The Blog

by Paul Balcerak

Copacino holiday recipes


Not to stress you out, but as of today, you’ve got 10 days until Christmas. If that does stress you out, and your preferred method for stress management is eating, we’ve got you covered with the handful of hand-picked, employee-tested recipes below. Enjoy!

Crack Pie
Corn Pudding
The Best Potatoes
Fresh Walnut Cranberry/ Citrus Relish
Cranberry Pie with Thick Pecan Crumble
Oma Kuchen
Velveeta Cheese Beans
Gorgonzola Bites
Tom Turkey Chowder

Crack Pie
submitted by Alyssa Goldberg

Yield: Two 10-inch pies

Prep time: About 2 hours

Cook time: About 25 minutes for the pie

Total time: About 5 hours, to allow for cooling



1/4 c. unsalted butter, melted
1 recipe Oat Cookie (recipe follows)
1 tbsp. light brown sugar, packed
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1 recipe Crack Pie Filling (recipe follows)
confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Oat Cookie

1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened
1/3 c. light brown sugar, packed
3 tbsp. white sugar, granulated
1 large egg yolk
1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. old-fashioned rolled oats
1/8 tsp. baking powder
pinch baking soda
1/2 tsp. kosher salt

Crack Pie Filling

1 c. unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 c. white sugar, granulated
3/4 c. light brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 c. corn powder (corn powder is defined as freeze-dried corn, ground to a fine powder)
1/4 c. milk powder
3/4 c. heavy cream
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
8 large egg yolks


To prepare the Oat Cookie crust, preheat the oven to 350°. In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes until fluffy and pale yellow in color. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl with a spatula. On a lower speed, add the egg to incorporate. Increase the speed back up to a medium-high for 1 to 2 minutes until the sugar granules fully dissolve and the mixture is a pale white color. On a lower speed, add the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix 60-75 seconds until your dough comes together and all remnants of dry ingredients have incorporated. Your dough will still be a slightly fluffy, fatty mixture in comparison to your average cookie dough. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl with a spatula.

Pam-spray and line a quarter sheet pan with parchment or a Silpat. Plop the oat cookie dough in the center of the pan and with a spatula, spread it out until it is 1/4″ thick. The dough won’t end up covering the entire pan, this is okay. Bake the oat cookie for 15 minutes. Cool completely before using in the crack pie recipe.

To prepare the pie filling, mix the dry ingredients for the filling using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment on low speed. Be sure to keep your mixer on low speed during the entire process of preparing the filling; if you try to mix on any higher than a low speed, you will incorporate too much air in the following steps and your pie will not be dense and gooey – the essence of the crack pie. Add the melted butter to the mixer and paddle until all the dry ingredients are moist. Add the heavy cream and vanilla and mix until the white from the cream has completely disappeared into the mixture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Add the egg yolks to the mixer, paddling them in to the mixture just to combine. Be careful not to aerate the mixture. Use the filling immediately.

To assemble the pies, preheat the oven to 350°. Put the oat cookie, brown sugar and salt in the food processor and pulse it on and off until the cookie is broken down into a wet sand. (If you don’t have a food processor, you can fake it till you make it and crumble the oat cookie diligently with your hands.) Transfer the cookie crumbs to a bowl and, with your hands, knead the butter and ground cookie mixture until the contents of the bowl are moist enough to knead into a ball. If it is not moist enough to do so, gently melt an additional 1-1 1/2 tablespoons of butter and knead it into the oat crust mixture. Divide the oat crust evenly over 2- 10″ pie tins.

Using your fingers and the palm of your hand, press the oat cookie crust firmly into both 10-inch pie shells. Make sure the bottom and the walls of the pie shells are evenly covered. Use the pie shells immediately or, wrapped well in plastic, store the pie shells at room temperature for up to 5 days or in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Place both pie shells on a sheet pan. Divide the crack pie filling evenly over both crusts (the filling should fill the crusts 3/4 way full) and bake at 350° for 15 minutes. During this time, the crack pie will still be very jiggly, but should become golden brown on top. At 15 minutes, open the oven door and reduce the baking temperature to 325°. Depending on your oven this will take 5-10 minutes – keep the pies in the oven during this process. When the oven temperature reads 325°, close the door and finish baking the pies for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, the pies should still be jiggly in the bull’s eye centers, but not in the outer center circle. If the pies are still too jiggly, leave them in the oven an additional 5 minutes.

Gently remove the baked pies from the oven and transfer to a rack to cool at room temperature. You can speed up the cooling process by transferring the pies to the fridge or freezer if you’re in a hurry. Freeze your pie for as little as 3 hours or up to overnight to condense the filling for a dense final product – the signature of a perfectly executed Crack Pie. Just before serving finish with a dusting of confectioners’ sugar.


Corn Pudding
submitted by Sun Yi


Mix together:

  • 4 Tbsp flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar


  • (1) 17oz can of cream-style corn
  • (1) 5.3 oz can of evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup regular milk
  • 3 slightly beaten eggs


  • Pour into a buttered casserole dish.
  • Sprinkle 2 Tbsp of chopped butter on top.
  • Put dish in another pan filled with water (1in. high)
  • Bake at 400 for 45 – 60 mins.
  • When it’s done, the center gets firm!


The Best Potatoes (easy to make ahead)
submitted by Adrienne Porter

Ingredients and directions:

Boil and mash one bag of Yukon gold potatoes (no need to peel unless you prefer).
Add 8oz of cream cheese, 1C of sour cream, and 2 tsp garlic salt or more (Lawry’s with ground parsley), ½ tsp pepper and beat until smooth with an electric mixer.
Put in a buttered casserole dish (3-4 qt).  Dot with 4T butter and sprinkle with paprika.
Cover and bake for 50-60 minutes at 400.  Let stand for 10 minutes.


Fresh Walnut Cranberry/ Citrus Relish
submitted by Adrienne Porter

Ingredients and directions:

  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • In a food processor, chop (coarse): 1 package fresh cranberries + 2 medium oranges and 1 cup sugar
  • Add walnuts before serving


Easy to prep day before – makes Christmas morning or any brunch easy
submitted by Adrienne Porter

Ingredients and directions:

In a non-stick stovetop- and oven-safe pan (I use a 3.5 qt / 10.5”):

  • Combine as much as you want of each that will fit leaving about a quarter to half inch to fill with eggs  later(sliced: grape tomatoes, zucchini, green onions, broccoli, or any other veggie you love + cheese or sausage if you like.  You’ll need to cook the sausage prior to adding) add garlic salt (Lawry’s with coarse ground parsley) and pepper to taste.  Do this the day ahead if you like and refrigerate.
  • In a separate bowl, mix up to 12 eggs and ½ C milk (depending on the size of your pan) – add to above when ready to cook.
  • On stovetop – heat covered on medium for 45 minutes.
  • Finish on broil in the oven for the last 5 minutes or until golden brown.


Cranberry Pie with Thick Pecan Crumble
submitted by Katie O’Mara

Yield: 1 standard 9-inch pie (not deep-dish)



  • 1 1/4 cups (155 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (6 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon (3 grams) fine sea or table salt
  • 1 stick (4 ounces or 115 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) very cold water, plus an additional tablespoon if needed


  • 4 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries (from 1 1/2 12-ounce bags)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar, plus 1 to 2 more tablespoons, if desired, to taste
  • A few gratings of orange zest (yes, clementine zest works great here too)
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch


  • 2/3 cup rolled oats or 1/2 cup oat flour
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse or sea salt
  • 3/4 cup pecans, toasted if you have the time
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

To serve

  • Powdered sugar, sweetened whipped cream with a splash of vanilla extract or vanilla ice cream


Pie dough: By hand, with my one-bowl method: In the bottom of a large bowl, combine the flour, salt and sugar. Work the butter into the flour with your fingertips or a pastry blender until mixture resembles a coarse meal and the largest bits of butter are the size of tiny peas. (Some people like to do this by freezing the stick of butter and coarsely grating it into the flour, but I haven’t found the results as flaky.) Add 1/4 cup cold water and stir with a spoon or flexible silicone spatula until large clumps form. Use your hands to knead the dough together, right in the bottom of the bowl. If necessary to bring the dough together, you can add the last tablespoon of water.

With a food processor: In the work bowl of a food processor, combine flour, salt and sugar. Add butter and pulse machine until mixture resembles a coarse meal and the largest bits of butter are the size of tiny peas. Turn mixture out into mixing bowl. Add 1/4 cup cold water and stir with a spoon or flexible silicone spatula until large clumps form. Use your hands to knead the dough together, right in the bottom of the bowl. If necessary to bring the dough together, you can add the last tablespoon of water.

Both methods: Wrap dough in a sheet of plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour, or up to 48 hours, or you can quick-firm this in the freezer for 15 minutes. Longer than 2 days, it’s best to freeze it until needed.

Form the crust: On a floured counter, roll the dough out into a 12 to 13-inch circle-ish shape. Fold dough gently in quarters without creasing and transfer to a 9-inch standard (not deep-dish) pie plate. Unfold dough and trim overhang to about 1/2-inch. Fold overhang under edge of pie crust and crimp decoratively. Return to fridge until ready to fill.

[Optional: If you’d like to par-bake the crust, once you’ve rolled it out, freeze it for 10 minutes inside your pie tin, until solid. Prick unbaked crust with a fork several times. Line it with lightly buttered foil. Fill with pie weights, dried beans or pennies. Bake at 400°F (205°C) on rimmed baking sheet 15 minutes. Remove paper or foil and weights, and bake 5 to 10 more minutes until crust is golden brown and lightly crisp.]

Heat oven: (Or reduce oven heat, if you just par-baked your crust) to 375°F (190°C).

Make the filling: Combine all filling ingredients — no need to defrost frozen cranberries, they’ll just need a couple extra minutes to warm up — in a medium saucepan over medium heat. After about 5 minutes, berries will begin to leak juices. Cook, stirring for 5 minutes more until filling is loose. If desired, you can lightly crush the mixture once or twice with a potato masher, but try to leave most berries intact. Transfer filling to a bowl to let it cool slightly for 5 to 10 minutes while you make the crumble topping.

Make the topping: If using whole oats, grind them to a powder in a food processor. Add pecans and coarsely grind them too. Add remaining ingredients except the butter, pulsing a few times to combine. Add butter, pulsing until crumbles form. Sprinkle topping over cranberry filling.

Bake pie: For 45 to 50 minutes, until juices are bubbling enough that they splash a bit onto the crumb topping. If pie browns too quickly, cover top with a piece of foil for remaining baking time. Transfer to a wire rack to cool a bit before serving showered with powdered sugar and alongside whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.


Oma Kuchen
Translation: Grandma Cake, or Linzertorte as more commonly known
submitted by Lisa Griffith


  • 2 cups a/p flour
  • 2 cups ground hazelnuts
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • Ground cloves (just a dash)
  • 1 cup cold butter cubed
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp. grated lemon peel
  • 1-1/3 cups seedless jam (we typically use raspberry or strawberry)
  • Powdered sugar (optional)


  1. In a large bowl, combine the first 7 ingredients.  Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Add eggs & lemon peel; stir until mixture forms a ball.  Divide into 4ths.  Cover & refrigerate 3-4 hours.
  2. Remove 2 portions of dough from fridge; press each into two 9” spring form pans or fluted tart pans with removable bottom, if you have it.  Spread 2/3 c. of the jam over each of the doughs.
  3. Between two sheet so f lightly floured wax paper roll one portion of remaining dough into a 10×6” rectangle.  Cut 6 -1” wide strips; arrange in a lattice design over jam.  Repeat with remaining dough if needed (you may need to refrigerate dough if it warms up too much.)
  4. Bake at 350 deg. For 40-45 minutes or until bubbly and crust is browned.  Cool completely.  Dust with powdered sugar if desired.


Velveeta Cheese Beans
A deliciously downscale side dish
submitted by Jim Copacino

Ingredients and directions:

  • Drain 3 cans of green beans for 2 hours.
  • In a medium skillet, melt 1/2 stick of butter and 1/2 stick of Velveeta Cheese.
  • Slowly add 1 cup of milk to mixture.
  • Stir until smooth.
  • When mixture is smooth, stir in green beans.
  • Place contents into casserole dish, then top with French’s canned fried onions.
  • Place lid on casserole dish for 45 minutes.
  • Remove lid for last 45 minutes for last 10 minutes to brown top.

Delicious! (Don’t worry about the calories, it’s the holidays.)


Gorgonzola Bites
submitted by Nikki Houser


  • 3 packages of mini phyllo cups (15 per package)
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 yellow or orange pepper
  • 1 sweet onion
  • 1 package of gorgonzola cheese
  • Butter or olive oil


  • Preheat the oven to 350.
  • Dice the onion and peppers into small pieces (small enough to go inside the phyllo cups) and caramelize with butter or olive oil.
  • Set the phyllo cups on a cookie sheet and fill with the caramelized onion and pepper mixture.
  • Top each phyllo cup with gorgonzola cheese and bake for 8-12 minutes (until heated through and cheese becomes melty).
  • Serve immediately.


Tom Turkey Chowder
submitted by Melody Kromer


  • 3 cups turkey, cooked and chopped
  • 1/2-1 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. red or green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 cups potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 1/4 cups celery, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup turkey or chicken broth
  • 1/2 tbsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh or dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 2 tsp. Better Than Bouillon (chicken base)
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 1 can cream-style corn
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh or dried thyme
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley. minced


In a Dutch oven or large, heavy saucepan, saute onion and bell pepper in butter over medium heat until tender but not browned. Add the next 8 ingredients; reduce heat, cover and simmer until potatoes and celery are fork-tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in corn, milk, turkey, and thyme; heat through. Just before serving, sprinkle parsley over chowder. Remove bay leaf.

Happy holiday eating from all of us at Copacino+Fujikado!