For the first time since I moved to Ireland, we are welcoming family from America to the farm for this year’s Thanksgiving celebration and I am just thrilled! Last year, we hosted the dinner in our home with a group of our expat friends which was wonderful and this year it will be just as special again.

We will all be to traveling to Kildare on Wednesday the 23rd to visit a turkey farm and take home our fresh bronze turkey. I have freshly pressed apple cider in the fridge that we will warm and sip the next morning as we prepare for our meal later that day. Pumpkin pie(s) will be made. Martha’s stuffing. Fresh cranberry chutney. Yams. And of course, Richard’s famous Irish coffee.

In America, I think it is safe to say that Thanksgiving is nearly as big a holiday as Christmas. Here, since there is no holiday to break up the time before Christmas, everyone is already dangerously close to hitting the Christmas spirit. It is getting increasingly more difficult to wait to go Christmas cray cray until the day after Thanksgiving, but I will resist!

In the spring, I worked as a food stylist on a fantastic cookbook written by Irish butcher, Pat Whelan, and photographed by the very talented Moya McAllister. One of the recipes that really appealed to me was Pat’s sweet turkey, ham and cranberry pies. They are just the right size for a light lunch or tea in the evening. Of course, the idea is that these would be easy to whip up with leftovers from the Christmas dinner, but I love the thought of making them after Thanksgiving. With or without the ham.

Here’s Pat’s recipe

Makes 8 (In a regular 12 hole bun/muffin tray. I used tart molds which are a bit larger so recipe would make 6)


500g Shortcrust pastry

250g/9oz/1 1/2 cups shredded turkey

100g/3/4 cup cooked ham cut into small pieces

8 tbsp creme fraiche

8 tsp cranberry sauce

1 egg beaten

Roll out pastry

Cut 8 circles to line holes of the tin and 8 smalled circles for the pie lids

Grease the holes in the tin and line with pastry

Divide the turkey, ham, cranberry sauce and cream between the 8 holes

Season with salt and pepper

Brush the edges of the pastry and apply the pastry lid to seal

Place tray into the fridge to chill for about 30 minutes

Heat oven to 180/Gas 6

Brush pastry lids with egg wash and bake for 25 minutes

Can be eaten hot or cold!

Slan Abhaile,


Photo by Moya McAllister. Food Styling by Imen McDonnell 2010.

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14 Responses to “Turkey + Ham + Cranberry Tarts”

  1. Cat St.Clair says:

    Can’t wait to try the recipe! Thanksgiving here is going to be great… and even better the next day. Happy Thanksgiving, Imen. See you soon:)

  2. Krista says:

    So excited for you having family to celebrate with. 🙂 This is my first Thanksgiving in Australia and I can’t wait to introduce my Aussie friends to this wonderful holiday. 🙂

  3. Tim says:

    Even more excited about Thanksgiving dinner, so, Maggie can make these for the weekend, and share with friends…. Mmm, mm…. Have a wonderful holiday!

  4. Really looking forward to trying these little pies!
    Happy Thanksgiving Imen! x

  5. laura says:

    On the subject of Starbucks, Starbucks in Vienna is more thanksgivingy than Christmasy! They had pumpkin drinks the last time I was in there. 🙂

  6. laura says:

    Mmmm. These look devine…. they would tempt me to eat turkey and ham at Christmas to make these with the leftovers! *I NEVER cook turkey at Christmas!*

  7. Elaine says:

    Hi these are a great idea for leftovers after Christmas dinner there is always so much food made and no one really wants to eat it again the next day . Can see the boys liking these as well no turkey sandwiches this St Stephens day for us 🙂 thanks for the idea .

  8. These little pies look lovely, and perfect for holiday leftovers. I might try it with chicken in the meantime. I try not to think about Christmas until after Thanksgiving, but it’s not always possible!

  9. If it’s any consolation, here in the States I have the feeling that Thanksgiving is being forgotten – we’re deep in the Christmas Cray-Cray already (in fact, I heard a woman at Starbucks counting down shopping days till Christmas in OCTOBER). The ‘Bucks even switched to their Christmas decor and cups on November FIRST. I say Thanksgiving isn’t getting it’s due lately. Keep the anti-early-Cray-Cray faith!

  10. Parisbug says:

    ‘Christmas cray cray’–love…& miss feeling that, we just don’t get it around here, but probably doesn’t help that all our friends with littles are far away & we’re in renovation limbo hell which is not the least bit conducive to celebrating. As a multicultural family, I’ve always loved celebrating Thanksgiving for our American heritage & Christmas for our Norwegian, so this time of year is especially hard. Enjoy it extra for those of us missing out! 🙂

    • imen says:

      You know what that means? When you finally have to renovation complete you will celebrate in the best way!!!! Or, you can come over to ours if you like =) Imen xx

  11. Móna Wise says:

    I can just see ours next weekend running around outside with one of these pies in their hands – too busy to come in for lunch. We are celebrating Thanksgiving (a day late on Friday) with our American friends who are traveling over from Michigan to be with us. This has always been one of my very favourite times of year and I am getting a bit crazy for Christmas right there with you xx

    • imen says:

      Aww I can just picture that too! These are delicious and easy! Have a really lovely Thanksgiving Mona…we all have a lot to be thankful for =) xx

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