I found two splendid turkey breasts last night, and have found a recipe that suggests how to make them with a nice cranberry bread stuffing. I’ve got a big bag of green beans waiting for an almond topping, cranberry relish already gelling in the ‘fridge, and big plans for a pumpkin pie. My Dutch friends are contributing sweet potatoes, bread, and salad (besides their appetites), so I think we’re good to go.
The turkey breast will be a bit tricky since the game store removed the skin and bones, so it’s not clear how to hold things together so there is a cavity for the stuffing. I put the question out on Facebook and got a lot of good ideas and suggestions, so I’m good to go there. (many thanks to all!)
Armed with my shopping list, then, I set off for the Albert Heijn for the last bits.
Spices are always a challenge in the Netherlands because people generally don’t bake (and why would you with a bakery on every corner?). Spice names can also be non-intuitive (Muskaat – Nutmeg : Kaneel – Cinnamon), sage (salie) isn’t as common, allspice is unknown. So it’s a bit of a scavenger hunt to come up with all of the ingredients or substitutes. I didn’t do bad: slivered almonds were a puzzle, and I barely got the last bags of cranberries (veenbessen).
The pumpkin pie was the impossible one.
The recipe calls for mashed pumpkin, eggs, condensed milk, spices, brown sugar, butter, all mixed and ladled into pie shells. This is the archetypical list of things you can’t find in the AH.
I started by asking for pumpkin (pompoen). The clerk headed for the vegetable section. “Sorry, no, I need it already out of the pumpkin, in a can?” The clerk looked baffled and a little worried. A can? We checked the veggie aisle; he said he’d never seen anything like that. I asked another clerk if there was mashed pumpkin somewhere, making sqhishing motions with my fingers. He brightened: absolutely!, and brought me pumpkin juice from the health food section.
Pie shells were no easier: the frozen desserts included lots of ice cream and fruit, but no pies or cakes. Condensed milk brought5 me to the shelf-milk section where I had a choice of volle or koffie melk, but not what I needed.
It’s okay: dessert will be store-bought this year. The important things are taken care of and I’m grateful to have even gotten a few calls from expat friends asking me to join them for celebrations. Many thanks; friends are definitely something I’m thankful for this season.