As the executive chef at the Trump International Beach Resort in Sunny Isles, Kurtis Jantz oversees the entire food and beverage operation for the resort. This is one busy man, and most of his Thanksgivings are spent working.
"My tradition is definitely working it," Jantz told us. "Around here we fix family meals together so we gear [the meal] to a Thanksgiving feast and we pig out while we're working."
Since Jantz spent time in New Orleans and works with other chefs from that town in his kitchen, fried turkey has become a tradition, as has stuffing with pork or andouille sausage. His personal staple is his grandmother's green been casserole. While all that sounds delicious, when we saw him tweet about his pumpkin cake with foie gras buttercream we couldn't resist asking for that recipe.
Jantz's advice to home cooks is that they brine the turkey, try to buy heritage style turkeys (which have more flavor than the grocery store stuff), and take the meal's preparation in stages.
"The recipes that we make for Thanksgiving can be staged. You can do the sweet potatoes two days before. The turkey can be brined before. And don't over complicate it. Why does it have to be a sit down stuffy dinner every year? Why not make it a turkey barbecue? Why not do it outdoors? We're in Miami. It's all about the feast; getting together with family and friends and being thankful."
We like his thinking.
Pumpkin Cake with Foie Gras Buttercream
Yields 1 9X9 cake pan
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour plus additional for dusting pan
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 tsp. ground allspice
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1/8 tsp. ground cardamom
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1- 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla, pure extract
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Butter 9X9" baking pan generously.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, cardamom and salt in a bowl.
Whisk together pumpkin, 3/4 cup buttermilk, and vanilla in another bowl.
Using an electric mixer with paddle attachment, beat butter and granulated sugar at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes.
Then add eggs and beat 1 minute.
Reduce speed to low and add flour and pumpkin in batches till the batter is smooth.
Pour batter into prepared baking pan and bake about 45 to 50 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick or skewer inserted in center of cake comes out clean.
Cool cake in pan on a rack 15-20 minutes, remove from pan and cool completely on a rack.
Frost with foie gras butter cream. Can also be made in cupcake forms.
Foie Gras Buttercream
4 eggs, room temperature, eggs and whites separated, white only, reserve the yolks for another preparation
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
10 ounces foie gras mousse pate or prepared torchon, cubed and at room temperature
In a stand mixer with whip, whip the eggs until light and fluffy.
In a small saucepan bring the sugar and the corn syrup to a boil.
Drizzle the sugar mixture into the mixing bowl with the eggs at a low speed.
Turn mixer to high speed and whip till stiff peaks.
Turn mixer back low again and slowly add the foie gras pieces one cube at a time until each piece is completely mixed in. Whip on high till light and creamy and use immediately.
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Optional- garnish with graham cracker streusel (or crushed graham crackers), and port soaked raisins.
Looking for more Thanksgiving inspiration? Check out our other chef recipes.