixture.
7. Cook for 10 minutes over low heat. Butter a gratin dish and pour the vegetable preparation in first.
8. Add the mashed potatoes over it. Smooth the top with a fork and cover with the Comté cheese.
9. Put in a hot oven at 445 F. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes or until golden brown.
This Lauren Reed recipe is the perfect ending to your Thanksgiving spread.
Benu pastry chef Lauren Reed presents a perfectly festive dessert.
5 cups cake flour
1⁄2 Tbsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
3 tsp. kosher salt
2 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
1⁄2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 1⁄2 cups light brown sugar
1 2⁄3 cups sugar
6 whole eggs
2 1⁄8 cups vegetable or canola oil
7 cups shredded sweet potato
1. Peel and shred sweet potatoes using a large box grater and soak in cold water for a minimum of 12 hours or overnight. Strain and rinse sweet potatoes until the water runs clear and spread evenly and pat dry to remove all water.
2. Preheat oven to 350 F.
3. Spray three 9-by-2-inch round baking pans and line with parchment paper.
4. In a large mixing bowl, sift together cake flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.
5. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the sugars, eggs and oil for 1 minute on medium speed until well combined. Add the sifted flour mixture and mix on low speed for 20 seconds.
6. Add soaked and dried sweet potato and mix for another 20 seconds on low speed until mixture is homogeneous.
7. Using a spatula, thoroughly scrape the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl and divide into the three prepared pans.
8. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes off clean and the cakes are starting to shrink from the sides of the pans.
9. Cool fully on a wire rack before unmolding cakes.
Caramelized Pecan Filling
1⁄2 cup butter
1⁄3 cup light corn syrup
2 1⁄2 Tbsp. molasses
1⁄4 cup brown sugar
3⁄4 Tbsp. cornstarch
1⁄3 tsp. kosher salt
4 egg yolks
2 1⁄4 cups chopped pecans 2 tsp. vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 325 F.
2. Roughly chop and toast pecans on a dry baking sheet until golden brown (about 8 to 12 minutes). Set aside to cool.
3. In a medium saucepan, melt together the corn syrup, molasses, butter, vanilla and salt.
4. Meanwhile, in a medium heat-proof mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, brown sugar and cornstarch until smooth.
5. Bring the syrup and butter mixture to a simmer and temper into the egg yolks by pouring about 1⁄3 of the syrup into the bowl while whisking.
6. Pour the eggs back into remaining syrup in the pan and bring the entire mixture to a boil while continuously whisking to avoid any scorching.
7. Boil for a full minute until the mixture thickens, fully cooking the cornstarch and eggs.
8. Remove pan from heat and gently mix in the toasted pecans. Pour out into a heatproof bowl and cover with plastic wrap so that it touches the surface of the filling. Chill fully in the refrigerator before assembling the cake.
Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Buttercream
3⁄4 cup egg whites
1 1⁄8 cups light brown sugar
1⁄8 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
1 lb. unsalted high-fat butter, softened at room temperature
1. Place egg whites and brown sugar in a medium heat-proof bowl fitted over a double boiler and whisk continuously over low-medium heat, taking care to scrape down the sides of the bowl to prevent any scrambling of the egg whites.
2. Continue to mix and warm the egg whites and sugar together until all of the sugar is dissolved and a thermometer reads 160 F.
3. Transfer the egg whites to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whisk on the highest setting until a stiff peaked meringue is formed.
4. Lower to speed 1. Slowly add small pieces of the tempered butter, along with the salt, vanilla extract and cinnamon powder to the mixer.
5. Once everything is added to the bowl, increase to full speed and whisk until the mixture is homogeneous. This will take about 10 to 12 minutes of whisking.
6. Once finished, keep covered at room temperature until ready to use. Because this recipe involves combining a high amount of fat with
the large amount of water contained in the egg whites, it’s important to note that the buttercream might look broken in the beginning stages of mixing, but this is normal. The mixture will eventually come together and be totally smooth and glossy.
Photography by: Cover photo by Amanda Marsalis
Photos courtesy of chefs