December / 2000
Kentucky Cooks

Home for the holidays
by: Linda Allison-Lewis

How about a few new ideas on how to dazzle 'em this holiday season with dishes as spectacular as those served by the finest restaurants? Pepper Crusted Pork Roast is a great alternative to turkey and ham and an entrée befitting your finest serving plate. Butternut Squash Puree and Onion Popovers are the perfect sides for this great meal. Top it off with a dazzling Mocha Cream Puff Pastry Ring and sit back and wait for the raves. Many blessings this month and peace to you and yours.

PEPPER CRUSTED PORK ROAST
1 Tablespoon crushed green peppercorns
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 Tablespoon poultry seasoning
6 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
3/4 teaspoon crushed, dried red pepper
1 (10-12 rib) crown roast of pork, well-trimmed
(4-4-1/2 pounds)
Parsley or bay leaf to decorate
Grape clusters, cherries, or other fruit
Preheat oven to 450°. Combine first six ingredients and rub mixture over inside of roast. Place roast, bone ends up, on a rack in a roasting pan. Cut a piece of foil long enough to fit around ribs. Fold foil lengthwise in half. Wrap around ribs and fold over tips of ribs. Insert meat thermometer into roast without touching bone or fat. Place roast in oven and reduce heat to 325°. Bake for 2-1/2 hours or until meat thermometer reads 160°. Remove from oven and let roast stand for 15 minutes. Transfer to a large serving platter and garnish with parsley and grape clusters. Carve immediately and serve. Makes 10 to 12 servings.

BUTTERNUT SQUASH PUREE
1 butternut squash (about 2 lbs.)
2 to 3 Tablespoons sweet unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon light brown sugar
Dash of ground allspice
Dash of nutmeg
Stand squash on end and peel with vegetable peeler. Split lengthwise and cut off slice from both ends. Scoop out seeds and pith with a sharp spoon. Cut squash into large chunks and steam over boiling water until fork tender. This should take 10 to 12 minutes. Puree squash in a food mill or processor. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add remaining ingredients and beat with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.

ONION POPOVERS
1 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon melted butter
3 eggs, well-beaten
1 cup sifted flour
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
2 Tablespoons chopped dried onions
Preheat oven to 400°. Spray 6 baking cups or 6 popover pans with vegetable oil. Combine first 6 ingredients together and beat until smooth. Add dried onions and blend well. Fill cups two-thirds full and bake 40 to 45 minutes or until golden brown. Serves 6.

MOCHA CREAM PUFF PASTRY RING
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup flour
3 eggs
2 Tablespoons slivered almonds
Boil water and butter together until butter melts. Add flour all at once. Stir over medium heat until mixture clings to spoon and forms a ball. Remove from heat and beat in eggs, one at a time, blending well after each addition. Spoon mixture onto ungreased baking sheet, forming a 9-inch circle with a 3- or 4-inch opening in the center. Sprinkle slivered almonds on top. Bake 8 minutes at 400°, reduce heat to 350° and bake 30 minutes longer until deep, golden brown. Prick ring several times with sharp knife tip to let steam escape. Let stand in oven with heat off and door open for 5 minutes. When cool split in half and fill with Mocha Buttercream (recipe follows).

MOCHA BUTTERCREAM
1/4 cup instant coffee granules
4-1/2 teaspoons water
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1-1/4 cups confectioners sugar
3/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons heavy whipping
cream, chilled
Dissolve coffee granules in water. Place all ingredients in food processor and process until light and fluffy (about 5 minutes). Stop several times to scrape down the sides with rubber spatula. Transfer mixture to a mixing bowl and, using electric mixer, beat 15 to 20 minutes on medium-high speed, stopping frequently to scrape down sides. Mixture should be light and fluffy. Spoon mixture between layers of pastry ring. Serves 8.

Linda Allison-Lewis writes from her home in Bullitt County. She is the author of Kentucky's Best-Fifty Years of Great Recipes. Send letters, recipes, or requests to Kentucky Cooks, Linda Allison-Lewis, P. O. Box 40, Hillview, KY 40129.