Thanksgiving Dinner is a holiday day layered with traditions. A ritualistic holiday celebrating family and food. We have foods on our Thankgiving Day menu that simply don't change. I've looked at the themed-dinners in various food magazines, but I'll never cook them. You see, we do a multi-family pot-luck style dinner, with each family contributing to the meal. The inlaws must bring their amazing dressing, and mother brings fresh cranberry relish, and friends bring the soup course and sweet potatoes and other sides and desserts, and I always cook the turkey and the mashed potatoes and gravy and rolls and more desserts. And then we have wine. And we dine. And we groan. And then we eat dessert and groan some more. And then we talk until we can contemplate moving again.
Probably the one area where I do experiment is with the desserts. Last year I introduced this amazing cranberry 'mince meat' style pie. (I've even had someone say it's better than Zingerman's cranberry pie. Now that's a compliment.) This year I slipped in a new pecan pie recipe.
I was pretty nervous about the pecan pie. It's a tradition. A dessert ritual. We must have a pecan pie. And the recipe we've traditionally used is one of Joe's family recipes. Except that this year I couldn't find it. It should be in my "dessert recipe" binder, but I paged through it twice and didn't see it. Rather than admit this embarrassing loss (and I bet I get a copy in email), I turned to this cookbook because I've had such good experiences with it and found a very promising recipe.
So I knew I was quietly committing a heresy, and if it didn't turn out I would be banned from experimenting on pecan pies for Thanksgiving. (Experimenting other times of the year would be okay.) But I really, really want to try this recipe largely because it doesn't use corn syrup.
"How was the pecan pie?" I asked anxiously, over and over again.