Classic vs. Modern Holiday Recipes

Satisfy all tastes with these time-tested traditional dishes and their contemporary counterparts.

Garlic and Herb Standing Rib Roast

Becky Luigart-Stayner

Classic: Garlic and Herb Standing Rib Roast

A large beef roast is a holiday mainstay, and this recipe flavors the meat very simply―with only salt, pepper, thyme, and garlic―so its natural flavor can shine.

View Recipe: Garlic and Herb Standing Rib Roast

Coriander and Black Pepper-Crusted Rib Roast with Roasted Onions

Becky Luigart-Stayner

Modern: Coriander and Black Pepper-Crusted Rib Roast with Roasted Onions

This roast is seasoned with many more flavors than the Garlic and Herb Standing Rib Roast, including honey and Dijon mustard, but the real difference is the coriander, whose exotic but subtle sweet-and-spicy taste makes this roast stand out.

View Recipe: Coriander and Black Pepper-Crusted Rib Roast with Roasted Onions

Traditional Sweet Potato Casserole

Becky Luigart-Stayner

Classic: Traditional Sweet Potato Casserole

Rare is the Thanksgiving table that doesn't hold something very similar to this dish. The enduring combination of sweet potatoes mashed with butter and brown sugar and topped with toasted marshmallows is a taste everybody loves.

View Recipe:Traditional Sweet Potato Casserole

Brown Sugar-Glazed Sweet Potato Wedges

Becky Luigart-Stayner

Modern: Brown Sugar-Glazed Sweet Potato Wedges

Though its flavors are very similar to Traditional Sweet Potato Casserole, this dish offers a completely different experience by leaving the sweet potatoes in large pieces. A subtle spice from nutmeg, ginger, and cinnamon also sets it apart.

View Recipe: Brown Sugar-Glazed Sweet Potato Wedges

Pennsylvania Dutch Tea Rolls

Becky Luigart-Stayner

Classic: Pennsylvania Dutch Tea Rolls

These light and airy, poppy seed–topped sweet yeast rolls are an iconic part of the old-fashioned American supper table. They're simple and delicate, and will complement any hearty meal, especially if it involves roast chicken.

View Recipe: Pennsylvania Dutch Tea Rolls

Olive and Asiago Rolls

Becky Luigart-Stayner

Modern: Olive and Asiago Rolls

Where the Pennsylvania Dutch Tea Rolls are soft and subtly flavored, these bring a robust crust and strong Mediterranean seasonings. The piquant kalamata olives and salty cheese can stand up to full-bodied dishes; try the rolls with a zesty vegetable soup, saucy pasta dish, or even grilled steak.

View Recipe: Olive and Asiago Rolls

Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee

Becky Luigart-Stayner

Classic: Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlée

This elegant and impressive dessert ends any dinner party with class. All the accent marks in its name might be intimidating, but the recipe itself is quite simple―it has only six ingredients. And you get to wield a blowtorch (though if you don't have one, we include another method) to give the dish its signature crackly topping.

View Recipe: Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlée

Espresso Creme Brulee

Becky Luigart-Stayner

Modern: Espresso Crème Brûlée

To the original's creamy custard, this dish adds the deep, complex flavor of dark-roast coffee. Steeping coffee beans in the milk barely changes the color of the final product, but it most definitely changes the taste. Keep the flavor a secret, and watch the joy spread over your guests' faces when they try this new version of the old favorite.

View Recipe: Espresso Crème Brûlée

Simple Poached Pears

Becky Luigart-Stayner

Classic: Simple Poached Pears

This recipe is all about the fresh fall taste of pear. The cooking liquid contains no extraneous spices or flavorings to distract from the soft and tender stars of the dish, and the sauce it is later cooked down to adds only pear liqueur for even more flavor.

View Recipe: Simple Poached Pears

Warm Caramelized Pears with Clove Zabaglione

Becky Luigart-Stayner

Modern: Warm Caramelized Pears with Clove Zabaglione

Instead of poaching, these pears are baked with wine, honey, and warm winter spices, leaving them similarly tender but with complex, multifaceted flavor. They're then topped with a creamy sauce that adds another layer of texture and taste. Where Simple Poached Pears were all about purity of flavor, this dish is all about harmony.

View Recipe: Warm Caramelized Pears with Clove Zabaglione

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