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upside down apple pie

Maura Friedman

Upside-Down Apple Pecan Pie from reader Joann Conway


You've got to try these winning holiday recipes for apple pie, green bean casserole and more

Thanks to all of our generous readers, our first-ever recipe contest was a resounding success. Out of close to 50 entries, we chose three tasty dishes to include in this year's Thanksgiving menu. Read on to learn more about our winners and to see the recipes.

Upside-Down Apple Pecan Pie by Joann Conway
The pie recipe may sound (and look) intimidating, but all you need to create this spectacular pie is confidence in your butter usage and a good recipe for sturdy, double-crust pie dough. (We recommend this one.) Be sure to flip out the pie and serve it while it's still warm so that the caramel sauce has plenty of opportunity to drizzle and drip all over your plate. Southern Kitchen reader Joann Conway serves the pie every year for Thanksgiving, in addition to many other times a year.

Conway said she was first inspired to make the pie while traveling and picking up a free booklet containing a similar recipe. The original recipe, by Elizabeth Deer, was a winner of the North Carolina Consumer Apple Recipe contest in 2004. Conway, however, has upped the molasses flavor by using all brown sugar and increased the ooey gooey sauce by adding more butter to the base. Home-mixed apple pie spice also helped to build flavor and a lighter touch with the pecans makes for a more elegant presentation.
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Mom's Homemade Green Bean Casserole by Michele Barret
Green bean casserole is a must-have Thanksgiving side dish for many of us at Southern Kitchen, so when we received this totally-from-scratch version from Southern Kitchen reader Michele Barret, we knew we'd have to try it.

Made with a classic combination of mushrooms, green beans and a hefty shake of celery salt, Barret's casserole evokes those made entirely with canned products, but in the best way possible. There's no sluggish muddiness from canned beans or slimy slivers of mushrooms; instead, each bite is complex, creamy and actually tastes like vegetables. The secret is in the sauce, which is made with butter, shallots, garlic and equal parts chicken broth and half and half, all thickened up with flour. It's rich, for sure, but you'll still have room for pie once you've had a serving or two.
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Homemade Mulled Apple Cider by Mounir Echariti
When we asked you, our readers, for your best holiday drinks recipes, we had no idea what kinds of recipes we would get. Many were turkey-themed, filled with lots of sweet, belly warming liqueurs. However, once we read Echariti's recipe for a booze-free apple cider that started with (surprise!) fresh apples, we knew we had our winner.

To make the cider, Echariti boils chopped apples with water and an abundant — and unique — blend of spices. Allspice, candied ginger, cardamom and star anise all make an appearance in the drink, in addition to mulled cider classics like cinnamon and cloves. Once the apples have almost fallen apart, you'll just need to strain the whole mixture and simmer it a bit more with a touch of sugar, if desired. A touch of whiskey tastes great if you're looking for an adult beverage, but this drink is awesome as is.
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Photo Credits (Casserole and Mulled Cider): Ramona King

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Kate Williams is the former editor-in-chief of Southern Kitchen. She was also the on-air personality on our podcast, Sunday Supper. She's worked in food since 2009, including a two-year stint at America’s Test Kitchen. Kate has been a personal chef, recipe developer, the food editor at a hyperlocal news site in Berkeley and a freelance writer for publications such as Serious Eats, Anova Culinary, The Cook’s Cook and Berkeleyside. Kate is also an avid rock climber and occasionally dabbles in long-distance running. She makes a mean peach pie and likes her bourbon neat.