This Thanksgiving season, we’re giving the mighty herb sage a chance to shine … in our desserts. Forget the roasted turkey and stuffing, we’re bringing sage to the table alongside fruits, creams, and pies. Here are five wondrous ways to use sage in desserts for your Thanksgiving menus, along with recipe ideas from trusted food authorities that you can try first-hand.
1. Ice Cream, Candied Nuts + Sage = Double Whammy Dessert
To do this, you’ll need to make a sage-infused milk to use in your ice cream recipe: Simply bring to a boil the cream or milk called for, along with sage leaves, in a saucepan, then remove from heat, cover, and let steep 10 to 30 minutes. Then use that infused cream (strained, of course) in your recipe. Sage ice cream on its own? We’re intrigued. Maple sage ice cream with maple-sugared walnuts? We’re drooling all over our keyboards. One such recipe from Food 52 for maple-sage ice cream will have your mouth watering, too. It’s a double whammy of sweet sage flavor in one seriously awesome looking holiday recipe.
2. Roasted Fruits + Sage = Sweet Elegance
Roasted fruits is a classy holiday dessert all on its own right, and adding fresh sage to the mix adds a whole new level of sophistication. You can whip this up impromptu with just a few fruits on hand and kitchen staples: Mix together chopped fruits, fresh sage, olive oil, a sprinkle of sugar, and a splash of balsamic vinegar, and roast until juicy and lightly browned. A recipe from White on Rice Couple roasts figs together with sage and red wine for a sumptuous spread worthy of any glossy magazine cover. Try this same technique with any seasonal winter fruit you adore, like apples, pears, or even quinces.
3. Classic Cake + Sage = Done-Up Simplicity
Take any plain cake or sponge cake recipe and add chopped fresh sage to the batter for a one-ingredient revolution. Add dried fruits like cranberries or cherries, or fresh fruits like apples and pears, to the batter for even more wintry flavor. You’ll find a recipe for this technique on Martha Stewart, where apples and sage come together to make one mean cake.
4. Cookie Batter + Sage = Slightly-Savory Sweets
Add minced fresh sage to your cookie batter for an air of herbal, savory flavor. This works particularly well with shortbreads and other not-as-sweet cookie recipes, as their mild, buttery flavor won’t overpower the sage coming through. Try it out with this straightforward recipe for sage shortbread from Epicurious.
5. Gramma’s Apple Pie + Sage = New Wave Apple Pie
Apple pie is going to be on the table for one Thanksgiving dinner or the next, so why not add a little sage to yours and give your guests something they won’t be expecting? You can go one of two ways with this idea: Either add dried sage to the pie crust or add minced fresh sage to the apple filling and mix in. For an even more adventurous take at this, try out this apple pie recipe with brown butter and sage from Not Eating Out in New York.