Try Some New Festive Christmas Recipes

Panera, Chez Catherine and Williams-Sonoma come to the rescue with new recipes

Panera, with locations in Westfield and Springfield, offered this appetizer recipe:

Jean's Kentucky Bourbon Fig Compote: 





  • 1 1/2 cup whole or halved walnuts or pecans
  • 4 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup Kentucky bourbon (Jim Beam Black® is best)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 cups diced dried Mission figs (or other combination of dried fruit)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice or Limoncello
  • Pinch sea salt
  • 1 package (.4 ounces) fruit pectin (about 4 1/2 teaspoons)
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, Brie, or Stilton, softened or at room temperature


1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread nuts on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for about 6 to 8 minutes until lightly toasted and fragrant. Shake the pan every minute or two, so the nuts do not burn. Remove them from the oven and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, melt butter, sugar, and bourbon in a saucepan on low heat; then add the cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger, and stir well.

3. Add figs (or other dried fruit), vanilla extract, lemon juice or Limoncello, and salt. Let mixture steep for about 10 to 15 minutes, until the fruit is plump and soft.

4. Sprinkle pectin over fruit. Stir well and turn up heat to medium. Cook until bubbly, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

5. Toast bread, if using, and cut into triangles; slice bagels, if using, toast and cut each half into four to eight pieces.

6. Pour warm compote over cheese and scatter nuts on top. Serve with assorted toasted Panera® breads and bagels, such as French, Whole Grain, and Honey Wheat Breads or Cinnamon Crunch, Cinnamon Swirl & Raisin, or French Toast Bagels.

TIP: If you prefer, use a combination of golden raisins, dried cranberries, or diced dried apricots in place of some or all of the figs. Just make sure your final amount is 2 cups total.

This main course recipes comes courtesy of C.J. Reycraft, Chef de Cuisine at Chez Catherine:

NY Strip with Béarnaise, Smashed Potatoes, and Asparagus

Serve with a Pinot Noir

NY Strip

Smoked Sea Salt and Black Pepper

Season Steaks and leave out to get to room temperature for at least 30 minutes

Grill to desired temperature and let the steaks rest for the same amount of time as they were cooked.

Smashed Potatoes

8 medium sized Yukon Gold Potatoes Scrubbed

8 cloves of garlic peeled

4 shallots, peeled and roughly chopped

Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper to taste

In a large bowl, toss potatoes, shallots, garlic, olive oil and salt and pepper. Wrap in foil and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes or until tender when pierced with a knife. Remove from the foil and smash with a potato masher. Adjust seasoning, keep covered and warm.


1 bunch Asparagus cooked in boiling salted water and shocked in ice water

Olive Oil

 salt and pepper

Toss olive oil with asparagus and char on the grill. Serve immediately with the steak.

Béarnaise Sauce

2 egg yolks

2 tbsp water

1 cup of butter

Pinch of Xanthan Gum

Splash of White Wine Vinegar

Chopped Tarragon

Salt and Cayenne Pepper

In a large measuring cup, place the yolks, xanthan, water and vinegar. Melt butter until boiling hot in the microwave. Slowly incorporate butter into egg yolk mixture by using a burr blender. Add chopped tarragon and season with salt and cayenne.


Place a mound of the potatoes on the plate, lean a few asparagus spears on top of the potatoes, slice the steak, and nap with the Bearnaise Sauce. Serve.

This Apple and Cranberry Galette recipe comes courtesy of Williams-Sonoma, with a store on Central Avenue in Westfield.

This beautiful open-faced pastry, with scarlet cranberries nestled among golden apple slices, is a gorgeous finale for a holiday meal. Because the fruit filling has been simmered before it goes into the oven, the galette bakes quickly and evenly. This recipe makes 2 galettes—each one will serve 5 or 6 people. 


For the pastry:

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 6 Tbs. white cornmeal
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 12 Tbs. (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 6 Tbs. sour cream
  • 1/2 cup ice-cold water

For the filling:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 Tbs. honey
  • 3 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 8 large Granny Smith apples, about 4 lb. total, peeled, cored and sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter, cut into thin slices

  • Sugar for dusting (optional)
  • Crème fraîche for serving (optional)


To make the pastry, in a food processor, combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar and salt. Scatter the chunks of butter over the top and pulse for a few seconds until the butter pieces are the size of small peas. In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream and ice water. Drizzle the mixture over the dough and pulse until the dough is smooth and clings together. Pat the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, to make the filling, in a large fry pan over medium heat, combine the sugar, water, honey, lemon juice and cinnamon and cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Stir in the apple slices and simmer until the apples begin to soften, 5 to 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the apple slices to a bowl.

Add the cranberries to the liquid in the fry pan and simmer until they start to pop, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cranberries to the bowl with the apples. Increase the heat to medium-high and boil the liquid until reduced slightly, then spoon over the fruit.

Position 2 racks in the middle of an oven and preheat to 400°F.

Divide the dough in half. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out each half into a round about 12 inches in diameter and transfer to separate baking sheets. Divide the fruit filling equally between the pastry rounds and spread it in an even layer, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border uncovered. Fold the border over the fruit, pleating the edges to form a rim. Lay the butter slices over the exposed fruit. Dust the pastry rims with sugar.

Bake the galettes, rotating them 180 degrees at the midway point, until the pastry is golden brown and the apples are tender, 35 to 40 minutes. Transfer the pans to wire racks and let the galettes cool completely on the pans. Serve with crème fraîche. Makes two 9-inch galettes; serves 10 to 12.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Two in the Kitchen, by Christie Dufault & Jordan Mackay (Weldon Owen, 2012).


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