It took me time to decide (because decision making is not my strong suit) on which desserts I would be preparing this year for Thanksgiving. Many variables came to mind: those on a diet, those who don't like fruit pies, and if you are serving a sweet potato casserole how do you eat a slice of pumpkin pie after that? Well, I came to a conclusion that a gluten free clafoutis with brown butter apples would be the semi-healthy choice that is comprised of almond flour and unsweetened coconut milk along with cooked apples and reduce apple juice with a vanilla seeds infused. Second choice would be a house favorite, Key lime pie but this time the crust would be crushed mint chocolate cookies instead of graham crackers. The third dessert had to be my favorite to make next to cheesecake and that's a traditional apple pie with a top crust.
Having the day before to finish the desserts and also have the cranberry sauce set and chilled before tomorrow was a relief. Its known to most pastry chefs that if you don't get into the kitchen early or plan far in advance you will be fighting for oven space and most likely endure more stress than needed when you have many other details to think about. For me a daily routine besides assisting Michael in the kitchen is making and serving drinks, setting the table, and keeping a clean kitchen which allows Michael to continue to make his magic happen without having to be interrupted.
That being said, having the day to enjoy peeling and slicing apples and tossing them with raw sugar and lemon juice and waiting for them to create their juices before spooning them into a pre-baked pie shell was almost relaxing. I honestly can say I saved the apple pie to bake last because it is my favorite. I even let out a congenial sigh when I took the key lime pie out and put the clafouti in to the oven and turned to the fridge to remove the pie dough disk and begin rolling out the bottom crust. I had a smile on my face when I proudly walked it over to the freezer to let chill for 15 minutes before baking. I knew I was on my way to baking an apple pie. I sound crazy I suppose and crazy to be proud that when I reached into the oven to check on the crust, I burned myself-careless move some would say but for me it was a sign that I was baking and not just one quick dessert on the fly but multiple and that is a good day to me. I was hoping that it wasn't going to take me most of the afternoon but I wasn't completely alone in the kitchen, there is always visitors, workers, and occasional kid running around.
Thanksgiving is truly a family holiday, it is not the same unless you are sharing your table with those you love. That can just be your spouse, child or best-friend, but when you are passing around the mashed potatoes and stuffing, you can't help to think how thankful you are for that person you are sharing this meal with and being thankful for moments like this that you reflect on the year and all that surrounds you that truly a blessing.
I am thankful for many things, and as hard as it is being so far away from my family as they gather together on Thursday, I am glad to have this opportunity to cook with my husband and share our gift with new people each year. We have the freedom to prepare our favorite dishes along with theirs and be a part of someone elses tradition.
We are thankful for the strength each day God has given us and the talent to create something special and tasteful for a family that has truly opened their home to us, we are not just the chefs but sometimes a friend.