Friday, November 28, 2008

Use up those turkey leftovers in pizza!

You got a sneak peek of our dessert last night... did you figure it out? Infusing a little Caribbean flare into pumpkin pie, we made this Pumpkin Coconut Tart for us to nosh on!

Besides reading like we would enjoy it, one of the other reasons I chose to make this was the make-ahead factor. I actually got the crust out of the way on Wednesday, so the oven would have one less thing to try and do on the big day.

No need to fear this tart crust - all you need to do is dump a bunch of flour, a few toasted almonds and a hearty pinch of sugar into a food processor and let it do all the work. When the almonds were finely ground, cubes of cold butter are tossed in, followed up a four dollops of cream cheese. No icy water or extra liquid necessary! It won't (and shouldn't) come together in a ball - it will be fairly crumbly... but if you squeeze it together in your hand, it'll stick together. Scooped into a tart pan, the mixture is firmly pressed over the bottom and up the sides. Since this crust will be in the oven twice, the first time in you'll want to leave it just long enough to set it and before it gains any color. Once cooled completely, you can keep it, well wrapped, in the refrigerator for up to three days before continuing on.

Now, instead of using regular or evaporated milk in this pumpkin filling, we used coconut milk for a tropical note. What goes well with coconut? Rum, of course! So, a glug or two is added, along with eggs to bind and aromatic cinnamon, ginger and cloves to spice it up. Take it out when the edges are firm, but the center is still somewhat soft - it will continue to firm up as it cools. You can serve this either at room temperature or chilled, depending on your preference. To match up with the coconut, we dropped toasted coconut chips around the edge - this isn't necessary, but it helps people know what this is not your ordinary pumpkin dessert. If you can't find the chips, flaked coconut would work just as well.

The nutty crust was light, yet firm enough that you could pick up a slice without it falling apart. Dark orange in color, the filling was so soft and velvety as it rolled around on my tongue - it almost seemed like it shouldn't hold its shape being so creamy, but we got very clean slices! If you use homemade mashed pumpkin, be sure to give it a whirl in the food processor so it is ultra smooth before using it. I was happy to find it didn't scream "I'm made with coconut milk!", but what the milk did was give the filling extra body that sighed with subtle coconut in each bite.

Jeff suggested that turkey sandwiches would be fine for dinner tonight, rather than our Friday Pizza Night, but I figured a pizza would be a great vehicle for the leftover turkey!

Since it just takes a quick whirl in the food processor, I threw together our favorite whole-wheat pizza dough to make this Turkey Alfredo Pizza! However, if you are still tired from Thanksgiving or you'd rather not mess with dough, you could certainly use one of those thin pre-baked crusts from the market.

Once the crust was all stretched out, I did give it a head start in the oven for just a few minutes. To add a whisper of garlic to the crust, as soon as I slid it off the stone and flipped it over, I rubbed a halved clove of garlic all over the top. We then smeared a good dose of Alfredo sauce over the partially-baked garlic rubbed crust, followed by a mixture of shredded turkey, thawed frozen spinach and bright lemon juice. Nutty fontina was the cheese of choice and we finished it off with a couple pinches of crushed red pepper for a tingly kick.

What a way to start using up those leftovers! We both thought this was fantastic, especially with the thin crust. The layer of that rich sauce underneath was a crazy good base for that meaty topping. If you want to use a heartier green, you could swap out the spinach for collards instead.


  1. Turkey alfredo pizza, very clever! The pie looks delicious too. I wanted to let you know that one of the desserts I served on Thursday was the Old-Fashioned Apple Cake with Brown Sugar Frosting you recently blogged about. It was a BIG hit. Thanks for posting it and thank you for continuing to share your cooking and baking adventures through your blog. Hope Gus is feeling better. Happy Thanksgiving!

  2. Joe,

    I was away in Vegas and missed a lot of good recipes. I had a good week but came back with a broken ankle. Can't start my Holiday Baking for a while.

    Have a good week-end!

  3. Mmm. Love the pie. Pizza is nice way to finish the bird!

  4. Sobaka - Very glad to hear the cake went over well!

    Helene - I'm so sorry to hear about your ankle! Sending speedy recovery wishes your way.

    Lisa - Thanks!

  5. Glad you guys had a good's been too long since I've checked in here!

    The pizza looks great - something I definitely want to try, but I'm not sure I'm ready to dig the turkey leftovers back out of the freezer just yet. Was that just a jarred alfredo you use? And if so, do you have a preferred brand?

  6. Jeph - Thanks for stoppin' by! It was - Classico is the kind we've tried that is pretty palatable.