Things just didn't go that well for me on the biggest cooking holiday of the year here in the US. My apple crostata slumped and sagged while the shell for my maple cream pie was powdery above the filling and soggy underneath. I used slightly different dough recipes for each and both were off, so I'm blaming the flour rather than the recipes or the cook. Neither were inedible--we decided the crostata was too ugly for the Thanksgiving table and polished it off midday and the maple cream pie was silky and delicious despite its subpar crust. I thought there was too much nutmeg in the recipe and will cut way back next time because I want my maple cream pie to taste more like maple and not so much like eggnog but it was still quite delicious.
See how I started off talking about dessert? That's just like me.
The dinner itself was fine. I made a kosher turkey with cornbread stuffing, sweet potato kugel, mashed potatoes, roasted cauliflower, challah rolls, and fruit salad. I'm not much of a meat eater so the whole process of cooking a giant bird makes me a bit queasy and I end up eating one slice of breast meat and moving on to the other dishes. The reality is I like cooking meat even less than I like eating it and I'd be perfectly happy with a vegetarian Thanksgiving.
We had lots of leftovers. I put the turkey carcass in my huge stockpot with onions, celery, and carrots to make turkey stock which I put to good use last night. Our Shabbat dinner included lots of Thanksgiving leftovers along with a Greek style egg-lemon soup using some of that rich turkey stock. The Picky Ones declared it "weird" and focused on the potatoes, but everyone was up for dessert, an old favorite from Please to the Table: The Russian Cookbook by Anya von Bremzen. This cookbook is a delightful tour of the cuisines of the former Soviet Union. I have used many of the recipes over the years and it's also great reading.
The apple charlotte is very simple and thus only as good as the apples you use. The spouse brought home some beauties the other day and they shone in this recipe in which piles and piles of chopped apple are bound together in a light, eggy batter scented with vanilla, and cinnamon. This isn't a fancy dish--no one will be impressed at its appearance. But it has a rustic sort of no-fail charm about it which felt comforting after my recent dessert disasters. And, I happen to know, leftover apple charlotte makes a fine breakfast. The recipe is here.