This guest post is brought to you by our dear friend, the wonderful and talented Kirsty Hughan of The Good Taste Guide!
It is inevitable that our holiday traditions change. When I was young, my family and I would spend every Thanksgiving at my aunt Suzanne’s, her house filled chock-a-block with our large family. As the youngest of the cousins, my sister and I always looked up to the older kids. How could we not fill our plates with whatever our experienced cousins recommended? If they ate green vegetables, we did too. As we grew, our cousins married, our family moved, and we could no longer celebrate Thanksgiving where we used to. We could, however, celebrate it how we used to. Our food can always be the constant.
At Easter, Aunt Suzanne is always present at our table when we make and serve her beautiful carrot ring–gorgeous, soft as a soufflé, and absolutely festive. Every year my mother pulls this recipe from her box, handwritten on an index card. I remember first going through my mother’s recipe box when I became truly interested in cooking. My heart raced as I found the source of our family’s traditions. Here were Grammie’s chocolate chip cookies, Nanny’s Norwegian pancakes, Suzanne’s Festive Carrot Ring.
I sat down during the course of an entire college break to write these recipes by hand myself. And when began my own blog, these were my sources of inspiration. It was then I realized how deep-rooted and personal good taste is, and how intrinsically linked it is to falling in love with that first bite, repeated year after year.
This Easter, ever changing, we will be celebrating with a family brunch. With no room for carrot soufflé at the dinner table, I am glad to have tested this recipe in Pam’s kitchen. How rare and thrilling to share my heritage with someone else, and to share Aunt Suzanne’s recipe with all of you.
Festive Carrot Ring
Serves 8 to 10
1 1/2 pounds carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch thick rounds
3 tablespoons butter, divided
1 onion, cut into small dice
3 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
1 cup plain dried breadcrumbs
3/4 cup (3 ounces) sharp cheddar cheese, grated
Ground black pepper
1 box (10 ounces) frozen green peas
Adjust oven to lower-middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees.
Place carrots, 2 tablespoons butter, a sprinkling of salt, and 1/2 cup of water in a large skillet. Turn heat to high, put lid on and cook until carrots are just tender and liquid has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Remove lid and add onion to the skillet. Cook until tender, 2 to 3 minutes.
Meanwhile, process eggs until frothy in a blender. With blender running, slowly add milk until blended, about 30 seconds. With blender still running, add carrots mixture by the cupful. Increase speed and puree until smooth. Turn puree into a medium bowl; stir breadcrumbs, cheese, and a sprinkling of pepper.
Spoon carrot mixture into a well-greased 1 1/2 quart ring mold. Bake until firm and top is golden, 40 to 45 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, microwaves peas and remaining tablespoon butter, covered, on high power until steamy hot, about 5 minutes. Serve; filling center with cooked peas.