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We Gather at the Table for Some Thanksgiving Favorites

Bigstock-Horn-Of-Plenty-2172031Whether your Thanksgiving dinner is a small affair or a feast of epic proportions, you probably have a favorite dish or two (or eight) that you look forward to eating this Thursday. I asked around the offices of Beacon Press for cherished Thanskgiving recipes and got several tasty replies. The most intriguing came from Crystal Paul in editorial, who teased me with: "I’ve got a killer sweet potato pie that I am the only one in my family who knows the recipe to (my grandma passed it down to only one lucky kitchen devotee). So I’d share it, but clearly, it’s a secret…" Thankfully, others weren't so mysterious.

Sharon Leslie Morgan is the co-author, with Thomas Norman DeWolf of, Gather at the Table: The Healing Journey of a Daughter of Slavery and a Son of the Slave Trade. Sharon is an inspiring speaker, an illuminating author and, from all accounts, a gifted cook. She sent us this recipe for Corn Pudding because, "There could be no 'Thanksgiving' without the gift of corn." 

Corn Pudding
(8 Servings)


½ cup butter
½ cup sugar (white)
4 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup corn meal (yellow)
4 cups corn (whole kernel sweet, frozen)


1 tbs paprika


CREAM butter and sugar together
ADD eggs slowly & MIX well
ADD creams & MIX well ADD corn meal & MIX well
ADD corn & MIX well
TURN batter into a buttered cooking casserole
SPRINKLE with paprika
BAKE @ 325F for about one hour, until custard is set

Kate Noe in Production sent a newspaper clipping of this Harvest Bake, which she has adapted to be vegan by subsituting Earth Balance spread for the butter. 

Harvest Bake
(6 servings)


1 23-oz can sweet potatoes or yams, drained
8 TBSP unsalted butter
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 TBSP flour
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
2 TBSP chopped pecans
1 apple, cored and thinly sliced 


In 1-quart round casserole, mash sweet potatoes until smooth. Melt 7 tablespoons butter and stir into sweet potatoes. 

Mix brown sugar, flour, and cardamom in small bowl. Cut 1 tablespoon cold butter into mixture. Stir in pecans and sprinkle 1/2 mixture over potatoes. Arrange apple slices on top. Sprinkle with remaining mixture.

Bake at 350 degrees 35 to 40 minutes or until apples are tender-crisp. 

Rachael Marks in Editorial sends her recipe for Hummingbird Cake with this note: "The original recipe appeared in Southern Living in 1978 courtesy of a certain  Mrs. L.H. Wiggins of Greensboro, NC (my hometown… yes, I’m clearly biased). I’ve always been a fan of Southern Living’s updated (read: less artery-clogging) version. It can be either 3-layers or 2-layers but should *never* be made in bundt pan (that would be ridiculous and borderline offensive)." 

Hummingbird Cake


3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 large eggs, beaten
1 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple, undrained
1 cup chopped pecans
2 cups chopped bananas 
Homemade Cream Cheese Frosting (see below)
1/2 cup chopped pecans


Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl; add eggs and oil, stirring until dry ingredients are moistened. (Do not beat.) Stir in vanilla, pineapple, 1 cup pecans, and bananas.

Pour batter into three greased and floured 9-inch round cakepans. Bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks.

Spread Cream Cheese Frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake; sprinkle 1/2 cup chopped pecans on top. Store in refrigerator.

Cream Cheese Frosting:
1/2 cup butter
1 (8-oz) package cream cheese, softened
1 (16-oz) package powdered sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla extract

Cream butter and cream cheese. Gradually add powdered sugar, beat until mixture is light and fluffy. Stir in vanilla.

*I always double the frosting recipe because I simply won’t tolerate a lightly frosted cake.

Abby Mayer in Production sent us a link to this recipe for Apple Salad from Emeril Lagasse, about which she says, "I make this every year, and it is a HUGE hit. No one thinks salad on Thanksgiving… until you force them to with (gasp) blue cheese-encrusted croutons."

As for me, my responsibility at Thanksgiving is the stuffing, or really "dressing" since we never stuff the two Kosher turkeys my mother-in-law prepares for our two nights of feasting: Thanksgiving evening and Shabbat leftover night. Let us know if you try any of these recipes yourself, or share your favorites below. And have a wonderful Thanksgiving! --Jessie Bennett, Blog Editor

Challah Stuffing
(serves a bunch of people)


1 large challah
2 TBSP olive oil
1 large sweet onion, diced
2 green bell peppers, diced
3 stalks of celery, diced
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, finely chopped (or 1 teaspoon dried)
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped (or ¼ teaspoon dried and crumbled)
½ tablespoon fresh sage, finely chopped (or ¼ teaspoon dried)
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
1 cup of apple cider 
2 or 3 cups of chicken or vegetable broth


Rip or cut the challah into small pieces and set aside. You can do this a day or so ahead of time.

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until slightly carmelized. This will take a while. When the onions are nicely browned, add bell peppers, celery, and herbs and saute until softened. 

Rub olive oil around the inside of a large baking pan. Add the challah pieces, sauteed vegetables, and apricots and mix. Mix the broth and the apple cider together and pour over the bread and vegetable mixture until all of the bread is completely saturated (use more than I indicate if you need it). Bake at 350 for 45 minutes to an hour, until the top is browned and crispy.  

Photo from Bigstock.