Menu: An Effortlessly Elegant Thanksgiving

Effortlessly Elegant Thanksgiving Menu
Effortlessly Elegant Thanksgiving MenuSaveur

An elegant, impressive-looking Thanksgiving table doesn't have to be an impossible undertaking. These dishes are all deceptive in their simplicity: Elaborate-looking pommes duchesses are surprisingly easy to pull off, and decadent sides like creamed onion gratin can be mostly prepped in the days leading up to Thanksgiving. On Thanksgiving day, cook the turkey, put the final touches on everything, and spend time with your guests while you nibble on appetizers and enjoy a glass of cool, citrusy punch.

Pecan Cheese Wafers
Pecan Cheese Wafers
Pecans lightly brushed with egg whites are baked into cheesy, buttery wafers with a touch of chile flakes.Ingalls Photography

The Menu

More About This Menu

  1. Most of the prep for this menu can be done in the days leading up to Thanksgiving: the ice cream, cranberry sauce, crudité dips, and pecan wafers can all be made 2–3 days beforehand. The punch, pie dough, and chicken liver pâté can be completed the day before the meal.
  2. The day before Thanksgiving, get a head start on some of the other dishes, as well: Toast the bread crumbs for the stuffing; blanch vegetables for the crudité platter, and prepare the pie through step 2. Brown the onions for the gratin, prepare the sauce, and refrigerate.
  3. The pommes duchesses look tricky, but it's all in the piping. Prepare the mixture a day ahead and place it in a piping bag in the fridge overnight; on Thanksgiving day, simply allow the mix to come to room temperature, pipe, and bake. For tips on getting perfect pommes, see Sophie Brickman's article Piped Dreams.
  4. Just before serving, remove the pie from the fridge, sprinkle with Demerara sugar, and melt the sugar with a blowtorch. For pie-specific tricks and techniques, see our guide to perfect holiday pies.
  5. For a step-by-step guide to preparing this menu, see our illustrated game plan »