By Jean Graubart, Director of the Leo & Anna Smilow Center for Jewish Living and Learning
November is always reminiscent of family, food and memories.
Thanksgiving is a holiday we enjoy with Americans of all ethnic and religious backgrounds, taking time to be with people who matter and eating delicious foods. There is a traditional menu set out by the Pilgrims, or so we are told, but each community and family adds their own personal flavors to the general idea of what to have on the table.
Pumpkin pie, because it is generally made with evaporated milk or other dairy product, has been a problem for the kosher meat table. Years ago, I found Nancy Reagan’s Simple (the key word) Pecan Pumpkin Pie and was delighted that it would be both pareve and combine 2 favorite flavors for pie. For at least 25 years, this pie has been a part of our dessert table and relished by my guests. Since today is election day and we are all thinking of the White House, I thought it would be appropriate to add a pie from this auspicious address to your Thanksgiving recipes. And it is a bi-partisan pie, enjoyed by all of all parties!
Nancy Reagan’s Simple Pecan Pumpkin Pie
2 cups pumpkin (canned or fresh)
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup dark corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 unbaked (9-inch) pie shell
1 cup chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Break eggs into large bowl. Beat with wire whip. Add pumpkin, sugar, corn syrup, vanilla extract, cinnamon and salt. Stir until sugar is dissolved and ingredients are well blended. Pour into pie shell and cover pie with pecans. Bake for 40 minutes, or until filling is set (knife inserted in center of pie comes out clean). Can be baked a day ahead and refrigerated for the big day.
And while we are into “P” recipes (pecan pumpkin pie), add this “P” recipe to your Thanksgiving repertoire. Perfect for the kosher table:
5 pounds potatoes (any kind, size or shape–I like Yukon Gold but red and russet are good or mix them up)
Boil potatoes with skins. In frying pan, heat olive oil. Dice 6 onions and sauté until golden brown.
Mash potatoes with skins on ( they add nutrients and taste and texture) in a large bowl with hand masher, the kind your mother or grandmother used. Mix in the onions and all the oil and add salt and plenty of pepper to taste.
Use a large rectangular pan and grease with oil all around. Put potatoes mixed with onions and seasoned into the pan and heat before dinner on 350 or 375 or whatever your oven is on until golden on top.
ENJOY! They taste like the filling in the best knish you ever had. And they are Perfect (there’s that P again) with natural turkey sauce (that means no added flour or thickener) and alongside the vegetables (steamed or roasted are best since everything else is so flavorful and their natural taste brings balance to this meal).
Hoping this Thanksgiving, you all celebrate with people who matter, and take the time to count the blessings that make your life meaningful, and may these blessings be bountiful! CHAG SAMEACH!