Having not celebrated Thanksgiving for seven years, I decided this year was time to make a change. I booked the day off work, invited some new friends around and set out to have Team Whiteman & Team Heaps first UK Thanksgiving feast.

On the menu was, of course, turkey, candied yams, mashed potatoes, gravy, pumpkin pie and apple bourbon cake. Team Heaps brought corn pudding, green bean casserole (not the kind with cream of mushroom soup, though) and cinnamon ice cream. Needless to say, we were not going to go hungry.

Pumpkin pie, a classic american dessert, is not as widely known here making it a bit difficult to find tinned pumpkin. Thankfully, Waitrose carries it.

Classic Pumpkin

Libby’s Pumpkin Pie recipe:
Ingredients

3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 large eggs
1 can (15 oz.) LIBBY’S® 100% Pure Pumpkin
1 can (12 fl. oz.) NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Evaporated Milk

9 in pie dish lined with shortcrust pastry

MIX sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger and cloves in small bowl. Beat eggs in large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk.

POUR into pie shell.

BAKE in preheated 425° F oven for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 176˚/350˚ F; bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours. Serve immediately or refrigerate. Top with whipped cream before serving.

Pumpkin pie

We had an abundance of apples, and although apple pie is traditionally served on Thanksgiving, I decided to get a bit fancy. We had a surplus of Jack Daniels, so this recipe was a perfect choice.

Apple Bourbon Bundt Cake Recipe

2 sticks unsalted butter (226 grams), at room temperature, plus more to grease pan
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (315 grams), plus more to dust the pan
3 tablespoons (30 grams) plus 1/2 cup (80 grams) bourbon or rye whiskey
1/2 cup (90 grams) candied ginger, chopped
1 3/4 cup (330 grams) light brown sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons (8 grams) baking powder
1 teaspoon (5 grams) baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons (3 grams) ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon (5 grams) fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 cup (227 grams) sour cream
1 tablespoon (15 grams) vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoon (5 grams) finely grated lemon zest
2 medium Granny Smith apples (about a pound, 454 grams), peeled, cored, and coarsely grated
1 cup (120 grams) finely chopped, toasted pecans
1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
Juice of 1/2 lemon (20 grams).

Apple Bourbon Cake ingredients

1. Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a 12-cup bundt pan. In a small bowl, combine 3 tablespoons bourbon and the candied ginger. Let stand 10 minutes.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the brown sugar and remaining butter on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time, until incorporated.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining flour with the baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sour cream and vanilla. Pour in the bourbon from the ginger mixture (reserve ginger) and whisk until smooth. Stir in zest.

4. With the mixer on medium speed, add the dry mixture and sour cream mixture to the wet mixture in three additions, alternating between the two. Fold in the ginger, apples and pecans. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until the cake is golden brown and a skewer inserted into the cake comes out dry, about 1 hour 10 minutes. Cool in the pan 20 minutes, then run a paring knife around the sides of the pan to release the cake; cool, flat side down, on a wire rack.

5. While the cake cools, combine the 1/2 cup granulated sugar and 1/2 cup whiskey in a small saucepan. Over low heat, gently stir until the sugar dissolves. Stir in the lemon juice and take off the heat.

6. While the cake cools, make 10 slits on top with a paring knife and pour half the bourbon-sugar mixture on the still-warm cake. When the cake is fully cool, flip it and pour the rest of the glaze on the other side, then flip again to serve.

Yield: 10 to 12 servings.

Candied Yams

Another traditional side dish is Candied Yams or Sweet Potato Casserole. Don’t be put off by the marshmallows, as my pessimistic husband said “The combination is sublime.”

Thanksgiving sweet stuff

Now it was time to put it all together:

Carving the turkey

Hostess with the mostess

Gathering of friends

Thanksgiving dinner

Thanksgiving dessert

The first Team Whiteman/Team Heaps UK Thanksgiving was a success. I’ll definitely be looking to do this again in years to come.

Now it is time to look forward as we countdown to Christmas.

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