Some of my fondest memories of the winter holidays revolve around my family...specifically my mother and her sister. Raised in the south, they brought their family traditions to Michigan with them during the automotive boom.
Those traditions included a huge family gathering on Christmas and tons of food. The typical menu looked a bit like this:
· Roast turkey (filled with herbs and fruit rather than stuffing and basted with Vernor’s ginger ale)
· Honey/brown sugar glazed ham (long before there were store-bought/spiral sliced)
· Whipped potatoes (not just mashed but processed with a hand mixer, butter and cream)
· Sweet potatoes (not that sticky casserole, but sautéed in butter on the stove top)
· Green beans (from their summer garden and preserved then cooked with salt pork)
· Creamed corn (made with corn from their summer garden that they’d frozen)
· Cornbread/sage stuffing (basted with broth from the drippings)
· Homemade dinner rolls and biscuits
· Fresh-cooked cranberry sauce (made with apples)
· Homemade egg nog
And, then there were the desserts:
· Coconut layer cake
· Sweet potato
· Pumpkin pie
· Lemon meringue pie
· Banana pudding
· Chess cake
~ ~ ~
Both of my boys grew up enjoying the fruits of their grandmother’s and great-aunt’s labor. And, although our immediate family only numbered eleven, somehow all that food disappeared.
~ ~ ~
Now I have grandchildren of my own and one of their favorite holiday treats is my sweet potato pie. I’d like to share that recipe with everyone as my holiday gift to you.
Grandma Kelley’s Sweet Potato Pie
· 1 lb sweet potato (1 large or 2 medium)
· ½ cup butter, softened
· 1 cup white sugar
· ½ cup milk (preferably whole)
· 2 eggs
· ½ t nutmeg
· ½ t cinnamon
· 1 t vanilla
· 1 pie crust (9”) unbaked (deep dish is best)
· Boil sweet potatoes in skin for 40-50 minutes or until done. Run cold water over the potato until able to handle and then remove skin.
· Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
· Break potato apart in large bowl, add butter and mix well with mixer.
· Stir in remaining ingredients and then beat on medium speed until mixture is smooth.
· Pour filling into unbaked pie crust.
· Bake for 55-60 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Pie will puff up like a soufflé and then will sink down when it cools.
· Serve with ice cream or whipped cream.
Note: if you have leftover filling, you can bake in a small oven-proof bowl and it makes a great treat as a pudding.
~ ~ ~
Speaking of sharing recipes ...
One of my favorite genres/eras is what's known as "vintage" (think 1950s and 60s). In my recent novella, Bewitched, my heroine's secret weapon just happens to be Choco-blast cookies. And, at the back of the book, I share the recipe with my readers. I've done the same again in my upcoming Valentine's Day novella, Paging Dr. Cupid, my heroine prepares the hero a family-recipe Monte Cristo Sandwich and, again, I've added the recipe to the end of the book. I think I've hooked my editor with this fun promotion style! And, she loves the treats as well.
~ ~ ~
This is it for me until the new year. I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a safe and joyous holiday season ... no matter which holiday you celebrate. May it bring peace and love to you and everyone you care about.