For Chevy Chase Club’s Executive Pastry Chef, nostalgic, family recipes can help set the holiday mood.
Thanksgiving is just a few days away. Can you believe it? What a busy, exciting year!
As the Executive Pastry Chef of Chevy Chase (Md.) Club, it’s not often that I—or any club chefs, really—get to spend a lot of time with family during the holidays. So I rely on traditional family recipes like my Aunt’s “Cranberry Salad” to remind me of the good times and to help get myself into the holiday spirit.
Like many families, mine would celebrate holidays for hours. We’d have an overabundance of food that would end with a plethora of desserts. But there was one dessert, my Aunt Linda’s “Cranberry Salad,” that will forever transport me to a certain time and place. She made this salad every Thanksgiving, and she would make it just for me anytime I would visit becuase she knew how much I liked it.
It’s not a complicated recipe. In fact, it’s pretty straight-forward. But sometimes the best dishes are. Her cranberry salad is a semi-frozen molded salad. I know, I know. It’s so old school. But there’s something about the nostalgic sweet and tangy creaminess with the crunchy toasted nuts that makes me smile. (And I would always eat more than my fair share.)
So, in the spirit of nostalgic Thanksgiving desserts, here’s my Aunt Linda’s recipe for Cranberry Salad. (It yields one bundt pan)
Paddle cream cheese and sugar until smooth, add mayo and incorporate. Add the cranberry sauce and pineapple. Fold in the cool whip and nuts. Freeze until solid and then remove from the pan. Pull from freezer 30 minutes prior to serving.