Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Classic Southern Holiday Desserts


wcmckinney
 Share

Recommended Posts

Is there such a thing as a quintessential holiday desert that is not a pie? I understand the importance of pecan pies, sweet potato pies, apple pies, and their cobbler varietels, but is there a dish that you or your family valued as being traditional to the South?

I read a Saveur magazine cover story recently about having a southern Christmas dinner but the dessert section of this southerners in Upstate New York dinner story didn't really dwell on the sweets as much as it did on the savories...

William McKinney aka "wcmckinney"
Link to comment
Share on other sites

This isn't much of an answer, but I definitely associate pecan pralines with the South. But they're a candy, and not a dessert. I'm sure there are all kinds of desserts that can be made with crumbled pralines, notably ice cream.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think of the wonderful candies that I associate with the south....don't know if they're really 'southern,' but so many of the ladies offered them with coffee for dessert when you visited over the holiday season. In addition to pralines, there was divinity and date loaf candy and fudge and penuche and peanut brittle and bourbon balls.

Oh, and fruitcake of course. Soaked in bourbon or rum.

Edited by Jaymes (log)

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Is there such a thing as a quintessential holiday desert that is not a pie? 

From Marion Brown's "The Southern Cook Book" (1951), some recipes for the following cakes, which purport to be Southern:

Lane Cake

Robert E. Lee Cake

Lady Baltimore Cake

Sally White Cake

Jennie Benedict's Rum Cake

Williamsburg Orange Wine Cake

Tennessee Jam Cake

Georgia Pecan Whiskey Cake

Kentucky Pecan Bourbon Cake

Tarboro Tipsy Cake

Southern Hot Milk Cake

Red Velvet Cake, of course ... :wink:

and my favorite: Hummingbird Cake ...

Not a pie among, them, Bill, nary a one ... :laugh:

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are usually so many goodies laying around for the holidays including: boubon balls, pralines, vanilla buttercreams, fudge, cookies, sugarplums, etc.

We usually have pecan pie and if there is something else it would be caramel cake.

You know, lots of little thin layers so that you can have as much caramel in there as possible.

I am thinking of trying this recipe this year.

Melissa- what is a Lane Cake?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In my family, it was mostly pies during the holidays, but coconut cake did make an appearance at my Mississippi grandmother's house every couple of years. Most of the other desserts I've seen listed here, while definitely Southern, were generally enjoyed at other times of the year.

Although we do have ambrosia at every holiday meal... does that count as dessert?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are usually so many goodies laying around for the holidays including: boubon balls, pralines, vanilla buttercreams, fudge, cookies, sugarplums, etc.

We usually have pecan pie and if there is something else it would be caramel cake.

You know, lots of little thin layers so that you can have as much caramel in there as possible.

I am thinking of trying this recipe this year.

Melissa- what is a Lane Cake?

Mmmm.. I love caramel cake; sounds like a nice one for the holidays...

Lane Cake is a 3 layer white cake. The filling for the layers is a custardy type mix (egg yolks, sugar and butter) further enriched w/chopped pecans, raisins, coconut, bourbon. The cake is iced with an Italian meringue.

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

we always had caramel cake at our holiday functions (thanksgiving, xmas, &c). My great-grandmother made it and then the task was taken over by my great-aunt and now the Fuss makes it when ever the family gets together. The mention of caramel cakes brings back some very fond memories.

My great-gr'mother and great-aunt always made a loaf cake. When the Fuss first made it she decided a layer cake would be great and could not get the layers to stay stacked so she had tooth picks, nut picks, dowels, chop sticks & just about any thing else she could find stuck in to keep the layers from sliding. When she asked Aunt Dell about the cake Aunt Dell's response was simple: "why do you think I make a loaf cake honey?" There was some times a problem getting the frosting to set if the humidity was just not right and Aunt Dell would always put a note at the end of the receipt that if it did not set to "add more sugar and just beat the devil out of it!"

It became a challenge to figure out how to steal the ends of the cake--with all of that wonderful, gooey, luscious caramel frosting--w/o being caught and all of the children & grand children would fight to get those end pieces. One holiday I was delayed and some one beat me to the ends so I just took a knife and--much to every one's chagrin--sliced off the side of the cake. I believe it was the next year that we got out of hand and at the end of the dinner there was a brick of perfectly wonderful almond pound cake w/ absolutely no caramel frosting any where to be found. Later I pulled an "end around" on the rest of the family and just told Aunt Dell I would come by her house & take her to family functions. The first thing I did when I got to her house was slice the ends off the cake and hide them in the car for later. When ever any one complained I would just tell them it was payment for taxi-ing Aunt Dell around.

The great thing about Fuss making the cake is that she makes extra frosting and we just take the cake along w/ a big bowl of extra frosting on the side. Of course that does not include the cake & frosting that never make it to the dinner. ":^)

So far I have not seen mention of the ubiquitous fruit cake! Fruit cake always gets such a bad rap but if made well it is wonderful. My great grand mother made a fruit cake but she used her own dried fruit--not that nasty stuff that comes pre-packaged w/ the little bits of multi-colored what ever--and pecans fr/ the back yard. After she made it--usually some time around the first of December--she would take the thing and soak it in home made brandy until we all gathered at her house on Christmas Eve. The brandy was made by my great grandfather who had passed back in the late 1950's & this was many years later so you can imagine that both the brandy and the cake packed quite a wallop. (The Rev used to accuse my mother of wringing the cake out on her plate, drinking the liquid and throwing the remaining cake away.) There were also assorted home made cookies & candies, ambrosia, & such in addition to the cakes and pies.

in loving memory of Mr. Squirt (1998-2004)--the best cat ever.

in loving memory of Mr. Squirt (1998-2004)--

the best cat ever.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

we always had caramel cake at our holiday functions (thanksgiving, xmas, &c). ..

I absolutely loved that post. Thanks.

:rolleyes:

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

we always had caramel cake at our holiday functions (thanksgiving, xmas, &c). ..

I absolutely loved that post. Thanks.

:rolleyes:

you are welcome. I enjoyed the memories.

in loving memory of Mr. Squirt (1998-2004)--the best cat ever.

in loving memory of Mr. Squirt (1998-2004)--

the best cat ever.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd make a case for coconut cake, red velvet cake, Williamsburg orange cake and that poundcake that involves dumping together a whole bunch of different flavor extracts. But I also think there's a point to be made that cake is merely something on the dessert plate to soak up the juice from your ambrosia.

Now, what you put in ambrosia -- that's a heated discussion waiting to happen. In my family: oranges, freshly grated coconut, chopped pecans, halved maraschino cherries, sugar and a little alcohol, usually a splash of sweet wine like sherry.

As Joan Crawford would say, No marshmallows, ever!

Kathleen Purvis, food editor, The Charlotte (NC) Observer

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Jam Cake is big in Kentucky and Tennessee...a spice cake in layers made with blackberry jam (usually) and caramel icing.

Coconut custard pie is wonderful, but only if made with freshly grated coconut. I imagine it would be the same for coconut cake.

Also popular is that runny poured custard that is used as a sauce for the cakes. You can buy it like eggnog in the groceries in Tennessee.

Ruth Dondanville aka "ruthcooks"

“Are you making a statement, or are you making dinner?” Mario Batali

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
  • 3 weeks later...

As an upstate NY boy, I have never fully grasped the big deal about holiday desserts in the south. I have lived in Alabama since 1984. My northern life included the usual pies for holidays (poet, no?)........mincemeat, apple, and pumpkin. My mother was quite reknowned for her apple pie, which she always made with macintosh apples and a crust that was soooooo tender. Lord, I miss those pies.

For the past 19 years of wedded bliss in north Alabama, my mother-in-law has always had a 3-layer caramel cake at every Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner. I like this cake very much. I never heard of it until I moved south. This is among about 7 or 8 different pies and cakes. My wife is always called upon to bring one of her famous red velvet cakes. I personally don't care for the red velvet - too sweet - but everyone else raves about it. There is always a pecan pie or two, a couple of cream pies, and of course a big container of "nanner puddin".

Dave

Dave

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Do Southern folks do something special with ice-cream?

Considering that you live in such a sultry climate (I'm talkin' about weather, people :raz: ) I imagine that chilled desserts would be popular. Or is this Oregon gal sadly mistaken?

Shelley: Would you like some pie?

Gordon: MASSIVE, MASSIVE QUANTITIES AND A GLASS OF WATER, SWEETHEART. MY SOCKS ARE ON FIRE.

Twin Peaks

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Do Southern folks do something special with ice-cream?

Considering that you live in such a sultry climate (I'm talkin' about weather, people  :raz: ) I imagine that chilled desserts would be popular. Or is this Oregon gal sadly mistaken?

It is sultry in the summer, but definitely not in the winter.....at least in north Alabama. 58 degrees when I woke up this morning. A cold front is moving through and it is now 43. Sunday we will be lucky to get above freezing. Summers are typically in the 80's to 90's, with high humidity. Enough for the weather report!

There are no special ice cream desserts around here, summer or otherwise. Most people just eat it straight. However, I am willing to bet that southerners are more apt to make homemade ice cream as opposed to people in other parts of the U.S. I think everyone I know has an ice cream bucket (both hand-cranked and electric).

Dave

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Every summer I was somehow enticed into making ice cream in the old hand-crank wooden bucket. My mother would act like it was the most important job to turn the crank, and we would vie for our turn, at which point, after about fifteen minutes of churning I would realize how laborious the job was and give up. However, after about half an hour of running around the backyard, we would have forgotten our sore little arms and were again struck by the novelty of the whole operation and lured into another session. This way, my mother kept a constant rotating supply of family labor, and there wasn't a fourth of July without soft creamy vanilla ice cream.

Now we have a machine.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't know if this is actually a southern desert, but it qualifies as a southern-style(tooth-hurting sweet), and I had never run across it until I visited my wife's family in Arkansas. It consists of "boiling a can" - cooking a can of Eagle Brand sweetened concensed milk under boiling water for about an hour- until it caramelizes. Remove from the can and slice. It then turns a little white-trash-cookbook- top with a slice of canned pineapple with a cherry in the center. Personally, I always liked mine covered with whipped cream. I guess I've always been fascinated by the part about boiling the can.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't know if this is actually a southern desert, but it qualifies as a southern-style(tooth-hurting sweet), and I had never run across it until I visited my wife's family in Arkansas. It consists of "boiling a can" - cooking a can of Eagle Brand sweetened concensed milk under boiling water for about an hour- until it caramelizes. Remove from the can and slice. It then turns a little white-trash-cookbook- top with a slice of canned pineapple with a cherry in the center. Personally, I always liked mine covered with whipped cream. I guess I've always been fascinated by the part about boiling the can.

Ah, yes, the boiled canned sweetened condensed milk is also called the "poor man's dulce de leche". It's quite popular in Mexico. Though, I thought it took longer than 1 hour to make.

Read more about it here:

"Making toffee (dulce de leche, caramel,...), From condensed milk"

and this discussion:

"Hot Milk with Dulce de Leche, Holy."

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are no special ice cream desserts around here, summer or otherwise.

Have you forgotten all of those 'ice box pies' that southern cooks 'carry' to various 'covered dish suppers'? Many of them are made with store-bought ice cream that one melts slightly just until softened, and then stirs something into it (like creme de cacao or creme de menthe or sliced bananas or chopped fruit or nuts or crushed pralines or instant coffee or chocolate or all of the above), and then pours it into one of our time-honored crusts....oreo or graham cracker or vanilla wafers or something...and then tops it with marachino cherries or cool whip or something equally disgusting (and you get extra points for garish colors or, best of all, a rainbow effect) then refreezes it? Huh? Have you forgotten all those?

Or maybe you live in a different 'south' than the "ice box pie" ladies.

Edited by Jaymes (log)

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It takes an hour to make runny dulce de leche sauce, I do it that way to pour over ice cream. I've never done the solid version myslef but sounds good

That is definately a southern as in south-of-the border thing. I wouldn't say it was a typical southern thing, but it is good

Ice box pie, of course! grasshopper pie anyone?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are no special ice cream desserts around here, summer or otherwise.

Have you forgotten all of those 'ice box pies' that southern cooks 'carry' to various 'covered dish suppers'? Many of them are made with store-bought ice cream that one melts slightly just until softened, and then stirs something into it (like creme de cacao or creme de menthe or sliced bananas or chopped fruit or nuts or crushed pralines or instant coffee or chocolate or all of the above), and then pours it into one of our time-honored crusts....oreo or graham cracker or vanilla wafers or something...and then tops it with marachino cherries or cool whip or something equally disgusting (and you get extra points for garish colors or, best of all, a rainbow effect) then refreezes it? Huh? Have you forgotten all those?

Or maybe you live in a different 'south' than the "ice box pie" ladies.

Ice Box Pie in our house wasn't an ice cream concoction. It was a specific pie: The lemon pie made with sweetened condensed milk in a graham cracker crust topped with Cool Whip.

On ice cream, we certainly made a lot of it. Our ice cream maker had a bum latch when I was a kid. As the youngest, my job was always to sit on the ice cream maker to hold it down while my older siblings turned it. Just thinking about it makes my butt sore.

However, the universal homemade ice cream was always peach. My husband won't let me make peach ice cream in the summer, because that's the only kind his parents would ever make.

Kathleen Purvis, food editor, The Charlotte (NC) Observer

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Similar Content

    • By cteavin
      I posted this on YouTube the other day and thought I'd post it here. Personally, when I make them for me I only use Erythritol (a sugar substitute) but depending on the friend sugar or a blend of the two. Unlike other zucchini brownies, these don't use egg white, so they're not cake-y, but dense and fudgy. 
       
      Oh, and because I use whey protein, they're higher in protein and good for post-workout bite. 
       
       
      Ingredients
      300 -400 grams zucchini 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 cup sugar or sugar substitute 1/2 cup cocoa 1-2 tablespoons flavoring (brandy, rum, vanilla, etc) 2 shots of espresso (or instant, 60ml/2oz) 2 egg yolks 1/2 cup flour 1/2 cup oatmeal 1 cup whey protein (or milk powder) 1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional, but adds nice flavor)   1. Mince the zucchini in the food processor with the salt.
      2. Add the sugar or sugar substitute and process until the sugar is dissolved.
      3. Bloom your cocoa: In a separate bowl, combine the cocoa with HOT espresso and your flavorings (including cinnamon). Stir until mostly dissolved.
      4. To the food processor add the cocoa mixture and two egg yolks and blend together.
      5. Add the whey protein or milk powder to the mixture and blend together.
      6. Add the oatmeal and blend.
      7. Add the flour and pulse to incorporate (in other words, try not to over mix).
      8. Pour into a brownie pan and bake for 20-30 minutes at 180C/350F
    • By artiesel
      Has anyone successfully made candied chestnuts (marrons glace) at home which even remotely resemble the professional ones you get from Europe?
       
      I've tried making them using RTE Chinese chestnuts from Costco with varying success:
      One batch became leathery after being simmered in (what started out as) simple syrup which had its sucrose concentration gradually increased.
       
      I have also tried soaking the chestnuts in hot water prior to beginning the candying process.  The nuts, once again, developed a tough skin after a few days.  To reverse the tough skins I added more water to the syrup, broke the nuts up into pieces and simmered them gently for a few hours.
      While some pieces have a tough skin, many of them have taken on a candied texture.
       
      Should any further attempts to candy chestnuts be attempted using the method of slowly simmering them in simple syrup?
       
      Please share any feedback ypu may have.  Thanks!
    • By ShylahSinger
      Hello! I'm fairly new to this site so I don't know if my search was weak. I'm trying to find a way to make Mandarin orange puree at home, but I couldn't find anything even similar in the forum. I am a home cook, but I have been making chocolate bonbons and other confections for over 4 years (intermitantly). It is too expensive for me to purchase this online- not because of the price of the puree, but the cost of shipping makes it prohibative. The recipes I've seen online are all differant and don't seem to be what I need. 
      I would love any help with this! I look forward to hearing and learning from those who have much, much more experience than me. Thanks!
    • By Darienne
      In hopes of sleeping better, etc, etc, I have currently given up gluten, dairy and now sugar.  The gluten and dairy pose no problems...the sugar does.  I am not happy using mannitol or erythritol or any of those artificial sweeteners...they give me severe digestive problems.   But I can tolerate stevia very nicely.  The only problem is that there doesn't seem to be much sweetened with this ingredient.
       
      I do have a carob/coconut oil/peanut butter/stevia candy of sorts.  I don't really like it all that much, but it does work.  That's about it.
       
      Has anyone any recipes for desserts using stevia?  Thanks.
    • By Janet Taylor
      Ever since Todd talked making cupcakes I have been cupcake crazy. Although, I am not a cake maker but more of a pie person.
      My first dessert that I love that I make is my Coconut Cream Pie w/heavy whipped cream. I don't use low fat anything and probably angioplasties is necessary after this baby.
      My second is Peach Cobbler w/rich vanilla ice cream. I never met a cobbler that I didn't like, but peach is my favorite.
      I don't make these often because I wouldn't be able to get through the front door if I did.
      How about yours?
      .....Janet
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...