The holiday season gives us endless opportunities to gather around the table with family and close friends. And for most of us, enjoying our favorite seasonal dishes goes hand-in-hand with reliving memories of holidays past.
At least that’s the case for Carbon Beach Club’s Executive Chef Cody Dickey, who finds himself upholding childhood traditions by reinventing foods his family would make for the occasion.
“My favorite thing about the holidays is the nostalgia that comes with the food,” he says. “Everybody has dishes that they grew up eating and ingredients that they’re familiar with.”
For him, one such dish is the sweet potato pie that his mom used to make with canned potatoes and Jiffy Puff marshmallows – an adaptation of a recipe printed in The New York Times. “What that evolved into was me roasting my own sweet potatoes,” he says, “and mashing them with spices before baking them with a homemade marshmallow meringue.”
Other variations were actually responses to childhood meals, like a succulent turkey confit – slow-cooked until it falls off the bone – that was born out of a distaste for dry turkey.
Along with warm spices and seasonal produce, like the fresh pumpkins, squash, Brussels sprouts, and pomegranates that Carbon Beach Club is currently enjoying, Chef Cody believes that adding a personal touch to the cuisine is what really makes a meal during the holidays.
With that in mind, he decided to share his own recipes for sweet potato pie and turkey confit for you to make at home – perhaps after your stay at Malibu Beach Inn.
Sweet Potato Pie
Sweet Potato Puree:
3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled
5T butter, unsalted
5 whole Star Anise
2 whole cinnamon sticks
-In a large pot, cover the sweet potatoes completely with cold water.
-Add the whole spices.
-Bring to a boil and cook at 350 degrees until very tender – about 45 minutes.
-Drain and mash into a puree.
1 1/4t freshly grated ginger OR 1t ground ginger powder
1t ground cinnamon
1t ground allspice
1 large egg
1/2t vanilla extract
2 1/4t baking powder
2T maple syrup
-Mix all ingredients with the sweet potato puree. Taste and adjust seasoning/spices if needed.
-Pour the mixture into a casserole or pie dish (pie shell optional) and bake until just set and lightly browned on top – about 45 to 55 minutes.
1/3 cup water
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup light corn syrup
3 egg whites, room temperature
1/2t cream of tartar
1t vanilla extract
Optional: 1/2 vanilla bean, scraped, seeds kept
-Add egg whites, cream of tartar, and vanilla bean to a stand mixer with a whisk attachment. Set aside without mixing.
-In a small saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup, and water. Simmer until sugar mixture reaches 240 degrees.
-Simultaneously, when sugar mixture is almost 240 degrees, turn on the mixer until the egg white mixture forms soft peaks.
-When the sugar mixture reaches 240 degrees, remove from heat and slowly add to the egg white mixture along the sides of the bowl. Keep the mixer running until stiff, room-temperature peaks form.
-Add vanilla extract and whisk for 10 seconds.
-Dollop the mixture on top of the pie filling or add to a piping bag to create designs.
-Toast the finished pie with a torch or by placing beneath the broiler until marshmallow is golden-brown.
2 whole turkey legs (legs and thighs separated)
1/2gal canola oil
4c olive oil
5 garlic cloves
2 whole shallots, halved
2 rosemary springs
3 thyme sprigs
Salt and pepper
-Season turkey with salt and pepper.
-Place turkey in roasting pan, and add herbs, garlic, and shallots.
-Cover with both oils.
-Cook at 300 degrees for 2 hours or until turkey is tender and begins to fall off the bone.
-Remove the legs and thighs from the oil and drain on a wire rack.
-Once cool, shred leg and thigh meat.
-Serve immediately, or strain oil and pour back over the chicken to store to keep from drying out.