Thanksgiving Desserts

A collection of recipes from family, friends, and my personal library.

Mama Black’s Never Fail Pie Crust

by Esther Horne Black via Kim Meeks

This is my grandmother’s homemade pie crust. It NEVER FAILS.

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • ¾ cup shortening
  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 egg, well beaten
  • 1 Tablespoon vinegar
  • ½ cup ice cold water

Mix the dry ingredients with a pastry cutter until the lumps are the size of peas. Mix the wet ingredients separately.  Combine the two mixtures a little at a time until all the dry ingredients are moist.  Mold the dough together into a ball.  Cover and chill in the refrigerator for an hour (or up to a week).  This makes two 10-inch crusts (top/bottom) and a shell, or three shells.

If making shells, prick well with a fork.  To prevent shrinking, fit a smaller disposable aluminum pie pan in the shell and fill with anything that can survive heat (pie weights, nuts, bolts, dried beans, etc.).  Bake at 425℉ until golden brown.


Eve’s Chocolate Caramel Tart

Salted Caramel Bittersweet Chocolate Tart – Life Made Simple (

by Eve Reecer via Life Made Simple

  • Sweet pastry dough:
  • 1¼ c. all-purpose flour
  • 1½ tbsp. granulated sugar
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 7 tbsp. butter, cold and cut into ¼” pieces
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ½ tsp. vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
  • 2½ tbsp. ice water
  • Filling:
  • ¾ c. heavy whipping cream
  • ½ c. whole milk
  • 12 oz. bittersweet chocolate*, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • Salted caramel:
  • 1 c. granulated sugar
  • 6 tbsp. salted butter, room temperature
  • ½ c. heavy whipping cream, room temperature
  • 1 tsp. salt (I prefer non-iodized sea salt)
  1. To prepare the dough, in a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar and salt. In a separate bowl whisk together the egg yolk, vanilla and ice water. Slowly pour into the flour mixture, mixing until combined. Cut the butter into the mixture with a pastry blender until pea-size clumps form. Knead the dough into a ball, then pat flat and wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
  2. After the dough has chilled, roll it out into a circle approximately ⅛” thick. Place into a tart pan with a removable bottom. Trim the dough so that it is flush with the rim, then place a piece of aluminum foil over top and pour in pie weights (see NOTES if you don’t have weights). Place in the oven and bake at 325 degrees for 20 minutes or until pale golden brown. Allow to cool while preparing the filling.
  3. To make the filling, in a medium size saucepan placed over medium heat, add the heavy cream and whole milk. Heat until the mixture boils, then remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate until the mixture becomes smooth. In a medium size mixing bowl whisk the eggs together. Slowly pour about ¼ of the mixture into the eggs, whisking vigorously to combine (and to prevent the eggs from scrambling). This will temper the eggs. Slowly pour the mixture back into the pan, whisking to combine. Pour the filling into the tart and place in the oven at 325 for 25-30 minutes or until set.
  4. While the tart is baking, prepare the salted caramel. Heat the granulated sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly to prevent burning. The sugar will begin to form clumps and will eventually melt and turn brown. Once the sugar has melted completely, add the butter. The mixture will bubble, continue stirring for 1-2 minutes or until the butter has completely melted, then add the cream. Boil for 1 minute then remove from the heat and add the salt. Allow the caramel to cool along with the tart for about 15 minutes. Pour the caramel over the tart, taking care not to let it spill over the crust. You may have a few tablespoons left over. Place the tart into the refrigerator to chill for 2 hours. Before serving garnish with flecks of sea salt.


Elizabeth’s No Bake Cookie Butter Pie

No-Bake Lotus Biscoff Cheesecake | Cleobuttera

by Elizabeth West via Cleobuttera

  •  30 Lotus Biscoff cookies (235g)*
  •  6 tablespoons (3oz/ 85g) unsalted butter, melted
  •  1 cup (237ml) heavy whipping cream, very cold
  •  12 1/3oz (350g) cream cheese, at cool room temperature*
  •  1 cup (260g) Lotus Biscoff spread (aka Speculoos or any cookie butter)*
  •  2/3 cups (75g) powdered sugar
  •  1/8 teaspoon salt
  •  The remaining 140g (heaping 1/2 cup) of the Lotus Biscoff spread jar
  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325F/160C. Line the bottom of a 9 or 10-inch springform pan with a parchment paper round.
  2. Using a food processor, pulse the Lotus Biscoff cookies into fine crumbs. You can also place them in a large zipperlock bag and smash them with a rolling pin or meat mallet until finely ground.
  3. Stir in the melted butter until evenly combined. Measure out 1/4 cup (50g) of the mixture and reserve in a small bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until ready to use for garnish. Evenly spread the remaining crumb mixture to the prepared pan’s bottom, then press with a flat-bottomed drinking glass or measuring cup.
  4. Transfer to the oven and bake until deepens in color and smells fragrant; 8 to 9 minutes. (You can skip the baking step if you prefer, but it helps set the crust better and gives it a more aromatic flavor and crisper texture). Allow to cool completely before filling. To speed things up, I like to cool it in the freezer as I work on the filling.
  1. With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the heavy whipping cream in a large, chilled bowl, until stiff peaks form. Be careful not to over mix the cream so it doesn’t curdle. Transfer the whipped cream to a medium bowl and keep chilled in the fridge until ready to use.
  2. the same bowl and using the same mixer (no need to wash), beat together the cream cheese, Lotus Biscoff spread, powdered sugar and salt until well combined and very smooth.
  3. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture, until uniform in color and no white streaks remain. Mixture should be very stable and cloud-like, but not loose at all.
  4. Scrape the filling to the cooled cookie crust and use an offset spatula or the back of a spoon to spread into an even layer and smooth the surface.
  5. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until set, 5 to 6 hours or overnight.

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