Holiday Desserts

One thing I’ve been noticing the last few years is how little a role desserts play in the grand scheme of holiday dinners. In a way I can understand it: My extended family tends to concentrate more on appetizers and the main dishes. Dessert is put out buffet style maybe an hour or so after the main meal. People take “polite” servings, leaving the bulk of everything untouched. If extended family can’t get anyone to take anything home they toss everything into the trash.

As a baker/cake decorator by trade this used to grab my soul and squeeze the utter life out of it, especially if it was something I’d made specifically for the holiday. I finally learned my lesson and now don’t go all-out when I make something, LOL.

My husband’s family is becoming the same way as the nieces/nephews grow older. Christmas Eve’s dessert spread largely went untouched. My SIL encouraged everyone to take something home or she’d dump everything.

I can’t help but thinking, “What a waste.” Plus all the $ spent on ingredients.

What about you? Does your family make a big deal about desserts/sweets? Or are they more on the savory side?

My family doesn’t don’t do a Christmas dinner, but this is definitely the case for our Thanksgiving.

Usually I whip up a couple sweet potato pies and my parents buy a pint of ice cream and some cool whip. That’s more than enough for a crowd of people who have stuffed themselves silly on turkey and sides.

This is also more or less the case when my boss throws the annual Christmas party at his house, though his desserts are so off-the-wall good that most people find a way to make a bit of room.

I made this Chocolate Whiskey Cake for Christmas dessert this year. We barely had any left. So no, people picking at dessert does not happen around here!

Growing up in my family, food was merely a polite excuse that you ate so that you could go on to tackle the REAL meal of desserts. I will never understand people who don’t take dessert seriously.

Desserts are important in my family dinners. It wouldn’t be passover without lemon angel pie. There are more required pies for Thanksgiving than we can serve at a time: apple, pumpkin, pecan, apple-cranberry. And we need ice-cream with those. Birthdays require the proper homemade cake. We have cookies at Christmas.

It’s the appetizers that tend to be afterthoughts in my family.

My family was the same way when I was a kid. My mother would’ve foregone the main dishes for the dessert if she had had her way :slight_smile:

I’m not a fan of desserts, but that lemon angel pie caught my attention. Care to share the recipe?


Ohhh opposite for me and mine.

Thanksgiving must have 4 desserts… and usually there’s one dish that should be a dessert (sweet potatoes with brown sugar and/or marshmallow top) but is not treated as such.

We just had our Christmas potluck and of 15 guest who brought something…14 brought desserts.
And I made two desserts myself–
Cranberry Pear pie with grahm cracker crust and a vegetarian jello (agar powder) fruitcocktail and 7up mold with a whipped cream wreath. Both from vintage cookbooks.

I have a real sweet tooth, and would rebel if there were no desserts at holiday dinners.

At Christmas, my wife usually makes some Mexican cookies, as well as an awesome ginger cake, made with stout. This Christmas, one of our guests also brought homemade blueberry pie. Sometimes I make apple pie, which is one of my specialties, but not this year.

if you don’t like desserts, you probably wouldn’t like it. It’s very sweet. It’s basically an upside-down lemon meringue pie, with whipped cream.

You start by making meringue paste, and spreading it in a pie shell. and baking that.

While it is baking, you use the egg yolks to make lemon curd. Making lemon curd is a lot of work, but I tried buying the best lemon curd I could find, and it just wasn’t the same. It didn’t taste as fresh. Chill the lemon curd well.

After the meringue and the curd are cool, whip some cream. The stuff with stabilizers works better than heavy cream, as you end up with a slightly lighter dessert, which is really better. Whip half the cream first, and then carefully fold the lemon curd into it. Do this thoroughly, to get a smooth lemon cream. But do it gently so it’s still got the consistency of whipped cream. Fill the pie shell with the lemon cream.

Then whip the rest of the cream with (optionally) a little sugar and vanilla. Spread it on top of the lemon cream. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

It’s best if it sits overnight after you make it. This gives the meringue next to the cream time to absorb some liquid and soften, so you can cut pieces without it turning into a mass of crumbs. But it’s still tasty if it’s fresh.

Let me know if you are interested despite it being both sweet and a ton of work, and I will look it up. :slight_smile:

It really does sound great. The desserts I like tend to be fruit based or lemon. If it’s not too much trouble, I’d the love the recipe. :slight_smile:

Oh, yum! We had a lemon souffle-type dish this year which, by looks alone, sounds a bit similar to this. I had a serving and it was heavenly. Unfortunately I seemed to be the only one who actually tasted it :frowning:

I used to go all out with desserts. In the past I’d make something “special”, meaning it’d be something I’d never make the rest of the year. This year I made lemon squares (with homemade lemon curd, puzzlegal, which actually isn’t difficult but is time-consuming) and congo squares, aka blondies. The blondies were more of a hit than the lemon, which kind of surprised me, given that a good portion of my extended family aren’t terribly fond of chocolate.

My wife put her foot down at one of our first Thanksgivings together when she realized that I was proposing more pies than there were people at the dinner. I don’t get what her problem was.

Lemon squares. No making of curd, too time-consuming. These things are the bomb.

We always have one of my mom’s tomato soup cakes. Now, now, now… no turning up of the noses. It’s basically a spice cake with SOME raisins, nuts and candied fruit in it. Don’t anyone DARE call it fruitcake.

Pizzelles, in four flavors: anise, chocolate, chocolate-filled and cinnamon.

A cheesecake of some sort.

Various cookies: spritz, Russian teacakes,gingerbread men et al., pecan pie bars, CC.

Someone always brings a pie or two, I’m partial to apple and cranberry/walnut.

…chocolate filled pizzelles???

Oh yes, my friend. Imagine that you are a sweet ice cream cone-making machine. You must have asbestos hands to make them.

Xmas dinner is all about the desserts. That’s why there have to be at least 3 (this is for 7 adults…). Trifle and Christmas pudding are staples, and this year we had bombe glacée as the third, in the past we’ve had various thirds, from pavlova to tiramisu to Götterspeise to Bavarois. But always the trifle and pud (with custard).

I made 2 pavlovas for the Boxing Day braai.

Sure. It’s one of my favorite desserts.

    4 egg whites
    pinch salt
    1/4 tsp cream of tartar
    1 cup sugar

    4 egg yolks
    1/2 cup sugar
    1/4 cup lemon juice (coincidentally, about the yield of juicing one lemon)
    rind of one lemon

    1 pint whipping cream
    sugar and vanilla to taste

preheat over to 275F

Beat eggwhites until foamy. Sprinkle in cream of tartar, then slowly add salt and sugar (while mixer continues to whisk). Beat until stiff.
Spread meringue in buttered 10" pie plate (a little larger than standard. 9" will work, too, but this is better) and bake at
    275F for 25 minutes  increase heat to
    300F and continue baking an additional 25 minutes.
Shell will puff up very high, but will fall when it cools.

Beat egg yolk in small pot. Stir in sugar, lemon rind, and juice.
Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened.
Let cool very well -- at least an hour in the fridge -- or the mixture will be soupy when the cream is added.

**Topping and construction**
Beat the cream until thick. Fold slightly more than half of it into the cool lemon curd. (First lighten the curd by folding in a little cream)
Spoon this filling into the pie shell.
Add sugar and vanilla to remainder of cream, and spread it in a layer over the filling.

Allow completed pie to rest, preferably over night.

I usually make 2 pies at a time, and beat the cream separately for the two parts. Eight egg whites is what fits easily into my mixer, and while it is a huge pain to scrape the peel off a lemon (and twice as much to do it twice) it’s easier to cook a larger batch of curd, since there is more volume to regulate the temperature.

Well, here is what is hard about it:

  1. using a hand grater to grind and collect the lemon zest (don’t get any blood into it!)
  2. standing there and stirring for longer than you expect
  3. recognizing when it has thickened just the right amount

I guess you could say most of that is just time consuming, but the last bit is a little tricky of you don’t know what to expect.

In CA, we’re much too health conscious to eat dessert. Maybe if someone made a kale pie, but otherwise, nooooooo!!!