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A Taste at Home

Delight your taste buds with Colonial Williamsburg recipes.

Sherry Cheese Hedgehog


  • 12 ounces cream cheese
  • 4 cups extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/3 cup sherry
  • 1 tsp. curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne
  • 2 cups slivered almonds, toasted
  • currants
  • nutmeg

Combine the cheeses, sherry, curry powder, salt, and cayenne in a food processor. Chill for several hours. Form a mound for the body with 3/4 of the mixture. Insert slivered almonds for the spines. Model the face and ears from the remaining mixture. Use currants for the eyes. Color the face and ears with a shake of nutmeg. Chill. Serve with sliced bread or crackers.

Frozen Cranberry Mousse


  • 1 1/2 cups cranberries
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2/3 cup sugar, divided
  • rind from 1/2 orange, grated
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • cranberry liqueur

Cook cranberries in the water with 1/3 cup of the sugar and the orange peel for five minutes or until the berries begin to burst. Drain the cranberries and puree them in a food processor, then press the mixture through a sieve. Beat the eggs until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the rest of the sugar. Combine the eggs with the strained cranberry mixture, vanilla, and salt. Whip the cream until stiff. Fold the cranberry mixture into the cream. Freeze until firm. Remove from the freezer a few minutes before serving. Pour 1 tsp of cranberry liqueur over each serving. Makes 8 servings.

Virginia Holiday Nut Cake


  • 2 pounds golden raisins
  • 1/4 pound glacé red cherries, cut up
  • 1/4 pound glacé green pineapple slices, cut up
  • 1 3/4 cup sherry, divided
  • 2 cups butter, softened
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 12 eggs, separated
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla
  • 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 5 1/4 cups almonds, chopped
  • 6 cups walnuts, chopped
  • 2/3 cup black walnuts, chopped

Soak the raisins, cherries, and pineapple in 3/4 cup of the sherry overnight in a covered container. Preheat the oven to 300°F. Grease well and lightly flour one 10-inch, two 8-inch, and one 5-inch tube pans. Cream the butter and sugar. Add the egg yolks one at a time. Combine the remaining sherry, lemon juice, and vanilla. Add the flour and the sherry mixture alternately, beginning and ending with the flour. Beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Add the nuts, fruit, and egg whites alternately, stirring until well blended. Transfer the batter into the prepared pans and bake at 300°F. Bake the smallest cake for 3/4 to one hour, the two medium cakes 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours, and the large cake for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, or until each cake tests done. When cool, stack cakes on top of each other on a pretty plate to form a pyramid, and garnish with festive fruits and holiday leaves.

Tidewater Chili


  • 4 large onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup peanut oil
  • 3 cans (28 ounces each) Italian plum tomatoes
  • 2 cans (29 ounces each) tomato puree
  • 2 tsp. oregano
  • 2 Tbsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 Tbsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. basil
  • 1/3 cup chili powder
  • 2 Tbsp. cumin
  • 2 pounds Surry County, Virginia smoked sausage or Italian smoked sausage
  • 5 pounds lean chuck
  • 4 cans (15 ounces each) red kidney beans, drained

Sauté the onion and garlic in the peanut oil over medium heat. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato puree, herbs and spices, and simmer while cooking the meats. Cut the sausage into 1/2-inch pieces and brown. Drain and add to the tomato mixture. Brown the chuck in small batches; drain and add to the tomato mixture. Simmer for one hour. Add the beans and stir gently. Serves 18 to 20.

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