today’s book: Fruit Baskets and Holiday Caskets
Welcome to another post in my annual blog series spotlighting new and recently-released Christmas reads! (Over 50 this year – And I’m SO EXCITED about it!)
Christmas is only 21 days away (YAY!!!) and I think we all could benefit from some extra Christmas cheer this year, right? Continuing through just before Christmas, I’m going to spotlight several new/recent Christmasy releases. So… snuggle in, grab your fave hot beverage and comfiest blanket, turn on some Christmas tunes and start your bookish Christmas list! Oh… and did I mention there are GIVEAWAYS with EACH POST in this series??!! (Because authors are awesome!)
Today’s first book is the latest book in one of my fave cozy mystery series – plus author Gayle Leeson shares a yummy recipe from the Down South Cafe!
FRUIT BASKETS AND HOLIDAY CASKETS
SERIES: Down South Cafe Mystery #5
GENRE: Cozy Mystery
PUBLISHER: Grace Abraham Publishing
RELEASE DATE: September 18, 2020
Christmas comes with chaos—and a murder—in the fifth book in the Down South Café cozy mystery series!
Amy Flowers thinks her biggest problem is going to be creating an enormous cake dummy to mount atop her car for Winter Garden’s upcoming Christmas parade. But when one of Roger’s employees is murdered, making the float is the least of Amy’s worries. Her childhood friend is a prime suspect, Aunt Bess is making a new Pinterest board: Things That’ll Probably Kill Me, and her boyfriend’s mother is insisting on helping Amy make three-hundred-seventy-five sugar cookies to hand out along the parade route.
When Amy starts trying to clear Roger of the murder, she unexpectedly finds herself involved in international intrigue. How will our favorite café owner outwit sophisticated criminals who want to deck the halls with her head?
for the love of oatmeal pie
by Gayle Leeson, author of Fruit Baskets and Holiday Caskets
As I’m writing this, the holiday season is already in full swing. It seems to have moved in earlier this year than usual because everyone needs some happy in their lives right now.
“You know what would be good?” my husband asked me.
Of course, a million things went through my mind because so many things are good this time of year: pumpkin roll, coconut cake, peanut butter candy, truffles, Grandmother’s dressing, homemade rolls… [Better stop before I drool on the keyboard!]
“What?” I asked.
“One of those oatmeal pies.”
When I wrote the first book in the Down South Café series—The Calamity Café—I asked readers to submit recipes. I’ll admit it, dear readers, I’m not much on creating recipes from scratch. The ones I’ve shared in this series either come from readers or from bloggers (with permission) or from my family recipe box.
I asked readers to send in recipes they loved, but I did ask if anyone had a recipe for oatmeal pie. When I was a little girl, I went into my friend’s house and smelled something delicious baking. I asked what it was, and her mom told me it was oatmeal pie. It had to bake for a while, and I didn’t get to taste the pie. I never forgot that wonderful aroma, though, and I thought oatmeal pie sounded like an authentically Southern dish.
Prior to including any of the recipes in the book, I made them. I couldn’t let my readers have a recipe fail because of a typo or my failure to include an important step. That’s how I came to make the oatmeal pie submitted by Suzie Welker. It was every bit as tasty as I’d hoped. Below is the recipe so you can try it yourself:
Granny’s Oatmeal Pie
(Recipe contributed by Suzie Welker)
1 pie crust (Directions for pie crust below.)
4 large brown eggs
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (You can take cinnamon sticks and grind them yourself for a better-tasting pie.)
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup light corn syrup (Do not use dark.)
¼ cup softened butter (I use only butter, never margarine. Soften by leaving out of fridge about an hour; do not put into mixture hot/boiling, as this will cook the eggs, creating a bad-tasting pie.)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup quick-cooking oatmeal, uncooked
Preheat oven to 350°F for metal pan or 325°F for glass.
Beat eggs until frothy. Sift sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt in a small bowl. The sifting mixes the dry ingredients together for a better blend. Add eggs to the dry mixture. Stir well. Mix corn syrup, butter, and vanilla in a separate bowl. Add to the first mixture. Slowly mix in oatmeal. Stir 2-3 minutes to ensure even distribution of oatmeal.
Pour into pie crust and bake for 45 minutes.
(Optional diced apples, raisins, or cranberries can be added for additional flavor. If adding apples, use 1 cup, diced very small; 1½ cups if using cranberries or raisins. I prefer the golden raisins but any can be used.)
1¼ cups all-purpose flour (Do not use self-rising.)
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup butter cut into small squares (cold, not warm/softened)
¼ cup cold water
Mix flour and salt, then sift. Using a pastry cutter (a pastry cutter is best, but you can use your hands), cut in the butter until the dough resembles coarse crumbles. Slowly add ¼ cup water, 1 tablespoon at a time.
Roll into a ball and chill in freezer for 1 hour. After 1 hour, take out and roll out using a heavy rolling pin. Place in metal or glass pie dish, then crimp edges with fingers or mash down with small fork.
FYI, this author didn’t add any of the optional ingredients and used a store-bought pie crust, and it was still delicious. I did find that the pie was even better the second day after all the ingredients had time to meld together.
Tell me your favorite holiday dish in the comments below to be entered into the giveaway!
Gayle Leeson is a pseudonym for Gayle Trent. Gayle has also written as Amanda Lee. She is currently writing the Kinsey Falls chick-lit/women’s fiction series, the Down South Cafe cozy mystery series, and the Ghostly Fashionista cozy mystery series. Her book KILLER WEDDING CAKE won the Bronze Medal in the 20th Anniversary IPPY Awards. Gayle lives in Southwest Virginia with her family and enjoys hearing from readers.
Gayle Leeson is offering a print copy of Fruit Baskets and Holiday Caskets to one of my readers! (US only for print. Ebook if international winner. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.) This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.
What about you? What makes you want to read Fruit Baskets and Holiday Caskets by Gayle Leeson? What’s your favorite holiday dish?