Posted on by Dawn Casale


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It may be obvious but for every friend and family gathering, when I pose the question, “What can I bring?”, dessert is almost always the answer. Of course, I appreciate this consideration from my loved ones because it provides me with an easy escape should I choose to take it (which I almost always do). By that, I mean that I can simply grab a One Girl order form, jot down the dessert of my choice, and voila, my responsibility as gracious guest is fulfilled.

That being said, there is always a bit of guilt attached to that decision once I see the contributions of others. Appetizers and side dishes and salads that I know took the maker a good amount of precious time and effort. I humbly accept the compliments on my dessert and vow that next time I will refrain from taking the easy route and actually make the dessert myself. Considering that I actually LOVE to bake, this should not be difficult. You would think I would relish the opportunity to plunge my hands into some velvety dough or whip some sweet cream or slice a bowlful of juicy fruit. I figured that Thanksgiving would be the perfect debut for my homemade desserts.

Once I made that decision, I almost immediately felt a tinge of regret. Reason being that where Thanksgiving pie is concerned, I am somewhat of a purist. I feel like apple and pumpkin pies fare very well for themselves and need little, if any, adornment. That’s how we make them at One Girl Cookies and so why was I trying to mess with perfection? Perhaps I was just getting hung up on principal. But, since I made the commitment, I needed to follow through.  I began perusing my recipes looking for something classic, yet with an ever so slight twist…just so I could call it my own.  What I found fit the bill…and filled the belly.

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For the apple, I chose a fairly straightforward double crust but…here’s where it gets good. It was filled with four, yes FOUR, pounds of heirloom apples. It was unclear how I would even fit so many apples under that crust but we (we being Dave and I who, for a remarkable culinary feat, actually worked in the kitchen together…harmoniously) realized that the more we piled the apples on, the more the pastry dough embraced them. It was like a magic trick and the white rabbit was instead the loveliest mile high pie.

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In the case of the pumpkin pie, I decided on a pumpkin meringue.  I was a tad skeptical. Was the meringue element going to be totally gratuitous? Maybe, but the photo of the huge pouf of meringue perched atop the amber pumpkin filling seduced me. I went for it. And the answer was, hell no…not gratuitous in the least. Actually, I might say the meringue will be downright necessary for Thanksgivings to come. As will desserts that I actually make myself. Mainly, because I so enjoyed doing it.


Posted on by Dawn Casale | Posted in cobble hill

Dawn Casale

About Dawn Casale

Barneys New York was the place I called my second home for six years. It was the classroom in which I learned the importance of aesthetic, the power of creativity and the joy of indulgence. At a point in time which I cannot specifically put my finger on, I reflected on my career choices and decided to return to that which I really knew... food and humanity's love of it. I began to think about my childhood and how much of it had been happily spent in the kitchen. The memories of the aromas and flavors that came from my grandmother's kitchen were vivid and exhilarating. That is where I learned about the ritual and significance of food, the sense of happiness and comfort it brought, and the essential elements of quality and care that went into its preparation.

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