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Cookery: How to make Turkey emperor salad, and Chestnut meringue pie

18 December 2020

FACED with the annual heap of leftover turkey, my challenge is: what to do with it this time? Try my Turkey emperor salad, the advantage being that it deploys other remnants and has adaptable quantities.

300ml (½ pt) quality mayonnaise
1 lemon, juiced
3 garlic cloves
2 x 50g tins of anchovies, plus oil
30ml (1 fl. oz) sunflower oil
2-3 large lettuces (iceberg, cos, romaine, little gem)
900g (2 lb) cold turkey
8 radishes
½ cucumber
1-2 tablespoon capers
180g (6 oz) grated Cheddar

Blend together the mayonnaise, lemon juice, peeled garlic, one tin of anchovies with their oil, and sunflower oil, until smooth. Chop the remaining tin of anchovies and stir through with their oil, too. Shred the lettuce and arrange on a large platter or tray. Lay the turkey over the top. Slice the radishes thinly with a grater or mandolin, dice the cucumber, and scatter over the meat, followed by the capers and the cheese. Give everything a good grind of black pepper and serve with the dressing on the side.

Ever wondered what to do with chestnut purée, as I did recently? Make a festive and fun Chestnut meringue pie. Use crème de marrons if you can.

60g (2 oz) icing sugar
2 tsp cocoa powder
240g (8 oz) unsalted butter
3 eggs, separated
180g (6 oz) plain flour
200g+ (7 oz) chestnut purée
3 tablespoons honey
120g (4 oz) caster sugar

In advance, make a biscuity sablée pastry in a food processor by combining the sugar, cocoa, 120g (4 oz) of the butter, and two of the egg yolks. Then add the flour to form a very soft dough. Form into a ball, dust with flour, wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for at least two hours. When ready, roll out and line a tart tin or pie dish, then return to the fridge for another 30 minutes.

Heat the oven to 375°F/190°C/Gas 5 and bake the pastry blind for 15 minutes. Remove the beans, and return to the oven, uncovered, for another 5 minutes.

At the same time, warm the chestnut purée gently in a pan. Take off the heat and beat in the remaining butter, honey, and final egg yolk. (Add a little brandy or rum here, too, if desired.) Pour this evenly into the pastry case. Cool for a while.

Whip the egg whites to firm peaks, then gradually add the caster sugar until stiff and glossy. Drop this in clumps over the chestnut layer and swirl together to form a cloudy topping. Bake in the oven at 180°C/350°F/Gas 4 for 20-30 minutes. Allow it to settle and cool, then serve with pouring cream.

Happy Christmas!

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