A little taste of what we love about the season: turkey with a fruity chutney bursting with fall flavors. Karen Schneider/For The Forecaster

Autumn in Maine … can’t you just feel the chill in the air, and don’t you just want to dive into all those fall flavors that signify this cozy time? Turkey, apples, cranberries, squash, cinnamon, and pumpkin everything.

Karen Schneider cooks and writes in the village of Cundy’s Harbor. You can reach her at [email protected]

This past week I had such a Thanksgiving meal craving so I whipped up a mini-version to hold me over until my favorite holiday arrives. Roast turkey thighs done to a golden turn topped with fruity chutney was just what I needed. I also realized
that the jammy chutney with its burst of autumn flavors would be great to add to my gift-giving list.

To go with the turkey, I chose Swiss Corn Bake, a creamy, pudding-y side dish. It’s one of those homey comfort foods I’ve had in my repertoire for over 40 years that has earned a place on the table at Sunday dinner and many a potluck.

And since it’s now officially fall, we must have pumpkin something-or-other. This recipe for chai-frosted pumpkin bars is offered in honor of my sweet youngest daughter, who can often be found curled on the sofa studying her little heart out,
with a cup of hot chai in hand.

Cozy time, school time … speaking of which, if anyone would like to join me, I’m instructing a Merrymeeting Adult Education Class at Brunswick High School on Tuesday nights beginning Oct. 1. “Food & Memory” will run for three weeks
from 6:30-8:30 p.m. and yes, there will be homemade goodies involved. Go to merrymeeting.org to register. Hope to see you there!

Turkey Thighs with Cranberry Chutney

1 (12-ounce) bag fresh or frozen cranberries
2 tart apples, chopped
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/4 cup dried figs, chopped
1/8 cup candied ginger, chopped
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. allspice
1 orange, including rind, chopped
1/8 cup brandy, rum, or red wine (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil then simmer over
medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thick and syrupy, about 15
minutes. Serve over roasted or grilled turkey, lamb or pork. Yield: 1 pint

Roasted or Grilled Turkey Thighs

4 turkey thighs
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
2 tbsp. olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pat turkey dry with paper towels, brush with olive
oil and season. Place in baking dish skin side up and roast for about an hour or
until a meat thermometer registers 170 degrees.
For grilled turkey thighs: Preheat grill to 400 degrees. Cook turkey for 30-35
minutes, turning every 10 minutes, or until internal temperature is 170 degrees.
Yield: 4 servings

Swiss Corn Bake

4 cups fresh corn or 2 (10-oz.) bags frozen corn, thawed
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup whole milk
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 tsp. salt
Pepper to taste
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese, divided
1 cup bread crumbs
2 tbsp. butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch pie dish or other shallow baking
dish. Combine corn, eggs, milk, cream, and seasoning. Stir in 3/4 cup cheese.
Spoon mixture into baking dish. Top with bread crumbs and remaining 1/4 cup
cheese. Dot with butter. Bake for 35 minutes, until a knife inserted in the center
of the casserole comes out clean. Allow to stand for 5-10 minutes before serving.
Yield: 6 servings

Pumpkin Squares with Chai Frosting

4 eggs
1 2/3 cups sugar
1 cup canola oil
1 (15-oz.) can pumpkin
2 cups flour
2 tsps. baking powder
2 tsps. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp.baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a 9 x 13-inch baking pan. Beat
eggs, sugar, oil, and pumpkin together in a bowl until light and fluffy.
In a separate bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. Add to pumpkin mixture and
mix at low speed until smooth.
Spread batter into prepared pan and bake for 26 minutes, or until a toothpick
inserted into the center comes out with just a few crumbs. Cool completely
before frosting. Yield: 20 bars

Chai Frosting

1/4 cup sugar
5 tbsps. water
2 chai tea bags
3 cardamom pods
1 cinnamon stick
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. honey

Combine sugar, water, tea bags, cardamom pods, and cinnamon stick in a small
saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar then
simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Turn off heat and let syrup steep for
20 minutes. Remove cardamom and cinnamon, and squeeze the flavor from the
tea bags. Cool syrup to room temperature.
Using a mixer, combine butter, cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla,
honey, and chai syrup until smooth. Spread over bars.

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