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Style El Dorado County Foothills

Desserts – Holiday Feasting

10/31/2014 04:13PM ● By Style

Lemon Bars

Recipe submitted by Michelle Schanel, executive chef at Snooty Frog, 3300 Coach Lane, Cameron Park, 530-677-9025,
  • 1/2 lb. unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/8 tsp. kosher salt

  • 6 extra-large eggs
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 3 tbsp. grated lemon zest (6-7 lemons)
  • 1 cup flour
  • Confectioner's sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 350-degrees Fahrenheit. For the crust, cream butter and sugar until light in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Combine the flour and salt; with the mixer on low add to the butter until mixed. Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and gather into a ball. Flatten the dough with floured hands and press it into a 9-by-13-by-2-inch baking sheet, building up a 1/2-inch edge on all sides. Chill. Combine all the ingredients for the filling and pour into chilled crust; bake for 55 minutes. Always use the toothpick test to make sure it is cooked though. Makes 20 squares or 40 triangles.


“For the best turkey every time, buy a Norbest bird and follow the label’s cooking details but soak in ginger ale overnight. Never stuff turkey the day before; [in fact], I always make it on the side.”
Michelle Schanel, executive chef at Snooty Frog


Pomegranate Pumpkin Cheesecake

Recipe submitted by Ben and Francisco, chefs at Café Zorro, 5911 King Road, Loomis, 916-660-1612,
  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted

  • 2-1/2 pounds cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 can (29 oz.) pumpkin
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. all spice
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup pomegranate syrup

  • 2 cups (16 oz.) sour cream
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 cups slivered almond halves

In a small bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs and sugar; stir in butter. Press into the bottom of 2, 8-inch spring form pans; chill. For filling, in a large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add eggs, beat on low speed just until combined. Stir in the pumpkin, spices and salt. Pour into crusts. Drizzle half of the pomegranate syrup into each. Place pans on a baking sheet. Place a water bath on lower rack; cheesecakes on top rack. Bake at 325-degrees Fahrenheit for 1.5 hours. Meanwhile, for topping, combine the sour cream, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Once cooked, spread filling over top; return to the oven for 5 minutes. Cool on rack for 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around the edge of pans to loosen; cool 1 hour longer. Refrigerate overnight. Remove sides of pans. Garnish each with slivered almonds. Refrigerate leftovers. Serves 12-16.


“When baking custard-type pies and cheesecakes, use a water bath to ensure even cookery. You will end up with smooth-surfaced products with less cracking. To produce the impeccable cheesecake, place the spring form pan on the top rack and water bath on the lower rack. It adds gentleness to the baking process and greatly reduces the chance the cheesecake will crack, curdle or turn dark.”
Ben and Francisco


Pear Huckleberry Crisp

Recipe submitted by Anthony Endy, director of culinary operations and corporate chef at Paul Martin’s American Grill, 1455 Eureka Road, Roseville, 916-783-3600,

  • 1-1/4 pound butter
  • 2 cups walnuts, chopped
  • 1 quart all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp. ground nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2.5 cups oatmeal

Cut butter into medium-sized cubes. Place walnuts in a food processor, and pulse until walnuts are approximately 1/4-inch pieces. Using a spatula, gently combine all ingredients in mixer. Mix on low speed until crumbly (granola texture). Do not overmix! Set aside as you make the filling.

  • 2 cups huckleberries
  • 8 cups Red Comice pears, diced
  • 1 cup pear Brandy (Paul Martin’s uses pear Brandy from Clear Creek Distillery)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tbsp. cinnamon

Wash and strain the huckleberries to remove as many stems as possible. Peel and dice the pears into 1/2-inch cubes. Combine all the ingredients and let sit for 5-10 minutes before building the crisps. Fill dishes with 1-1/4 cups of the filling and top with 1/2 cup of topping. Place on a lined sheet pan and bake in a 400-degree Fahrenheit (conventional) oven (use an au gratin dish, which can be found at any cookware retailer) until the topping is nicely browned, approximately 20-25 minutes. (For convection ovens, set at 350-degrees Fahrenheit for 20-25 minutes.) Serves 4.


Recipe submitted by Eric Edstrom, executive chef at The Purple Place Bar and Grill, 363 Green Valley Road, El Dorado Hills, 916-933-2313,
  • 6 cups flour           
  • 6 tsp. baking powder   
  • Salt, pinch        
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar   
  • 6 tbsp. Crisco
  • 4 eggs (reserve 2 whites)
  • 1 tbsp. milk
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla
  • Sherry

Sift flour, baking powder and salt together. Mix in sugar and cut in Crisco with a pastry cutter or fork. Make a well in the center and add the eggs, milk and vanilla. Mix gently and add enough Sherry to blend to a pliable but firm consistency. Let rest for 30 minutes.

  • 1 package dried figs       
  • 1 jar mincemeat
  • 1/2 pound dates       
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 pound raisins       
  • 1/2 bottle dark Karo syrup
  • 1 cup walnuts           
  • 1/3 cup Sherry or Brandy
  • 1 pound glazed (or candied) fruit
  • 1 tbsp. cinnamon

Put all ingredients through food chopper. If filling is too dry, add more Sherry. If too wet, add more fruit. Roll out pastry on a floured board to a 1/4-inch thickness. Cut in 3-inch strips. Fill center of strips with fruit filling. Join edges of pastry and roll gently to seal edges. Keep sealed edge face down. Cut in 3-inch lengths and cut small slits in the sides. Place on greased cookie sheet and bake at 350-degrees Fahrenheit until light brown, 10-15 minutes.

  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 package powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp. hot water (more if icing is too thick)

Beat egg whites until foamy, but not thick. Add sugar and water and blend until smooth. Add food coloring if desired or chocolate to sugar before blending. Use a pastry brush to spread on either hot or cold cookies. Decorate tops with candy sprinkles or chopped nuts, if desired, while icing is still wet.



“I come from a large extended Sicilian family (even though you wouldn’t know that from my name), and as kids this was something we always looked forward to and had at every holiday. If you only make the pastry and roll it out one-inch thick, cut it to the desired size and let it rest before baking, it makes great scones. I used to make them at the café my wife and I owned on the coast in Pacifica, and we always got rave reviews. Add whatever type of fruit or nuts you want.”
Eric Edstrom, executive chef at The Purple Place Bar and Grill

For More Holiday Recipes:
Photo by Dante Fontana  Style Media Group

Holiday Feasting - 10/31/2014 15:50

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