I’ve always enjoyed the menu daydream, wherein I allow myself to gaze away from the computer for a moment and construct a luscious meal, soup to nuts. In my Chicago office, that took place out the 8th floor window looking north across Monroe Street. Now, thanks God, the view is out the kitchen window or, even better, across my desk at a crackling fire, working from home.
The Thanksgiving menu daydream holds the gaze a little longer, and for many, many more days (see this). I learned from my menu-loving mama to start eking out the plan early on and do what you can (toast the nuts, render the butter, make the crusts and freeze them) ahead. I’m sure she daydreams her menus, but above all she writes them down, on post-it notes or any scrap of paper that’s handy when the spirit moves her.
While all of the dishes of Thanksgiving are cause for excessive doting, it won’t surprise many of you who’ve joined me here for a time that I get my daydream crazy-happy on for the hilweh, the postre, the dessert.
If there’s a crust involved, all the better, especially for the Thanksgiving feast.
The legacy of Lebanese recipes is one I clearly treasure; the legacy of sweets, the pie in particular, that comes in a direct bloodline from my mother (and hers)? Joy! Not even the fear we should have of all things sugar could dampen our collective family sweet tooth; if there’s such a thing as “pie-tooth,” we have it.
We cherish it like the fine heirloom that it is, and want to pass it down the generations intact. We just look to moderation as our guide to keep ourselves in good clean health. Grandma Alice’s wise mantra holds true: a little piece won’t hurt you.
Without further ado, here’s a daydream-worthy pie and tart menu for Thanksgiving, with my tried and true recipes and all of the crust tutorials you could need to present gorgeous, delicious desserts this Thanksgiving. Would you share your own favorites, so I can gaze on those for a spell, too?
My no-rollout, push-in tart crust techniques
(Then find the recipe with the chocolate tart, below)
Lemon Meringue Tart
How to make your own pumpkin puree for the pumpkin pie
And last but not least:
How to make excellent whipped cream