Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday filled with friends, family, and delicious food! In this spirit, what better table centerpiece than an edible one? Making a traditional cornucopia entirely of bread and using it as a serving dish is a great festive addition to the table - without taking away valuable real estate! A cornucopia or 'horn of plenty' goes back to Greek mythology but in modern times is most notably recognized as a symbol of the fall harvest's bounty. Instead of traditional fruits and vegetables, I recommend filling the cornucopia with the following:
"Heap high the board with plenteous cheer and gather to the feast, And toast the sturdy Pilgrim band whose courage never ceased."
- Alice W. Brotherton
~ An assortment of mini bread muffins such as cornbread, orange cranberry, pumpkin, etc. for everyone at the table to enjoy!
~ A savory dip that compliments the breadsticks. Prior to making the cornucopia, determine what bowl your dip will go in and create the opening size to match.
~ A variety of fancy cheeses and cured meats and crackers spilling out!
I found the following recipe for a bread cornucopia in a magazine years ago and its a classic that is both quick and fun to make. There are many different versions out there but I find this one to be the simplest. All you need is heavy-duty aluminum foil, 3 tube cans of refrigerated bread stick dough, and 1 egg.
1. Heat oven to 350°F. Lightly coat a baking sheet, at least 17 x 14 in., with nonstick spray.
2. To make form for Cornucopia: Tear off a 30 x 18-in. sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Fold in half to 18 x 15 in. Roll diagonally to form a hollow cone about 18 in. long with a diameter of 5 to 6 in. at wide end. Fasten end with tape. Stuff cone with crumpled regular foil until form is rigid. Bend tail of cone up. Spray outside of cone with nonstick spray. Place on baking sheet.
3. Open and unroll 1 can of dough on work surface. Separate breadsticks. Gently roll with hands on work surface until breadsticks are about 18 in. long. Begin by wrapping 1 breadstick around tip of cone. Tuck end under, then press on another breadstick. Continue spiral-wrapping cone, slightly overlapping dough, until there are 6 breadsticks left.
4. Pinch 1 end of each of 3 breadsticks together, then braid, attaching remaining 3 breadsticks to first 3 by pressing ends together. Continue to braid. Brush bread around opening of Cornucopia with glaze. Gently press on braid. Brush entire Cornucopia with glaze: 1 egg beaten with 1 Tbsp water.
5. Bake 45 minutes or until bread is a rich brown. (If parts start to darken too much, cover them with foil.)
6. Remove from oven; let cool completely on baking sheet on a wire rack. Remove foil when cool. (If freezing, leave foil in bread for support. Remove when thawed.)
7. Fill Cornucopia directly on serving surface, letting contents spill out of the opening.