A Beekman Boys Thanksgiving

It’s been quite a ride for the Beekman Boys – also known as Stephen Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcell – in the year since they last spoke with David Atlanta. Their program, The Fabulous Beekman Boys, left original channel Planet Green and found a new home on Cooking Channel. While a third season is planned, the Boys have been distracted by a bigger reality program; the couple is one of the competing duos in the current season of The Amazing Race.

The couple took time out of their busy schedule to give us a few updates on their lives over the past year. They also provided us with a few recipes – if you’re looking for that perfect dish for Thanksgiving dinner, give one of their recipes a shot.

Since you talked with David Atlanta last year, a lot has happened for the Beekman Boys. Probably one of the biggest was your turn in the current season of The Amazing Race. What do you have to say about the experience of filming the show? I’d imagine it was a much different experience compared to The Fabulous Beekman Boys.

Had we not had the experience of having our lives turned upside down and then miraculously re-inventing ourselves, we would have never been prepared mentally to accept the opportunity to run The Amazing Race. You get so caught up in your “routines” and who you “think” you are, that it’s sometimes hard to step outside of the box you’ve built for yourself. Starting over, our box is much bigger. And we included a lot more doors for opportunity to knock on.

Speaking of The Fabulous Beekman Boys, the show is moving to Cooking Channel for its third season. Can you give us some hints at what viewers might see when the next season airs?

If Season 3 films next year, viewers will get to see a “Fabulous” wedding on the farm.

Aside from your increased television presence, what’s in the works for the two of you in the near future?

We continue to design products for Beekman 1802. The Heirloom Dessert Cookbook comes out next fall, so we are busy developing those recipes (and an exercise program to counter them), and we hope to be in Atlanta when that comes out.

In keeping with the spirit of our Thanksgiving issue, what are you thankful for this year?

We are thankful to be alive…always.

Maple-Glazed Candied Sweet Potatoes

The Beekman is surrounded by maple farms, and numerous bottles of syrup are left on our doorstep when the sap is running, every spring and fall. We put it to good use in many recipes, but nowhere is it better suited than this one. Choose a mix of sweet potatoes or simply one kind for this sweet, tart, and mildly smoky dish. These potatoes are not thickly coated with a sugary glaze, but lightly coated with maple syrup. If you can find it, seek out dark brown grade B syrup; it’s deeper in flavor than grade A (amber) syrup.

Ingredients

2 pounds sweet potatoes
2 cup maple syrup (preferably grade B)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons chopped parsley, for garnish (optional)

Directions

  1. Peel the sweet potatoes and cut into 2-inch chunks.
  2. In a steamer basket set over (not in) boiling water, cook the potatoes until firm-tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from the basket.
  3. In a large skillet, heat the maple syrup, butter, lime juice, chile powder, and salt over medium heat. When the syrup starts to bubble, add the sweet potatoes. Cook, tossing frequently, until the maple mixture is quite thick and the potatoes are well coated and cooked through, about 7 minutes.
  4. If you like, garnish with parsley.

Company’s Coming Apple Cake

This is the perfect cake to have on hand for either expected or unexpected company. It’ll make a hefty amount and will keep for several days at room temperature. Sandy’s mother-in-law, Margaret Stieber, grew up on a farm in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, and this was the cake she and her mom baked for the farm hands (thirty of them) that came to help with the threshing of the wheat. You can use any type of apple here, with the following exceptions: Granny Smiths tend to be too dry and McIntoshes break down too much and get mushy.

Ingredients

Cake

2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup packed dark brown sugar
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled (page 165)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
2 cups diced (1/2 inch) peeled apple (from 2 to 3 apples)

Nut Crunch Topping

½ cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
¾ cup coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts

Directions

Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking pan.*
  2. With a mixer, beat the butter until creamy. Gradually beat in the granulated and brown sugars, and beat until light and fluffy. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Add the eggs to the butter mixture, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the flour mixture, alternating with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Fold in the apples just until combined. Scrape the mixture into the pan.

Topping

  1. With a pastry blender or two knives used scissors fashion, cut together the sugar, flour, cinnamon, and butter until the mixture resembles fat, coarse crumbs. Stir in the nuts. Scatter the topping over the cake batter in an even layer.
  2. Bake for 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached. Cool in the pan on a rack. Serve directly from the pan.
  3. *The cake is served from the pan, but if you would like to transfer it to a serving platter instead, do this: Before baking, grease the pan and then line the pan with a layer of heavy-duty foil or a double layer of regular foil, leaving a 2-inch overhang at the short ends. Butter the foil. Once the cake is done and cooled, lift it out of the pan using the overhang as handles.

Homemade “Buttermilk”

  1. If you need buttermilk for baking (as opposed to drinking) and find yourself without any, here’s what you do. For every cup of buttermilk you need, place 2 tablespoons of cider vinegar or lemon juice into a 1-cup glass measure and add enough milk (any kind from 1% to whole milk) to equal a cup. Let it stand at room temperature for 1 hour. Another option is to use plain yogurt and add enough water to thin to the consistency of buttermilk.

Recipes and images reprinted with permission from The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Cookbook © 2011 by Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcell, Sterling Epicure, an imprint of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. ALL Photography by © Paulette Tavormina

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