Pity poor Santa: Everywhere he stops during the wee hours of Christmas morning, he gets a plate of cookies and a glass of milk. This year, do him a favor and put out something different at your house, like a slice of satiny lemon tart and a cup of liqueur-laced hot chocolate from the Cattle Kings Grill in Houston (5430 Westheimer).

The tart’s mellow pine-nut crust makes a fine foil for the assertive citrus filing, and the steaming cup of chocolate is a splendid pick-me-up—just what the jolly old elf needs before cranking up the sleigh and reindeer again and heading out to deliver toys to the next 1,374,938 boys and girls on his list.

Pine-Nut Crust

10 ounces pine nuts
3 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 pound butter (at room temperature)
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Butter and flour two 10-inch tart pans with removable bottoms. Refrigerate.

Mix pine nuts and flour in food processor bowl fitted with a metal blade until nuts are finely ground. Transfer to another bowl and mix in sugar. Add butter, egg, and vanilla. Refrigerate 10 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Press dough into pans, building edge up 1/2 inch above sides of pan. Bake 6 to 7 minutes, rotate pans, and bake 5 more minutes until golden brown (dough will set up even though it may look soft or cracked). Let cool to room temperature.

Lemon Filling

6 whole eggs
5 egg yolks
2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice (approximately 8 lemons)
1/2 pound plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Powdered sugar and fresh berries for garnish

In large mixing bowl beat together eggs, yolks, and sugar, then cook in double boiler, whisking mixture until it starts to thicken. Add lemon juice a third at a time, whisking in each portion thoroughly. Cook until thickened, then beat in butter in small chunks until incorporated. Pour into shell. Cool to room temperature and refrigerate overnight. To serve, dust with powdered sugar and garnish with berries.

Hot Chocolate

1 ounce grated bitter chocolate
4 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups strong coffee
1/2 cup whipping cream
Godiva chocolate liqueur

Place chocolate, 3 tablespoons sugar, and 1/2 cup milk in double boiler. Melt over low heat, stirring frequently.

Add remaining milk and continue cooking for about 10 minutes. Beat with rotary mixer until frothy, slowly adding coffee. Set aside.

Mix cream with 1 tablespoon sugar and whip until stiff. Pour chocolate into cups or mugs, top with whipped cream, and drizzle liqueur over top.