Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Dinner Menu and Recipes

been vacillating between serving a stuffed lamb roast (last years Christmas entree) or a beef roast for Christmas dinner. Finally the decision came after I served perfectly cooked slices of roast beef at last nights party. Everyone said the beef was tender, juicy and flavorful. The other great news, it's a no fuss recipe!  

ast nights menu also included a Caramel and Cream Pie with Salty Pretzel Crust. Gooey caramel lay in between a buttery, salty pretzel crust and thick globs of sweetened whipped cream. The decision about what to serve for dessert on Christmas night (we have Christmas cookies on Christmas Eve) was sealed the moment I put a bite into my mouth. It's one of the most marvelous desserts I've ever tasted!  I'll post again before the 25th, but wanted to let you know what's on our menu because so many of you have asked.  

Christmas Dinner Menu
Beef Round Eye Round Roast with Horseradish Cream
Creamy Potatoes with Crispy Buttered Bread Topping
Orange Marmalade Tomatoes
Puff Pastry Stuffed with Mascarpone &Spinach
Mushroom Medley Drenched in Buttered Wine
Caramel Cream Pie with Salty Pretzel Crust
 Tender Beef Round Eye Round Roast

This is a great formula for cooking the most flavorful roast. Follow the directions exactly and you will have a perfectly cooked (medium rare) roast. It’s very important to remove the roast from the refrigerator about 3 hours prior to cooking. It’s also very important to let the roast rest once you’ve removed it from the oven.

Helpful to know: At the butcher’s recommendation, I seasoned the roast with A.A. Borsari Seasoned Salt - Original Blend. It’s a unique blend of gourmet salts (known as the caviar of seasoned salts) and many whole fresh herbs. It’s an artisanal company with a great story, You can also successfully use any seasoning that combines garlic, salt and pepper.

One 3 pound roast
Olive oil
Borsari seasoning or a combination of garlic, salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 500°. Preheat for 20 minutes. Rub roast with olive oil and cover with Borsari seasoning. Place roast fat side up on a rack in a shallow baking pan. Place it in the oven and immediately reduce oven temperature to 475°. Cook for 21 minutes (regardless of the size of the roast, cooking for 7 minutes per pound is the perfect formula). Turn off oven and leave roast in for 20 minutes per pound (60 minutes). Do not open the door to peek at the roast. When cooking time is complete, remove the roast and let stand for 20 minutes. Thinly slice and serve. Yield: 12 servings.

Caramel and Cream Pie with Salty Pretzel Crust

My grandmother used to make a rendition of this pie and as kids we loved it. With one exception for me, I only ate the caramel and cream part because I never liked graham crackers and her caramel cream pie was made using crushed graham crackers. Lately we’ve been eating salty caramel ice cream so the thought of turning these decadent and complementing ingredients together was born. 

Helpful to know: Plan accordingly, it takes 2 hours cooking time to turn the condensed milk into caramel plus the additional 4 hours it takes for the pie to set and chill, so it’s best to start early in the day that you plan to serve it. It’s best to prepare whipped cream a few hours prior to serving. Place either bowl or beater (s) in freezer for about 2 hours prior to preparing whipping cream.

Salty Pretzel Crust

12 pretzel rods, about 1¼ cups
1 stick (½ cup) butter, melted
¼ cup brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350°. Process pretzel rods in food processor until crushed. Add melted butter and brown sugar and pulse mixture until combined. Reserve a ¼ cup of mixture. Transfer remaining mixture to a 9-inch pie dish. Bake for about 10 minutes.


Two 14-ounce cans sweetened condensed milk.

Increase oven temperature to 425°. Transfer condensed milk to an 11x7-inch baking dish, cover with tin foil. Place condensed milk baking dish into a 13x9-inch baking dish and add enough hot water to fill it one-third full. Carefully place in oven and cook for 2 hours (every 30 minutes stir mixture and add more water when needed) or until thick and caramel colored. As it thickens the mixture begins to get lumpy, don’t worry the lumps sort out during the chilling process. Spread caramel evenly over salty pretzel crust. Allow to cool for about a half hour, then refrigerate for at least 4 hours.


2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

Pour whipping cream into medium bowl and beat on medium speed. Add confectioners’ sugar. When the cream thickens, increase the speed and continue to beat until cream falls in large globs and has soft peaks. Careful not to over beat or the cream will turn to butter. Top caramel pie with whipped cream and sprinkle reserved salty pretzel mixture on top. Yield: 8-10 servings.