We traditionally have anything but
tradition at Thanksgiving - a practice born of vegetarianism and not needing to make anyone else happy but us. So we've had tamales, two years of Native American foods, paella, Italian, even Thanksgivukkah the year Thanksgiving landed on the first day of Hanukkah.
This year I took inspiration from one of my reading goals for 2019 - to finish reading a book from every country in Asia. This has opened up the steppes making up much of the former USSR and byproducts of English colonialism. I've played with some Southeast Asian cuisine but decided to dig into the -stans. I had fun researching traditional foods of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Krgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. I didn't end up making food from everywhere, especially since the two most traditional foods of Kazakhstan are horse and mutton.
I made sabzi
(spinach) and gulpi
(cauliflower) from Afghanistan, one of many dal
recipes from Pakistan, also a comfort-food rice recipe called khichri
from Pakistan, and attempted dumplings from a YouTuber I found from Uzbekistan. I ended up not making a few recipes I had marked that would fulfill more -stans, but we had plenty for two people. I let Trader Joes make the flatbread because I was wiped, and I didn't fully make a pulao/plov rice recipe that is very much prominent in this region - it also usually includes meat as a main ingredient so I just didn't have a way to replicate it. I did, however, use a half-ton of onions across the board.
My husband asked for pecan pie for dessert. Somehow, in my entire life, I'd never made a normal pecan pie. I once burned a chocolate pecan pie, which wasn't a good memory. So I embarked on research. I have found if you search for "best" alongside practically any recipe, you'll find your way to some pretty good recipes. There were quite a few mentions of the Texas State Fair recipe, which I suspect is one of the standard southern versions that has made the rounds. But then I found a guy named Craig who had blogged his hunt for the best pecan pie
. He ended up combining the best parts of his grandmother's pie with the best parts of the Texas State Fair pie.
I decided to use a crust recipe I liked best, but that's when I really ran into an issue - do you prebake the crust or not? Craig says to bake the crust 40 minutes (!!) while some of the recipes he had used didn't prebake at all. King Arthur Flour says 10 minutes but it was still pretty pale. I cut the difference and baked it 20 minutes. But since I didn't have any dried beans in my pantry, a few places the crust sank down a bit. (I know how to bake a pie crust but didn't do a good job doing what I know, honestly.)
I had filled the crust to its capacity, taking into account the low sides, but there was still some dark brown sugary mixture in the pan so what did I do, when I knew better?
I went ahead and poured it into the crust. So it carmelized on the bottom. While I did not have a soggy bottom, I definitely had a crispy, caremlized crust that did not want to come out of the pan in a solid piece. Ah well. We ate a few pieces and threw the rest away... I guess maybe pecan pie isn't really my thing. I linked you to Craig's recipes above, so I won't repeat it here, since I'm not sure I did it right anyway.
Hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving!