Holiday Recipes: Making cranberry relish, pumpkin and apple pie unique

Heirloom recipe ideas make these traditional foods unique.
Photo: Cranberries / Wikipedia

Most folks have their  own traditional holiday recipes yet still want to make their table unique and distinctive to Aunt Martha’s/

This pumpkin pie recipe is at least a couple of generations old and the origins of which are unknown. But unlike most recipes that include plain white sugar this one is brown sugar based. It gives the autumn spices a bit of a lift without being too sweet and the taste is sublime.

Next, Autumn Apple Pie is another vintage recipe whose genesis is unknown. The difference here is also brown sugar, but it is in addition to white sugar. This mix tempers the sweetness nicely with just a hint of tartness and includes the unexpected delight of crunchy toasted walnuts.

Finally, this Cranberry Relish recipe is also an heirloom. There are many concoctions for this staple but people who don’t ordinarily like cranberries will like this. It has just the right amount of tartness from fresh cranberries balanced with the sweetness of citrus and raspberry gelatin.

This dish is a perfect accompaniment to poultry and ham. 

Tips: Learn how to make a home-made pie shell here. In a hurry? Use fresh or frozen pie crusts; simply follow manufacturer’s directions.  Place foil on rack beneath pie rack to catch drips.  Learn to roast walnuts and pecans here

Pumpkin Pie


1 ¾ cup pumpkin (15 oz. can)

½ teaspoon salt

1 ¾ cup milk

2 eggs

2/3 cup light brown sugar

2 tablespoons white sugar

1 ¼ teaspoons cinnamon

½ teaspoon ginger

½ teaspoon nutmeg

¼ teaspoon ground cloves


Beat all ingredients together. Pour in prepared unbaked 9 ½ inch pie shell. Bake @ 425 ̊F. Cover loosely with foil if crust begins to brown too much before the pumpkin is cooked. Pie is ready when toothpick inserted comes out clean (center will still move a bit when shaken gently.) Cool completely; cover with plastic wrap and store in refrigerator.

Autumn Apple Pie


2lbs. apples, peeled, cored and cut into bite-sized pieces (Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, Jonathan, Braeburn, Fuji, Gala, Pink Lady or Honeycrisp) Use by themselves or mix and match

1 tablespoon lemon juice – sprinkle on apples

2 tablespoons flour

½ cup brown sugar

½ cup white sugar

Dash of salt

½ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

½ cup roasted and chopped walnuts (optional)

2 tablespoons butter 


Pre-heat oven to 400 ̊F; prepare crust for two crust pie. Peel, slice and core apples, sprinkle with lemon juice, tossing to coat each surface. Add other ingredients folding from bottom to top of bowl coating apples completely. 

Spoon/pour into prepared empty pie shell. Cut two tablespoons butter into small pieces and place them evenly over top of pie. Cover with top crust, fold edges under and crimp. Poke holes in crust to allow steam to escape. Brush with a bit of water or milk, sprinkle with coarse sugar.


Bake for 50 minutes covering loosely with foil when crust is brown enough, and continue baking until fruit is bubbling. Serve warm or room temperature. Cover unused portion with plastic wrap or foil. 

Cranberry Relish


1 (3oz.) package raspberry gelatin

1 cup small marshmallows (10 large)

½ cup white sugar

1 cup boiling water

1 package (12oz.) frozen cranberries – About 2 cups fresh

1 – 8oz. can crushed pineapple

1 cup orange juice

1 cup toasted pecans


Chop cranberries in food processor or slap chopper. Dissolve gelatin and sugar in boiling water stirring for two minutes. Add to gelatin: cranberries, crushed pineapple (including juice,) orange juice, pecans and marshmallows, folding gently to incorporate ingredients. Refrigerate overnight in a bowl or gelatin mold. Tip: spray mold with non-stick spray before filling with gelatin mix. Cranberry mold will release easily to serving dish. Store in refrigerator.



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Claire Hickey

Claire has held a Texas Cosmetology License, Certification in Surgical Technology and has decorated cakes professionally. She believes that life is a banquet to be experienced and wants to learn and do as much as possible while she’s here. This Stay @ Home Mom has always loved to write and thanks to the Communities @ The Washington Times has got her chance. Her curiosity and writing lead her to create her column based on “garbage in garbage out” theory to provide interesting and thought provoking pieces that enrich her readers. A proud member and Treasurer for the Greater Fort Worth Writer’s Group she is currently working on her first novel.  


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