With Thanksgiving less than two weeks away, it’s time to start thinking about your holiday menu. This year why not add some pomp and circumstance to your table by incorporating some of the same recipes that passengers on the Titanic enjoyed more than a century ago. Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition at Luxor invites you to do just that by offering recipes from the book “Last Dinner on the Titanic: Menus and Recipes from the Great Liner.”
Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition gives guests a glimpse at what life was like aboard the luxurious ocean liner. It features more than 300 artifacts from the ill-fated ship, including place settings and other tableware that guests likely used while dining on the recipes featured in this blog.
You may be wondering, why use recipes from the Titanic now? Well, April 15, 2012 marked 100 years since the RMS Titanic sunk into the depths of the North Atlantic Ocean, making this Thanksgiving a fun way to commemorate the centennial while gathering with your family and friends.
These recipes are a historic way to put a tasty twist on your turkey, cranberry sauce and gravy. If you don’t want to deviate from your typical main course, you can incorporate some sumptuous sides from the ship with these recipes for vegetable soup, asparagus salad with champagne-saffron vinaigrette and currant buns. There’s also a recipe for dessert.
Aside from their historic significance, these recipes are sure to result in some quality cuisine for your Thanksgiving menu. The Titanic cost $7.5 million to build, an unprecedented amount of money back in 1912. Today that number would be about $400 million, meaning the ship spared no expense when it came to providing the utmost in luxury for its passengers, especially those in first class. If these recipes were suitable for guests aboard the Titanic, then you can rest assured that they’ll result in some satisfying smiles at your dinner table.
Of course, after your Titanic-inspired Thanksgiving, the only thing that will be sinking is you into a cushy chair to relax after consuming a delicious meal.
Below are recipes as listed in the book “Last Dinner on the Titanic: Menus and Recipes from the Great Liner.”
Second Class: Roast Turkey with Savory Cranberry Sauce
One 10 pound turkey
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon crumbled sage leaves
½ teaspoon each of salt and pepper
2 tablespoons butter
2 onions chopped
1 cup finely chopped celery
1 teaspoon each crumbled sage, thyme, and marjoram leaves
¾ teaspoon each salt and pepper
½ cup sherry
10 cups cubed bread, lightly toasted
½ cup chopped fresh parsley
¼ cup chicken stock
3 cups chicken stock
1 onion, chopped
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Salt and pepper
To prepare turkey and stuffing:
In skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in onions, celery, sage, thyme, marjoram, salt and pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until browned. Stir in sherry; bring to boil. Boil for 5 minutes or until liquid is almost completely evaporated. Cool slightly. Gently stir in bread and parsley; drizzle over chicken stock, stirring to combine. Reserve.
Remove giblets and neck from the turkey cavity; reserve for gravy. Rinse turkey inside and out with running water. Pat dry. Stir together butter, sage, salt and pepper; rub over turkey, inside and out. Loosely pack stuffing into neck and body cavities, fold over and skewer neck flap closed over stuffing. Tie legs together. Bend wing tips underneath bird.
Place turkey, breast side up, on rack in roasting pan. Tent with foil and roast in 325 °F oven for about 1 ½ hours, basting with pan juices every 30 minutes. Remove foil and continue to roast for 1 ¾ hours, basting every half hour, or until instant-read meat thermometer inserted into thickest part of thiegh reads 185 °F. Let rest for 2 minutes before carving.
To prepare gravy:
Meanwhile, in saucepan, bring chicken stock, turkey neck, giblets, onion and bay leaf to boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 1 hour; strain, reserving liquid. While cooked turkey rests, skim excess fat from roasting pan. Set pan over high heat; whisk in flour until well combined. Gradually whisk in reserved giblet stock. Bring to boil and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes or until thickened. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Strain and serve alongside turkey.
Third Class: Vegetable Soup
2 tbsp butter
1 finely chopped onion
1 cup each sliced celery and carrot
1 potato, peeled and cubed
5 gloves garlic, minced
1 tsp each dried oregano and thyme
1 bay leaf
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 cups white kidney beans, drained
1 cup corn kernels
1 cup asparagus tips
2 cups shredded Swiss chard (or spinach)
Salt & pepper
In large pot, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in onion, celery, carrot, potato, garlic, oregano, thyme, and bay leaf. Cover and cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes or until onion is translucent.
Stir in stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until vegetables are almost tender.
Meanwhile, drain and rinse beans. Stir beans, corn, and asparagus into vegetable mixture. Cook for 5 minutes or until asparagus is bright green and tender. Stir in Swiss chard (or spinach) and season to taste with salt and pepper. Makes 6 servings.
First Class: Asparagus Salad with Champagne-Saffron Vinaigrette
½ lb asparagus
¼ tsp saffron threads
1 ½ tbsp champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
½ tsp Dijon mustard
Pinch granulated sugar
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt & pepper
½ sweet red or yellow pepper, finely diced
Holding asparagus halfway up stalk, snap off woody ends at natural breaking point and discard. In wide, deep skillet or large pot of boiling salted water, cook asparagus for 3 to 5 minutes or until tender but not limp. Drain and run under cold water until completely cooled; drain well.
Meanwhile, in large bowl, stir saffron into 1 tsp boiling water; let stand for 2 minutes or until softened. Stir in champagne vinegar, mustard and sugar. Whisking, drizzle in olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add asparagus and diced pepper; toss to coat. Arrange on lettuce-lined serving platter. Makes 6 servings.
Third Class: Currant Buns
A staple of an English tea, these buns would have pleased the palates of the many British emigrants traveling in third class.
¼ cup lukewarm water
½ cup granulated sugar
1 pkg active dry yeast (1 tbsp)
3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp salt
¾ cup warm milk
¼ cup butter, melted
½ cup currants (or raisins, chopped dates, or other dried fruit)
2 tbsp icing (powdered or Confectioners’) sugar
1 tbsp water
In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine warm water and 1 tbsp of the granulated sugar; sprinkle yeast over top. Let stand for 10 minutes or until frothy.
Meanwhile, in large bowl, blend together remaining sugar, flour, and salt. In small bowl, whisk together milk, butter, and eggs. Stir in yeast mixture until combined.
Make well in dry ingredients; using wooden spoon, stir in yeast mixture until soft dough forms. Turn out onto lightly floured board. Knead for 8 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic.
Transfer dough to large, greased bowl, turning to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in bulk. Punch down; turn onto floured surface; kneed in currants (or substitute). Shape into a 12-inch long log. Cut dough into 12 equal pieces.
Roll pieces of dough into smooth, seamless balls. Place buns on greased baking sheet leaving about 2 inches between each bun. Cover loosely and let rest for 30 minutes.
Bake in 400ºF oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Stir together icing sugar and water; brush over warm buns; let cool on rack. Makes 12 buns.
Chocolate Painted Eclairs with French Vanilla Cream
Both the pastry and the filling (standard French pastry cream) date back to the Renaissance, when the Arab art of pastry making invaded Europe by way of Italy. Making the perfect choux pastry is a skill acquired through practice. Don’t be alarmed if your first attempt tastes better than it looks.
6 egg yolks
½ cup granulate sugar
5 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
1 vanilla bean halved lengthwise
1 tbsp butter
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 cup water
½ cup butter
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
5 eggs, room temperature
1 tbsp water
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate
icing sugar or edible gold flakes
Pastry Cream: In bowl, whisk together egg yolks and ¼ cup of the sugar for 2 minutes or until pale yellow. Adding flour in 3 additions, stir until well mixed.
In saucepan, heat milk, remaining sugar and vanilla bean over medium heat, stirring often, for 8 to 10 minutes or until sugar is dissolved and small bubbles are beginning to form around edges of the pot. Stirring constantly, pour about one-third of the milk mixture into egg mixture and stir until thoroughly combined. Pour egg mixture into remaining milk and cook, sitting for 3 to 4 minutes or until mixture begins to bubble. Continue to cook, stirring 2 to 3 minutes or until mixture begins to mound and hold its shape; remove from heat. Stir in butter and remove vanilla bean. Transfer to bowl, cover with plastic wrap touching surface of custard, and cool to room temperature.
Beat whipping cream until stiff; add a large dollop of cream to cooled pastry cream and fold in; add remaining whipped cream and fold in until almost combined. Transfer to pastry bag fitted with ½-inch star tube. Place in refrigerator until completely chilled.
Choux Pastry: Meanwhile, in heavy-bottomed saucepan set over high heat, bring water, butter and salt just to boil. Remove from heat and add flour all at once, stirring vigorously with wooden spoon until mixture comes away from sides of pan, making smooth ball.
Reduce heat to medium-low and cook flour mixture, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes or until coating begins to form on bottom of pan. Turn into large bowl; stir for 30 seconds.
Make well in middle of dough and using an electric mixer beat in 4 of the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Continue beating until mixture is smooth and shiny and holds its shape when lifted.
Place dough into piping bag fitted with ¾-inch wide tip. On parchment-lined baking sheets, pipe fingers of dough about 4 inches long and 1 inch wide. In bowl, beat together remaining egg and 1 tsp water; brush each bun lightly, being careful not to drip down sides. Bake in 425 F oven for 12 minutes; reduce heat to 375 F and bake for 5 minute longer or until golden brown. With sharp, knife, pierce side of each éclair twice. Turn over off and let éclairs stand for 5 minutes, then remove and cool on rack.
Melt chocolate over barely simmering water. Brush top of each cooled éclair with enough chocolate to coat well. Cool in refrigerator for 5 minutes to harden chocolate.
Halve éclairs lengthwise. Pull out any sticky dough in center; discard. Pipe pastry cream into bottom of each éclair. Replace chocolate-covered tops. Dust with icing sugar or edible gold flakes just before serving. Makes 25 to 30 small éclairs.