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Thanksgiving, with its loaded table and its cherished spot as the herald of the holiday season, is just around the corner. Grandparents all over the US, not to mention expat grandmas and grandpas in all corners of the world, are preparing to host family get togethers.

Favourite recipes for turkey and pumpkin pie take pride of place in every American cookbook, so Ask Granny thought now would be a good time to share a few.

A great time saving recipe for pumpkin pie, which uses mainly off the shelf ingredients, is this maple and walnut affair. You’ll need:


1 can of pumpkin;

1 can of sweetened condensed milk;

1 teaspoon maple syrup;

2 eggs;

1 ½ teaspoons ground mixed spice;

a pinch of salt.

For the crust and topping, use a Graham cracker pie crust; one third cup of brown sugar; one third cup of plain flour; half a teaspoon ground cinnamon; three tablespoons butter; and some chopped walnuts.


Preheat your oven to 425 F (around gas mark 7, or hot). Mix all the filling ingredients in a large bowl and pour into the readymade crust. Bake initially for 15 minutes; then reduce the oven temperature to 350 F (that’s Gas 4, or moderate) and continue baking for another 30 minutes.

In the meantime, make a crumble topping with the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and butter. Once the crumble mixture is light and puffy, add the nuts and stir.

Take the pie out of the oven, add the crumble and bake for a further 10 minutes. Leave to cool before storing in the fridge.

You’ve probably already got your family favourite turkey recipe. If you haven’t, here’s one that’s been in our house for three generations. It’s never been quantified before – we tend just to chuck in handfuls of ingredients – but if you follow this recipe you should get good results:

Take one 15lb bird and put to one side. Preheat your turkey oven to 350 F (gas mark 4, moderate).

Make a herb infusion for the turkey by mixing parsley; sage; rosemary; thyme; sea salt; and lemon pepper. The salt and pepper are added at roughly one tablespoon each while all the other herb ingredients are two tablespoons. I always use dried herbs rather than fresh as it gives more control over flavour. If you use fresh, you may over season the bird, or burn the leaves in the oven.

Rub the herb infusion into the bird’s cavity. Then prepare a stuffing using a couple of celery stalks (chopped into nice crescents); one wedged orange; one onion (chopped fine); and one chopped carrot.

After stuffing the bird, truss and put into a roasting pan, on top of roasting foil and with enough spare to wrap over the top. Pour one whole tin of chicken broth over the turkey – or you can use chicken stock, if you have any frozen – and finish by pouring three quarters of a bottle of champagne into the tray.

Make an envelope from the foil so the turkey is sealed without being touched. Roast for between two and a half and three hours (until the juices run clear); then remove the cover and bake for between half an hour and an hour longer, until the skin goes golden and crispy. Drink the rest of the champagne while you’re attending to the side dishes!

For more Thanksgiving recipe ideas:

The Food Network – for All American classics!

Busy Cooks – for easy traditional Thanksgiving meals.

Ask Granny – the online guide for grandparents.