My early Thanksgiving memories are among my fondest. When I was growing up in a small suburb of Boston, my closest cousins lived about 45 minutes away, making it virtually impossible for our Sabbath-observant family to spend weekends or Jewish holidays together.
Thanksgiving, instead, was our big family holiday. We got together every year at our house or theirs — tables bursting with favorite family dishes, cousins giggling together at the kids’ table creating memories that have now spanned countries and continents.
Even after my family moved to Canada, we carried on the American tradition. We did move our celebration to Friday nights, and my mom would sometimes forgo the traditional turkey, opting for a chicken because the crowd was smaller.
Moving to Israel hasn’t affected my love of the holiday in any way. We continue to celebrate with a traditional turkey dinner and all the trimmings. Our friends and family make their favorite dishes, and everyone goes around the table saying what they’re thankful for. It’s an annual highlight.
This year, the once-in-a-lifetime confluence of Hanukkah and Thanksgiving has everyone all abuzz, with craft projects and holiday recipes that incorporate the two celebrations into one. While I really haven’t taken to the term Thanksgivukkah, I have given some thought as to how to honor the Festival of Lights at our Thanksgiving table. Beyond adding latkes to our standard repertoire, I’ve come up with a unique dessert that incorporates Hanukkah’s olive oil and local, fresh pumpkin — just buy a chunk from your local fruit-and-vegetable stand — into a delicious and traditional Thanksgiving dessert.
Olive Oil-Roasted Pumpkin Tart
For the crust:
- 34 Lotus Biscoff caramelized cookies, crushed
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup melted margarine
- Mix the crumbs and flour with the melted margarine.
- Press into a nine-inch tart pan with removable sides.
- Bake in a preheated 220°/425° oven for 10 minutes.
- Remove from oven and let cool while preparing the filling.
For the filling:
- 2 cups olive oil roasted pumpkin puree (see below)
- 1 cup coconut milk
- ½ tsp vanilla
- 2 eggs plus one yolk
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon powdered ginger
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon cardamom
- Mix the sugar, salt, spices and eggs. Add the pumpkin, milk, oil and vanilla.
- Stir to blend well. Pour filling into crust and return to the oven. Continue to bake at 220°C/425°F for 15 minutes.
- Reduce heat to 180°C/350°F and continue baking for an additional 40 minutes.
- Cool completely before serving.
To make pumpkin puree:
- 2 kilos of fresh pumpkin
- Olive oil for drizzling
- Preheat oven to 220°C/425°F.
- Drizzle pumpkin chunks with olive oil and place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.
- Roast pumpkin flesh side down for approximately one hour, or until completely soft. Scoop out all the flesh and process until completely smooth.
- Line a fine mesh sieve with a coffee filter, pour all the purée into the sieve and set to drain overnight covered in the refrigerator. The purée will be ready to use in the morning.