In the Kitchen: Cake Boss Buddy Valastro Preps for Thanksgiving Feasts
By Fabiana Santana
If you’ve seen the show, you know that now Buddy welcomes little helpers in the kitchen, too. Little Buddy, the son his longtime friend and colleague Mauro, has made several appearances on the show and if you visit the Hoboken bakery Carlo’s where the show is set, Little Buddy will probably be the one who greats you at the door.
“You’ve got to get the kids involved in the traditions so they realize how important they are. My daughter helps me make meatballs now. She gets all excited, washes her hands real clean and rolls up the meat and really gets into it. When that happens, when they get into it, they learn the recipes and techniques and you can bet they will carry those traditions and memories on with their kids. We’ve got generations of family eating those meatballs now.”
On Thanksgiving though, those meatballs will take a backseat to an oversized turkey dinner that Buddy and his family will prepare. The dinner is based on a collection of recipes from his grandmother and father. “My grandmother’s stuffing has all kinds of good, Italian ingredients in it. There is sausage, breadcrumbs, cherry tomatoes, proscuitto, mortadella. It’s like, forget about it! It’s the best.” Of course, buddy is in charge of dessert. “ I will definitely make the pumpkin and pecan pies. The pecan pie is based on a recipe my dad came up with, that I tweaked a bit and made my own.”
So when will they start cooking?
“The day before. We will stuff the turkey, tie it, and then bring it to the bakery to cook. We have a big family, so it’s a big bird.”
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Buddy’s Thanksgiving Day tips:
1.Stuff the turkey the night before. “ Some people say to cook it without the stuffing because it will dry out but my grandmother always cooked it with stuffing and it was as juicy as can be, so that is how we do it now.”
2. Truss or tie the bird. That helps the bird to stay compact and tight so nothing falls out when cooking.
3. Pit a few pats of butter between the skin and meat to crate a nice, crisp skin when it cooks.
4. Baste your turkey. “Basting is important. We cook our turkey in oven in the bakery, and the oven rotates so it cooks up nice and even with no hot spots. Most people don’t have a rotating oven, so every hour or so, turn the pan about a ¼ turn and baste it nicely and it will have the same effect that our rotating oven does.”
5. If you are in charge of a dish, pick a recipe and make it your own.
“It’s great to carry on family recipes. It’s very important to honor your family, but you may want to put your own spin on one, so that one day, that is the recipe you are famous for. I love pecan pie, but it can be too sweet for me sometimes. So I took my dad’s recipe and looked at it and thought about what I could do to cut the sweetness just a bit and put my spin on it. I added some chocolate liquor and it worked. It’s to die for!”
PECAN PIE RECIPE
3/4 cup Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 cup Light Corn Syrup
1 ounce of chocolate liquor. Or substitute with 3 (1 ounce) squares of Unsweetened Chocolate, melted and cooled
3 tablespoons melted Butter or Regular Margarine
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1 cup chopped Pecans
1 (9 inch) Unbaked Pie Shell
1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
2. Combine first seven ingredients in a bowl.
3. At medium speed, with electric mixer, beat until well blended.
4. Add the pecans.
5. Pour pecan pie mixture into the unbaked pie shell.
6. Bake 35 minutes, or until set.
7. Cool on a wire rack.
CAKE BOSS CUPCAKES
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 egg whites from large eggs
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup whole milk
2 large eggs (add egg whites for a white cake; yolks, for a yellow cake)
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
1/2 cup butter or margarine (1 stick) softened
1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted (approximately 1 lb.)
2 tablespoons milk
Makes: About 3 cups of icing.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, shortening, milk and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Mix at low speed for 2 minutes. Scrape bowl. Add egg whites and mix at high speed until fluffy and smooth, approximately 2 minutes. Fill liners 1/2 to 2/3 full of batter. Do not overfill. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pans then remove from pan, and place on wire racks to cool completely.
In large bowl, cream shortening and butter with electric mixer. Add vanilla. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry. Add milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Keep bowl covered with a damp cloth until ready to use.
For best results, keep icing bowl in refrigerator when not in use. Refrigerated in an airtight container, this icing can be stored 2 weeks. Rewhip before using.
Check back in a few weeks on when we visit Buddy again as he hosts an all Italian feast for Christmas
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