Sunday, December 12, 2021

Jane Austen’s Christmas Pie from Jane Austen’s Lost Letters by Jane K. Cleland


LUCY BURDETTE: Today we welcome Jane Cleland to the kitchen, with her rendition of Jane Austen's Christmas Pie, imagined in her new book, Jane Austen's Lost Letters. She will be offering a signed copy of Jane Austen’s Lost Letters (U.S. only) to one person who leaves a comment, so make sure to read all the way to the end of the post!

JANE CLELAND: Jane Austen’s Christmas Pie contains some of my favorite foods—tomatoes, basil, spinach, and bread. Especially tomatoes. Yum! Add in a light dressing, bake, and watch the Christmas colors glow in this delicious and economical dish! 


In researching Jane Austen’s life for my latest Josie Prescott Antiques Mystery,  Jane Austen’s Lost Letters, I discovered that Jane Austen didn’t come from an affluent family. In her many letters to her beloved sister, Cassandra, Jane often recounted the details of her daily life, including what she ate, most of which were quite simple dishes. My rendition of Jane Austen’s Christmas Pie follows this tradition, using only vegetables and day-old bread. The seasonings are humble, too, yet the flavors are as festive as the colors—happy holidays to you all!  


From Jane Austen’s Lost Letters 

Josie says:

“I read the 1811 letter.

“The tone was chatty and witty, filled with amusing descriptions of the minutia of home life, written while Cassandra, Jane Austen’s sister, was off visiting relatives. Jane mentioned the cabbage pudding and vegetable pie she’d eaten for lunch.” 

Jane Austen’s Christmas Pie



The Ingredients:

6 cups or more, fresh spinach

2 slices old bread

2 ripe plum tomatoes, sliced

½ c. or more of chopped fresh basil

1 tab olive oil, more to drizzle

Balsamic vinegar to drizzle

Salt and pepper to taste


The Recipe:


1. Preheat over to 350.

2. Pour 1 tab olive oil into a pie pan and brush to cover the bottom and sides.

3. Tear the bread into pieces to cover the bottom of the pan.



4. Arrange two layers of spinach and tomatoes. Sprinkle each layer with chopped basil, add salt and pepper to taste, and drizzle olive oil and balsamic vinegar. 




5. Bake for 45 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes before cutting.






Jane K. Cleland writes both fiction and nonfiction, including the long-running and multiple award-winning  Josie Prescott Antiques Mysteries [St. Martin’s & Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine] and the Agatha Award-winning bestsellers Mastering Suspense, Structure & Plot and Mastering Plot Twists [Writer’s Digest Books]. Jane is a contributing editor for Writer’s Digest Magazine, and the chair of the Wolfe Pack’s Black Orchid Novella Award (BONA), in partnership with AHMM. She is a frequent workshop leader and guest author at writing conferences and MFA Residencies. Jane offers FREE monthly workshops on the craft of writing. Details can be found at www.janecleland.com. An excerpt of Jane Austen’s Lost Letters is available here. Please follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.


It is my pleasure to offer a signed copy of Jane Austen’s Lost Letters (U.S. only) to one person who offers a comment based on this question: What’s your favorite holiday side dish? I look forward to reading your stories!


59 comments:

  1. Think Jane Austen’s Christmas Pie would be an interesting side dish and mighty tasty if made with fresh garden tomatoes. My favorite side dish is one my Mom made for years. While other ate the standard green bean casserole, this one jazzes it up to oh my goodness deliciousness.

    Green Bean & Shoepeg Corn Casserole
    Serves 8
    Ingredients
    1 can French style green beans, drained
    1 can white shoepeg corn, drained
    1 can celery soup, undiluted
    1 ½ cups grated Mild Cheddar
    ½ cup sour cream
    ½ cup chopped onion
    1 can water chestnuts, finely chopped
    1 roll or tube of Ritz crackers
    1 stick of butter, melted
    Spray casserole dish with non-stick spray.
    Place drained green beans in casserole dish.
    Top with drained shoepeg corn.
    In bowl mix celery soup, cheddar cheese, sour cream, onions and water chestnuts until combined. Spoon on top of veggies in casserole dish.
    Crumble crackers in bowl and drizzle with melted butter. Stir to coat crackers. Sprinkle over top of cheese mixture in casserole dish.
    Bake in a 350 degree oven uncovered for 40 minutes.
    NOTES: This goes great for a potluck dish. It’s great hot, warm, or room temperature. It never seems to make it to the refrigerator as leftovers but I’m sure it would reheat nicely too.

    Thank you for the wonderful chance to win a signed copy of "Jane Austen’s Lost Letters". Shared and hoping to be the fortunate one selected.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

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  2. Our family favorite comes from my grandma. Green beans with bacon and eggs. It's a holiday requirement and great for non-holidays as well, plus it's so easy.
    kozo8989(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  3. I'm boring. I love baked sweet potatoes with a little butter and brown sugar! So yummy!!

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  4. My favorite side dish is roasted brussels sprouts. Salt, light vinaigrette and tasty. Jane Austen's Lost Letters would be a wonderful treasure to enjoy. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

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  5. I am a sweet potato fan with marshmallows of course! I am really anxious to read this book!

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  6. my favorite side dish is a plate of Christmas cookies!

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    Replies
    1. I love thin crispy sugar cookies! And chocolate chips!

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  7. I love smoked gouda mashed potatoes. It's a recipe of Emeril Lagasse's that I found many years ago. My husband insists I make it at least once every holiday season! Thank you for the giveaway! aut1063(at)gmail(dot)com.

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  8. A side dish which is enjoyed by all and is delectable and easy is orzo pasta salad with diced veggies. Yummy and colorful. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  9. This sounds pretty and simple.
    I'd love to see a picture of how you sliced it. It looks...challenging.
    libbydodd at comcast dot net

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    Replies
    1. Libby, that's why I didn't show that picture! Slice it like a pie; serve it with a big spoon!

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  10. My favorite holiday side dish is Brussels Sprouts roasted and with a balsamic glaze. Looking forward to reading your new release. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
    diannekc8(at)gmail(dot)com

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  11. My favorite holiday side dish is cornbread dressing. My mom made the best! I am looking forward to the new book…I love the Josie Prescott series. cking78503(at)aol(dot)com

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Chris! I like cornbread in all its forms!

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  12. Welcome back to the Kitchen, Jane, and congratulations on the new book! We are somewhat nontraditional about holiday meals, but I do love a good roasted squash or roasted green vegetable, and Mr. Right's mashed potatoes, regardless of the main course!

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    Replies
    1. Leslie, so good to say hello! "Mr. Right's mashed potatoes." There's a story there!

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  13. Noodle Kugel - noodles, butter, sour cream, cream cheese, cinnamon on top with a sprinkle of sliced almonds. My favorite, one long enjoyed by my family, and now demanded by spouses family. Happy Holidays!

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    1. Oh. my, Robin, that sounds fabulous! Can you share the recipe?

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  14. Welcome today. Thank you for sharing this recipe. What a wonderful cover. I had to look up what the books was about. Oh but this is surely not going to disappoint.

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  15. Broccoli cheddar rice casserole!! Absolutely yummy!!! Thanks for the chance! Merry Christmas!
    Blessedfllady62(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    Replies
    1. Lisa, thank you!All these different side dishes... so interesting!

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  16. I am definitely a fan of the dressing! I'm not so sure about Jane Austen's cabbage pudding.

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    Replies
    1. Funny! I agree about the cabbage pudding, but the spinach tomato pie is great!

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  17. I'm a pasta girl so noodles are always on the holiday menu....they go great over the mashed potatoes.

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  18. My Mother always made a colorful Jello Ribbon Salad. It was my brother-in-law's favorite!

    Shirley

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    Replies
    1. Shirley, I haven't thought about Jello in years. What a great reminder!

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  19. Welcome! Congratulations on your new book! My favorite side dish is green bean casserole with a crispy onion topping. Love the book cover! Thanks for the chance!

    jarjm1980(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  20. My favorite side dish is a sweet potato casserole - made with mashed sweet potatoes, brown sugar, eggs, butter, spiced rum, and pecans. I found it in the news paper the first year I was hosting Thanksgiving and it was a hit.

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    1. Spiced rum us interesting, Batty. I bet that really enhances the warm flavors.

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    2. It does. And since it's baked after adding the rum, the alcohol cooks out of it, so it's safe for everyone.

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  21. My favorite holiday side dish is my grandmother's cornbread dressing. When I was a newlywed, I put her recipe in our church fundraising cookbook we were publishing to benefit the church. For Christmas gifts, I gave copies of the cookbook to our extended family. My aunt Sue still credits me with preserving the treasured cornbread dressing for our family to enjoy for years to come.

    Nancy
    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

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    1. Nancy, that's a lovely story, and a reminder to write things down if you want to preserve them.

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  22. We like roasted vegetables. Brussels sprouts, carrots, squash, cauliflower, etc.
    wskwared(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  23. If it's ham, I like Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes, and spinach with artichoke casserole. Also love stuffed acorn squash with maple syrup and pecans. Spiced peaches that m-i-l used to serve. Really not that picky, just no sweet potatoes for me! lola777_22 at hotmail dot com

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    Replies
    1. I'm a huge fan of scalloped potatoes. It's all about the cheese, which of course, goes perfectly with ham!

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  24. Mine's mashed potatoes. But if I had to go a little outside the box, it'd be homemade cranberry sauce. journeybound2010 (at) gmail dot com

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    Replies
    1. I love both, Jen, although I'm with ya on the mashed!

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