Once upon a time, families and friends would gather for the holidays, making merry and exchanging gifts. While that might not be the case in 2020, it’s still possible to treat yourself to a little decadent dessert or drink.
To help bring a little joy into readers’ holidays and spread some cheer, the staff of the Enterprise has gathered up their favorite seasonal delights to share with our readers.
400-year-old ‘Buttered Beere’
No, this isn’t the syrupy butterscotch drink you can buy at Harry Potter World, but it did inspire it. If you’re in the mood for a boozy, rich and aromatic experience this holiday season, Buttered Beere is just what you need. You’ll also impress your family and friends by offering them a hot sip of Tudor England.
YouTube channel Tasting History with Max Miller introduced me to this recipe from 16th century cookbook “The Good Huswifes Handmaide for the Kitchin.” In short, ale makers would often add eggs, butter, sugar and spices to batches of brew that had turned the corner in order to mask the unpleasant taste. I’d imagine ale drinkers began to appreciate the sweet and spicy beverage in its own right and wanted to replicate it at home.
Here’s what you’ll need to make Buttered Beere:
3 Pints (1500ml/48oz) of good quality British Ale
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 lb (225g) demerara or brown sugar
5 egg yolks
1 stick (113g) unsalted butter
Max Miller says, “Take 5 yolks and beat them with the demerara or brown sugar until light and frothy. Set aside. Poor the ale into a saucepan. Try to not create too much foam. Stir in the spices. Over medium heat, bring the mixture to a boil, then turn down to low and simmer for 2 minutes. For a non-alcoholic drink, leave at medium heat and boil for 20 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the egg and sugar mixture. Then return the pot to low heat until the liquid starts to thicken. Simmer for 5 minutes. Add in the diced butter and stir until melted. Then froth the buttered beer with a hand whisk and let simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow buttered beer to cool to a warm but drinkable temperature. Then whisk again and serve warm. This can (also) be served cold by chilling the beer, then mixing it with cold milk (1 part beer/1 part milk).”
My tip for 2020: spike it with whiskey and toast the new year.
- Dakota Morlan
Magic Persimmon Cookies
Christmas is all about traditions and every family has their own set of rituals that they follow every year. For me, my favorite Christmas tradition is eating persimmon cookies.
When I was a young boy, every year a family friend would send my mother a big bag of persimmon cookies for Christmas. Those cookies were absolutely delicious and every year, I waited for that shipment to arrive so I could devour as many as I could.
Once I became an adult and was out on my own, I had to figure out a way to still get my persimmon cookie fix. So, for a number of years, typically the person who I was dating would begrudgingly attempt to make those delicious treats. Some batches were good; some were just OK.
When I started dating the lovely Mrs. Dossi, I convinced her to give making persimmon cookies a try. She had never even heard of persimmon cookies, but she did her best. Her first attempt was, well, a solid effort. But because I loved her and didn’t want to make her feel bad, I ate every single one with a smile on my face.
As the years have gone by, her persimmon cookie skills have greatly improved, and she now can make them like an all-star. Each year, I look forward to eating too many cookies and not feeling guilty about it for a second.
My one request is that the cookies are made within the week of Christmas. If made too early, it doesn’t feel right to be eating them. If made too late, then the magic of the cookies is gone. But made within the week, oh, it’s just right.
As I write this, I can look up and see a batch of freshly baked persimmon cookies just waiting for me to end their little cookie lives. And the best way to enjoy them is with a tall glass of cold milk.
Homemade persimmon cookies made from love and milk makes for a very Merry Christmas.
Persimmon cookie recipe
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Additional time: 15 minutes
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 cup persimmon pulp
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup raisins
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease or line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, soda, salt and spices; set aside.
3. In a separate bowl, cream the shortening with the sugar using a hand mixer. Beat in egg, then beat in persimmon pulp. Slowly beat in the flour mixture until everything is combined. By hand, stir in the nuts and raisins.
4. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto prepared baking sheets. They can be placed close together because these cookies don’t spread much.
5. Bake for approximately 12-15 minutes. Let cool on baking sheets for five minutes and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Guy Dossi
‘Good for You’ Pumpkin Pie
Mom was always baking. Our holiday gatherings were just that: gatherings. Family would come from all over and spend days before and after Christmas. And there would always be food, especially pies.
My mom baked lemon meringue, apple, cherry, banana cream, coconut cream (remind me to tell you about an epic family pie fight sometime), chocolate and—my all-time favorite—pumpkin pie. She made sure that everyone got the pie they wanted.
Though we definitely had pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving, it was only the star dessert in my eyes at Christmas. So much so that I learned how to bake it myself, always concocting a couple at holidays as an adult.
Nowadays I try not to indulge in too many sweet treats, but pumpkin pie will win me over every time. Just to make myself feel good about my food choices, I sometimes bake this vegan pumpkin pie recipe from connoisseurusveg.com that’s every bit as good as the alternative. I’ve omitted the pie crust recipe (easily found online) for space.
1 vegan pie crust (or a store-bought one)
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
1/3 cup organic brown sugar
1/3 cup organic white sugar
3/4 cup full-fat coconut milk
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven to 400°.
Use a knife to poke a few holes in the bottom of the pie crust.
Line the inside of the crust with a sheet of parchment paper, then fill it with pie weights, dried beans, or rice.
Place the crust into the oven and bake it for 15 minutes.
While the crust bakes, place the pumpkin, brown sugar, white sugar, coconut milk, cornstarch, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla and salt into a large mixing bowl.
Use an electric mixer to beat the mixture until fully blended, smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes.
When the crust has finished baking, pour the pumpkin mixture into it and smooth out the top with a spatula.
Place the pie into the oven and turn the temperature down to 350°.
Bake the pie until the center is just set, about 50 minutes.
Remove the pie from the oven and allow it to cool completely before cutting.
Serve with whipped coconut cream or vegan vanilla ice cream.
- Marc Lutz
Spiked Apple Pie
For some people, the holidays bring about a longing for eggnog, hot chocolate or warm apple cider, but not for me. I’ve always been an avid IPA enthusiast (especially during the season), but for the last few years I have mixed ingredients that have taken the place of my holiday beer drinking tendencies. I’ve always been fond of Fireball and apple juice—cold or warmed; the combination is great any time of the year. One Christmas, though, I had been perusing the bar cabinet in my parent’s house and found vanilla vodka. Out of curiosity, I splashed some into my usual cinnamon whiskey/apple juice concoction. This recipe has been a holiday tradition for my family and I for a few years now and hopefully will be passed down in a new seasonal tradition to my kids when they become of age. Happy Holidays, everyone!
1 oz Fireball whiskey
4 oz Martinelli’s apple juice
1 oz vanilla vodka
brown sugar for rim
Optional: cinnamon stick for garnish
Wet the rim of the glass and sugar it with the brown sugar. In a martini shaker, mix the whiskey, vodka and apple juice with a few ice cubes. Shake well and pour into old-fashioned glass without disrupting the sugared rim. Add a cinnamon stick for garnish if desired.
- Holly Moser