You may wonder because I'm Malaysian and not American (duh!), why on earth am I talking about all these. Yes, it's true that I shouldn't have anything to do with it theoretically speaking. But, Thanksgiving was a part of me for almost three years when I was still an undergraduate in the U.S. And, I've got to say I enjoyed every part of this all-American experience ... ah hem, the Minnesotan way mostly. =_="
Besides the Fourth of July, Christmas and Halloween, Thanksgiving is also an important celebration among the Americans. Falls on the fourth Thursday of every November in the U.S., Thanksgiving was originally a fall harvest festival. It is now the time for people to show their gratitude, love and care to their loved ones, e.g. family, friends and neighbors. (If unmistaken, former U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt was the one who made the date change to Thanksgiving during the World War II period, making them different from Canadian Thanksgiving hahaha ...!) This may sound ridiculous to you, but I've got to admit when it comes to Thanksgiving, most people in America will think of either "EAT" or "FEAST." The majority will always end up OVERFED and with TONS OF LEFTOVERS! It's true and I'd experienced that myself LOL!
For the Americans in general, roasted turkeys, cranberry sauce, dressings, stuffings, mashed potatoes and gravy as well as salads are a must for main course. The Thanksgiving Feast will always end with fall desserts. In other words, fall harvests such as pumpkins, squash, apples and cranberries will always find their way into people's tummies as desserts. Good, good classics would be spiced pumpkin pies and bars as well as apple pie. (Yummy!)
Because the U.S. is such a vast country, each region celebrates this special occasion in a slightly different way. Take for instance Minnesota, the state where I called home in the past 2.8 years. As I've mentioned, I saw America mostly from the eye of a Minnesotan. I can assure you that you can find hotdishes (or casseroles) on the table of most Minnesotan families on Thanksgiving and other occasions. Perhaps, its neighboring states Wisconsin and the Dakotas are big on hotdishes, too! Hotdishes are such a common dish served in that part of the Midwest.
From this year onward, I won't be physically celebrating Thanksgiving like how I did while I was in the U.S. Nonetheless, it doesn't mean I can't share that joy deep in my thoughts. I'd like to thus take the opportunity to thank my own family, including my mom and dad as well as my two baby brothers. My relatives and friends, who have been nice and taking care of me since my younger days, are on the list as well!
AND, how can I forget about the great, kind-hearted people I met in the States! I couldn't imagine the struggling and pain of going through all the difficulties alone as a student abroad for almost three years if it weren't for the help that these people bestowed upon me! Furthermore, I never got to fly home for a visit during those years! Can you picture the severe homesickness I was suffering from for that long? (LOL!) Yes, my own family did help in many ways ... But, they weren't there physically. Without these amazing people, I wouldn't be doing what I'm doing today.
Here's a shout-out to my Beloved in the U.S. (hahaha ...!) They are:
The Williams & the Cobbs: Steve & Bonnie, I miss you two dearly! =)
Keren "Baker" Williams (Where are your chocolate chip cookies? =P)
Abbi Cobb & her family =)
Martha Johnson & her family
Anna Edward & her family, with Henry the Dog (LOL!)
My American Grandma Ula Hoffer (L), Mathew (C) & his wife Emily (R)
The Lockes, especially Mike & Mary
Becky Boe & her family! Miss you guys! =)
And of course, Lucas Kennedy! How can I forget this cute little boy! If it not were for Keren babysitting him, I don't think I would've met this charming boy. His mom is a great nature photographer. =)
How can we end the Thanksgiving dinner without food! Here it is, my share for the Thanksgiving this year! Because cranberries are associated with fall and Thanksgiving meals, I'd like to dedicate this cranberry yogurt chiffon to all my loved ones, friends and all you out there who actually read my journal. The recipe is taken from Chiffon Cake Book by Junko Fukuda. I fell in love with the book at first sight. Fortunately, I got the last copy from the bookstore Kinokuniya! My goodness!
This cranberry yogurt chiffon is slightly sweet and comes with the tang given out by the bits of cranberries and yogurt added! Soft, light and moist, too! A really good cake dessert to make and share with your loved ones at Thanksgiving dinner!
However, do note that it's best to bake your cake according to the cooking time suggested by the recipe fully. In other words, neither less nor more than the suggested time; otherwise, it may end up either too wet due to underbaking or too dry due to overbaking.
Normally, the chiffon recipes I've tried call for some sort of leaveners e.g. baking powder and baking soda. But, this particular one only relies on the air beaten into the meringue to help leaven the cake. So, the texture of the cake is slightly different than leavener(s)-leavened chiffons as it's moister, softer and more tender ... almost melts in your mouth. With that said, you'll also need to be extra careful when folding the meringue into the cake batter. Once the air is all forced out, your cake is definitely going to be over!
Here's another reminder once again that this year's Thanksgiving falls on Nov 26. I'd like to wish a very HAPPY THANKSGIVING to all you out there who celebrate this special occasion! =)
Cranberry Yogurt Chiffon 蔓越莓優格戚風蛋糕 (Adapted from Chiffon Cake Book by Junko Fukuda 《好吃戚風蛋糕輕松上手》。福田 涥子)
For one 20cm chiffon cake tin
5 egg yolks, at room temperature
43g castor sugar
65ml neutral-flavored oil
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
130g plain yogurt
130g cake flour, sifted twice
7 egg whites, at room temperature
87g castor sugar
95g dried cranberries
enough cake flour (I used plain flour for this)
- Whisk (A) together till smooth and the sugar is completely dissolved--mixture should look somewhat pale yellow in color and sticky
- Add in (B) to the yolk mixture to combine well, then sift in the 130g cake flour and fold to fully combine it into the mixture. Set aside
- Evenly coat the dried cranberries with enough cake flour till they are well-coated with flour, then sift away excess flour. Set aside for use later
- For the meringue, whip the egg whites on low speed till it's foamy; gradually mix in the 87g sugar as you whip the egg whites on low speed. Continue whipping the egg whites till it's reached stiff-peak stage--this is the meringue
- Fold 1/3 of the meringue into the yolk mixture to "lighten up" the yolk mixture as the density of both the mixtures differ greatly. Then, GENTLY fold the remaining meringue in 2~3 portions into the yolk mixture till they are just incorporated--DON'T overfold as you may risk deflating the air out of the meringue!
- Add the flour-coated dried cranberries into the batter and using a wide rubber spatula, gently fold till the berries are just evenly scattered throughout the batter--STOP there.
- Pour the batter into a clean, grease- & dirt-free 20cm chiffon cake tin all in one shot. Then, make sure the surface of the batter is leveled--level it out with the spatula if not
Briefly knock the cake tin over the counter to get rid of large air pockets
- Bake at 180C for 40 minutes till the chiffon is cooked through, i.e. toothpick should be clean when removed after being inserted into the center of the cake and the surface of cake shouldn't be springy and not sticky to touch
- Quickly remove the chiffon tin from the oven, then immediately invert the tin to let the cake cool inside the tin completely.
- Carefully unmold the chiffon once it is completely cooled. Slice to serve or store airtight. Best consumed within 2~3 days