Dreaming of a white Christmas (pie)

Dreaming of a white Christmas (pie)

One of Jane Ann Queen’s earliest holiday memories is the snowy white pies at her grandparents’ house in Marion.

“My nanny, Annabelle Criswell Layton, made this pie not only to serve her family after Christmas dinner, but she made them for friends and extended family members as well,” says Queen, a South Central Power Company member from Ashville. “As a matter of fact, she and my granddad would make several dozen of these pies and deliver them to lucky friends or family members on Christmas Eve, dressed up as Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus.”

After her grandmother died several years ago, Queen picked up the torch and began making Nanny’s White Christmas Pie herself. “It keeps me connected to my grandparents and keeps those family ties going strong,” she says. “That means a great deal to me and to my family when we eat it.”

When she first started making the pie, though, it was just for the family dinner table. “At first I didn’t deliver any, but before long I started getting requests from friends and family and coworkers,” she says. “Last year, I made six of them. I don’t make nearly as many as my nanny and granddad did, and I haven’t dressed up as Mrs. Claus yet, but who knows?”

As grand-prize winner in Ohio Cooperative Living’s Holiday Favorites 2021 reader recipe contest, Queen received an Ohio-made KitchenAid stand mixer. Runners-up Marlene Franklin of Kelleys Island and Debbie Atchley of Cecil each received a copy of The Complete Holiday Cookbook

MARLENE FRANKLIN always wondered why cranberry sauce was ever-present on her family’s holiday dinner table when she was growing up. “No one ever ate it except for Uncle Pat,” says Franklin, who lives on Kelleys Island and is a member of Hancock-Wood Electric Cooperative.

Even so, Franklin says she was determined to keep it a part of the meal when she started hosting for the holidays — “It was tradition,” she says — and tried numerous variations over the ensuing years. 

Finally, she came across a recipe that she adapted into her Cranberry-Jalapeño Cream Cheese Dip, which has become a family favorite rather than an afterthought. “When I found this recipe about 10 years ago, I think I nailed it,” she says. “It is so tasty, and my family and guests cannot get enough of it. I am always asked for the recipe.”

DEBBIE ATCHLEY reckons there would be a family revolt if she were to ever skip baking her Oat Dinner Rolls for the holidays.

“It would cause an uproar, to say the least,” says Atchley, a member of Paulding Putnam Electric Cooperative who lives in Cecil. “They hold the honor of being the longest-running request from my family for our holiday gatherings.”

As an added bonus: Extra rolls make delicious slider buns for any leftover ham or turkey sandwiches. “They take a little extra effort, but they are oh so worth it,” she says.

Nanny's White Christmas Pie

12 Servings
Preparation time
20 minutes
Passive Time
2 hours
Total time
2 hours, 20 minutes
1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin
1⁄4 cup cold water
1⁄2 cup granulated sugar
1⁄4 cup all-purpose flour
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1 1⁄2 cups cold milk
3⁄4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1⁄4 teaspoon almond extract
8 ounces whipped topping
Additional Ingredients
3 egg whites
1⁄4 t cream of tartar
1⁄2 c granulated sugar
1 c shredded coconut (plus additional for sprinkling on top of pie)
2 9-inch pie shells (pre-baked and cooled)

In a small bowl, soften unflavored gelatin in cold water. In a saucepan over low heat, mix ½ cup granulated sugar, flour, and salt. Slowly stir in cold milk and cook over low heat just to boiling, then boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in softened gelatin mixture. Cool until partially set. While cooling, make meringue. In a mixer, beat together egg whites and cream of tartar, then slowly add 1/2 cup granulated sugar. Beat until stiff peaks form. Add vanilla extract and almond extract into the softened gelatin mixture and blend well until smooth. Gently fold in whipped topping. Gently fold in the meringue. Lastly, fold in 1 cup shredded coconut. Pile all equally into cooled baked pie shells. Sprinkle coconut on top to resemble snow. Chill until set, about 2 hours. Serve cold. Makes 2 regular 9-inch pies.


NOTE: This recipe includes raw egg whites. If you’re uncomfortable eating raw egg, instead of folding the meringue into the gelatin mixture, place the meringue on top, sprinkle with coconut, and bake at 350 F for 15 to 20 minutes until the meringue and coconut start to turn a light golden brown, then chill.

Per serving: 286 calories, 15 grams fat (7.5 grams saturated fat), 3 milligrams cholesterol, 263 milligrams sodium, 36 grams total carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber, 4 grams protein.

Member Cooperative

Cranberry-Jalapeño Cream Cheese Dip

12 Servings
Preparation time
15 minutes
15 ounces fresh cranberries
4 green onions (chopped)
1⁄4 cup fresh cilantro (chopped)
1 jalapeño pepper (seeded and finely diced)
1 cup sugar (more or less to taste)
1⁄2 teaspoon cumin
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from about 1 large lemon)
1⁄8 teaspoon salt
2 8oz packages cream cheese (light or regular, softened)
  Crackers (for serving)

Pulse the cranberries in a food processor or blender until coarsely chopped. Add the green onions, cilantro, jalapeño, sugar, cumin, lemon juice, and salt and pulse until the ingredients are well combined and finely chopped. Transfer the mixture to a covered bowl and refrigerate for 4 hours (or up to overnight). When ready to serve, spread the cream cheese in an even layer on a serving plate or 9-inch pie dish. Top with the cranberry-jalapeño mixture, spreading evenly over the top of the cream cheese. Refrigerate for up to an hour before serving. Serve with crackers or tortilla chips.


Per serving: 255 calories, 16 grams fat (10 grams saturated fat), 50 milligrams cholesterol, 167 milligrams sodium, 25 grams total carbohydrates, 1.5 grams fiber, 
3.5 grams protein.

Member Cooperative

Oat Dinner Rolls

24 Servings
Preparation time
40 minutes
Cooking time
25 minutes
Passive Time
1 hour, 30 minutes
Total time
2 hours, 35 minutes
2 1⁄3 cups water (divided)
1 cup quick oats
2⁄3 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons butter
1 1⁄2 teaspoons salt
2 quarter-ounce packages of yeast (not fast-acting)
5 cups flour (divided, up to 5 3/4 cups))

Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a saucepan. Add oats and cook uncovered for 1 minute. Stir in brown sugar, butter, salt, and the remaining 1/3 cup water. Transfer to large mixing bowl. When the temperature of the mixture reaches about 110–115 F, add the yeast and mix well. Add 3 cups of the flour and mix well. Add 2 to 2¾ more cups of flour and knead well till a smooth dough is achieved. Place in a greased bowl, cover with a clean towel, and place in a warm location to rest for 1 hour. 

Meanwhile, grease 2 baking sheets and preheat oven to 350 F. When the hour is up, punch the dough down, divide and shape into 24 round rolls, and place them on greased baking sheets. Cover with clean cloths, place in a warm location, and let rise for 30 minutes. Bake 20 to 25 minutes till golden brown. Cool on racks.


Per serving: 152 calories, 2 grams fat (1 gram saturated fat), 4 milligrams cholesterol, 160 milligrams sodium, 29 grams total carbohydrates, 1.5 grams fiber, 4 grams protein.

Member Cooperative