Holiday Entertaining Shortcuts
Warm Piquillo and Crab Dip
Shortcut: Slice instead of stuff
For this classic tapa, Jose Garces stuffs his delicious crab salad into individual piquillo peppers and roasts them until hot. Instead of laboriously stuffing piquillo peppers, spread the crab mixture in a baking dish, top it with slices of the peppers, then cook until warm and melty.
Shortcut: Crushed cookies
F&W’s Grace Parisi made several versions of these brilliant little jam–topped cheesecakes, substituting fromage blanc and other tangy soft cheeses for the usual sour cream. Some versions were sweeter, others more tart; all were delicious. In these single-serving desserts from Parisi, the rich and creamy cheesecakes are baked atop a chocolate-wafer base. You don’t need any special equipment to make them—just a muffin tin and foil liners.
Plus: Christmas Desserts
Shortcut: Store-bought jelly
L.A. chef Akasha Richmond prepares a sweet-and-spicy glaze for ham using house-made pomegranate-jalapeño jelly. An easier alternative: doctoring store-bought jalapeño jelly with pomegranate juice.
Raspberry Swirl Sweet Rolls
Shortcut: Frozen fruit
In the winter, Individually Quick Frozen (IQF) fruit, like the kind sold by Cascadian Farm, is often a superior alternative to fresh fruit shipped to the US. IQF raspberries are terrific in these soft, puffy yeast rolls—a fun twist on a cinnamon bun.
Pumpkin Cheesecake with Brown Butter Pears
Shortcut: Everyday ingredients
Pastry chef Jane Tseng uses the tangy, pungent, soft-ripened Italian cheese Robiolina and house-made gingersnaps; the version here calls for cream cheese and boxed cookies.
Sausage and Bread Stuffing
Shortcut: Chicken broth
Gary Vaynerchuk’s mother, Tamara, makes Stove Top stuffing every Thanksgiving, and he proudly admits loving it. Its simplicity inspired this recipe by F&W’s Grace Parisi. Using homemade turkey stock gives it a rich flavor, but for a shortcut, use chicken broth instead.
Roasted Stuffed Turkey with-Giblet Gravy
Shortcut: Shop right
Barbara Lynch’s advice for a perfect bird: “Buy a turkey from somebody you trust. And keep going back to the same source...and every year it comes out juicy, tender and beautiful. I’m a true believer that you shouldn’t mess around too much with the turkey. I don’t brine it, I don’t fry it. If you buy a good turkey, you don’t need to add much to it.”
Brown Butter Custard Pie with Cranberry Glaze
To make this glorious pie, pastry chef Christina Tosi uses a cinnamon-sugar crumb crust, a luscious brown butter filling and a cranberry glaze. Adorning the dessert: sweet potato-white chocolate ganache.