3 Thanksgiving Recipes from Northern Michigan Chefs, Bakers

We’ve shared hundreds of holiday and Thanksgiving recipes over the years in Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine and on MyNorth.com. Here are a few of our favorites from chefs, bakers, farmers and neighbors across the north. Add some local flavor to your table with these delicious dishes.

Featured in the November 2020 issue of Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine. Subscribe.

Muriel’s Pumpkin Pie Bars

“This recipe was passed to our family by my husband’s mother, Muriel Barr. My husband, Tim Barr, and I own Art’s Tavern in Glen Arbor. We have made these treats to share during our Customer Appreciation Day. While Muriel was still alive, she always, always, always made these for the holiday season. This version of the recipe was given to us by my husband’s brother, Sam Barr. It’s the family-size version. Muriel was a very special woman and we would love to honor her memory by sharing this recipe.” —Bonnie Nescot, owner of Art’s Tavern

Ingredients

Crust

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup quick oats
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter

Filling

  • 16 ounces canned pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
  • 13 1/2 ounces evaporated milk
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Topping

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons butter
Directions

Crust: Blend ingredients until crumbly. Press into greased 9×13 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

Filling: Blend ingredients and pour into baked crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

Topping: Combine ingredients. Sprinkle over hot filling and bake 20 minutes or until filling is set. Cool in pan and cut into 2-inch squares.

Grandma Eva’s Apple Pie

“My grandparents Bert and Eva Haywood had a farm in Benzie County. When I was in 7th grade at Boardman School in Traverse City, I would often walk to the train depot after school on Friday and take the train to Bendon to spend the weekend with them. My grandfather would meet the train, picking up the mailbag for the post office. He would carry a lighted lantern, which was always comforting to me, as it would be dark outside by the time I arrived. Grandma Eva’s kitchen always smelled like food, especially homemade bread and fresh apple pie. She cooked on an old kitchen woodstove. This is her recipe.” —Phyllis Kilcherman, now retired after running Kilcherman’s Christmas Cove Farm in Northport with her husband, John, for more than 40 years

Ingredients
  • 2 cups plus 1/3 cup regular flour
  • 1 cup shortening
  • Dash of salt
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 2 quarts of Duchess of Oldenburg apples
  • 3/4 cup plus sprinkle of sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Dash of cloves
  • 1–2 tablespoons butter, cut into pats
  • Egg wash (1 egg, 2 tablespoons of milk, lightly beaten)
Directions

Crust: Mix the first three ingredients well, reserving the 1/3 cup of flour, until mixture looks like peas. Then add the milk. Mix again, and roll out on a floured surface to the size of your pie pan. Divide the mixture into two parts, one for the bottom crust and one for the top.

Filling: Peel and slice the apples into fairly thick chunks, as it will bake up easily. Place in bottom pie crust. Cover with 3⁄4 cup of sugar and cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Sprinkle with 1/3 cup flour and butter.

Place top crust. Seal the edges with dampened fingertips. Paint top with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar. Cut slits in top crust. Bake at 375 degrees for about 40 minutes.

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Roasted Pumpkin with Apple, Cranberry, Sausage and Goat Cheese

“It seemed every year at my house growing up as a kid that my dad couldn’t wait for fall to come around so he could eat squash. This dish gets its roots from my father’s love of squash/pumpkin. He was a diesel mechanic by trade and could build or fix anything, but he also loved to cook. He would stuff pumpkins or squash with anything he could in the fall. I like to use pie pumpkins, because I love how sweet the flesh is, and it loves to be paired with apples.” —Tommy Kaszubowski, executive chef at Chandler’s in Petoskey

Ingredients
  • 1 pie pumpkin
  • 1 cup bulk breakfast sausage
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 apples, golden delicious or another hearty apple, peeled, diced and sautéed briefly
  • 1 cup walnuts, toasted
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup sage
  • 1 quart apple cider
  • 1 teaspoon cold butter
  • 8 small slices Humboldt Fog goat cheese
  • 1 cup arugula, washed and trimmed
Directions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Carefully cut the pumpkin into quarters and scoop out seeds and fibers; save seeds if desired. Season pumpkin with salt, pepper and nutmeg and roast until golden and tender, about 30–40 minutes. While the pumpkin is in the oven, place the sausage in a large sauté pan and render with a touch of oil until browned. Add the onion and continue to cook until onion starts to color. Add the diced apples and cook 3–4 minutes longer. Transfer to a bowl and fold in the walnuts, cranberries and sage. While pumpkins are roasting, place cider in a pot and boil until thick, being careful not to burn.

Remove cider reduction from heat and whisk in butter. Keep warm. Remove pumpkin quarters from the oven and allow to rest at room temperature for 10 minutes. Do not turn off oven. Fill the pumpkins evenly with the sausage mixture, top with goat cheese, and roast for 10 minutes longer or until the mixture is heated through and cheese has slightly melted.

Assembly

Place the stuffed pumpkins in the center of each of four plates, garnish with arugula and drizzle cider reduction over the top. Serve immediately.

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