Fire Up Your Pizza Oven for the Holidays!
Turkey is something one has to do in a wood fired oven to really experience the wonderful roasted taste of a holiday meal. The pilgrims didn’t use a gas oven to cook their meals either, so you can truly enjoy the spirit of the season!
Use your favorite roast turkey recipe, or follow the holiday turkey recipe from our website (click here), or… try the following Wood Fired Brown Sugar and Mustard Glazed Turkey in your pizza oven. I am including here as well my all-time favorite Wood Fired Apricot Cheese Cake recipe (if it’s a favorite of mine you know it will be fast and easy).
A word before I start with the food preparation: when roasting turkey you will need let your wood fired oven heat up for a longer period of time so that it can absorb and release heat for many hours of indirect heat (without a flame or fire). So: prepare a good fire (click here for detailed instructions on how) and let it burn for 2 hours in a medium oven or 3 hours in a large oven. Push embers to one side and take the floor temperature. You will slide your turkey in when the floor registers 500F. It is important to keep the oven sealed by closing the door when roasting the turkey. Open only to check and baste.
Wood-Fired Brown Sugar and Mustard Glazed Turkey
1 whole turkey, about 12 pounds (neck and giblets reserved)
- Coarse salt and ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
- 3 cups of water
- 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
- 1/4 cup spicy brown mustard
- 1 bunch fresh sage leaves (or thyme)
Wash the turkey with cold water, and pat dry with paper towels inside and outside. Season inside of turkey with salt and pepper, and stuff with fresh sage leaves. Loosen the skin on turkey breasts by sliding your hand under the skin by the neck first, gently and without tearing it. Rub butter on each side and then rub turkey all over with butter, season with salt and pepper. Bend wing tips forward, and tuck under the neck cavity.
Place turkey breast side up on roasting pan, adding 3 cups of water to the bottom of the pan, along with the neck and giblets. Cover the turkey with a heavy-duty foil tent and slide the roasting pan unto the center of the oven floor registering 500F. Leave for 45 minutes.
In a small bowl, stir together sugar and mustard. Slide the turkey out of the oven and brush with glaze. When sliding the pan back in the oven, rotate side. Continue to roast the oven for about another 1 and 1/2 hour, brushing with glaze 2 to 3 more times, adding water as needed to the bottom of the pan, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of a thigh (avoid the bone) registers 165F. If the turkey needs browning, then take off the foil during the last 30 minutes or so of baking.
Transfer turkey to a platter, reserve pan with drippings for your gravy. Cover turkey loosely with foil and let rest for at least 30 minutes before serving.
Wood Fired Apricot Cheese Cake
Since cheesecake needs to be refrigerated before serving, it is a perfect dessert to prepare the day before your party. It is very easy to make, but you need to keep an eye on it as it bakes fast in the wood fired oven!
2 cups finely crushed butter cookies (about 30 cookies, such as Lorna Doone)
- 1/3 cup of butter, melted
- 1 15 1/4-oz. can unpeeled apricot halves
- 3 8-oz. pkgs cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup sugar, regular but caster sugar even better
- 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
- 3 eggs
- 1 10-oz.jar of low-calorie apricot spread
- 1/4 cup apricot nectar
Crust: Combine crushed cookies and melted butter. Press mixture evenly on bottom and 2 inches up on the sides of a 9-inch metal springform pan. Your pizza oven should only have embers in it, brushed to one side and the floor should register about 360F. Place the pan with crust on the oven floor, close to the opening for about 5 minutes until it browns, turning it once or twice. Watch it, as it tends to brown quickly. Set aside.
Filling: drain apricot halves, reserving 3 tablespoons of the syrup. Coarsely chop the apricots, set aside. In a large mixing bowl beat cream cheese, sugar, the reserved syrup, and vanilla with an electric mixer until combined. Add eggs all at once, beating at low speed just until combined. Stir in chopped apricots. Pour filling into crust-lined pan.
Place pan unto the wood fired oven floor, close to the opening and place the oven door on the outside of the arch (so that the opening is not completely sealed, but there’s a good air space on top). Check after 10-15 minutes and turn pan. Check again after 10 minutes and if you find that cheesecake is browning on top, then place a piece of foil on top of the pan, and if needed, add an upturned baking sheet under the pan for extra insulation. Cheesecake will be done in 40 minutes, when the center appears nearly set. If a few small cracks appear on the surface it is definitely done.
Cool pan on wire rack for 15 minutes. Loosen crust from sides of pan and cool cheesecake for 30 minutes more. Remove the sides of pan and let the cake cool completely.
Glaze: In a small saucepan combine the apricot nectar and the apricot spread over low heat. Melt while stirring. Remove from heat. Spread over the cheesecake. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours before serving or overnight. Serves 16.
Here at Los Angeles Ovenworks we wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving 2010 and a lot of fun around your wood fired oven!