Readers share their favorite family recipes for the holidays

on preserving family recipes inspired us to ask for your favorite family recipes. Read our two favorites below, and read more about preserving your family recipes here.

Emma Lee's Pecan Chiffon Pie from Waycross

Lynn Ford sent us this recipe and said: "I grew up in South Georgia, the Pecan Belt, and although I have lived in Atlanta 35 years, Waycross had the best cooks and teachers of all. My dad was sick, and so my mother’s friends had me over in the afternoon after school while she ran my parents' store – I watched them cook. They all shared their special recipes and techniques. Emma Lee’s Pecan Chiffon Pie is one of the best recipes I have  and I am delighted to submit. I hope that many people enjoy this light treat for years to come.

Emma Lee worked at the Elks Club in Waycross – all by herself she waited tables, cooked the food, served it, and became so famous for her pie recipe the Holiday Inn hired her away.. she just baked pies for over 25 years.

She had the sweetest eyes you ever saw. My mother ran into her in the grocery store and she dictated the recipe to my mother, who wrote the recipe on an envelope. I still have my mother’s letter with the recipe enclosed

In my recipe box. This has become our family favorite.

1 9-inch pie shell, baked

1 cup pecans, toasted, salted and chopped **do not skip this step

½ cup sugar

4 egg yolks

¼ tsp salt

1 cup milk, heated

1 envelope Knox gelatin, softened in ½ cup cold water

1 tsp almond extract

4 egg whites – beaten until stiff, adding the sugar below

½ cup sugar

Mix 4 egg yolks with sugar in a heavy saucepan, add salt and hot milk, stirring fast (put a dab of yolks in hot milk, then add the rest so you don’t have scrambled eggs)..  Cook over medium heat until thick @ 10 minutes). Stir in gelatin and vanilla. Cool about 35 minutes until cold, then fold into stiff egg whites. Fold in toasted, salted pecans. Pour into baked shell.  Chill until set (@ 4 hours) Then top with whipped cream topping and chill again.


2 cups heavy whipping cream

1 teaspoon almond flavoring

2 tablespoons 10X sugar

pinch salt

dab of lemon juice **great trick to keep stiff (1/4 tsp)

Cover cool pie with whipped cream…garnish with a few ground pecans… Chill again….


My Mom's Kolachki

Suzy Neal, who owns Unicoi Preserves with her husband, shares this recipe: Hello, I wanted to share my Mom's recipe for Kolachki, a traditional eastern European cookie filled with jam.

Both my Mom (Diane Lescosky) and my Grammy (Anna Grickis) made these cookies every Christmas season, and this is the first year I have mustered up the strength to make them since losing my Mom 4 years ago.  As I was rolling the dough out, I could her my Mom's voice telling me to roll it thinner or the cookies wouldn't seal. I was a little weepy when I opened up the oven and saw a few that had come apart.  I did what my Mom would have done, though, and just dusted them with a little extra powdered sugar. No one was the wiser.


  • 1/2 cup Butter, softened
  • 3 oz. Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1 1/4 cup All purpose flour
  • 1 pinch salt
  • Powdered sugar, for rolling cookies
  • Unicoi Preserves Strawberry Vanilla Spread
  • Unicoi Preserves Salted Caramel Peach Spread


  1. Beat butter and cream cheese with a mixer until light and fluffy. Add a pinch of salt.

  2. Add the flour gradually, beating well after each addition. After you've incorporated all the flour, roll into a ball, wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate to chill, an hour or longer.

  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Take dough out of the refrigerator and let it soften about 15 minutes so its easier to roll. The dough should be cool to touch. For ease of rolling, sprinkle your surface with powdered sugar (not flour) and roll dough out to about 1/8 inch thickness. Cut cookies using a 2 1/2 inch or 3 inch round cookie cutter. Alternately, cut into squares of that same dimension.

  4. Spoon 1/4 teaspoon of Unicoi Preserves into the center of each cookie. Fold opposite sides together, with a slight overlap. Press lightly to seal.
  5. Place cookies on a Silpat or parchment lined baking sheet.
  6. Bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes. They will not brown on top, only set.
  7. Remove and place on wire cooling rack. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.
  8. Note: If some of the cookies open up and weep a bit, don't worry, just sprinkle those with a bit more powdered sugar. They'll still be delicious.

Want more baking inspiration?

Learn to make eggnog bars and other perfect holiday desserts

The holidays are a great time to preserve family recipes

Create the perfect holiday feast with recipes from local restaurants

Recipe: No-bake oatmeal cookies

Keeping Christmas memories alive in the kitchen

Read The A List: The faces, places, dishes and drinks defining the Atlanta dining scene right now

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About the Author

Yvonne Zusel
Yvonne Zusel
Yvonne Zusel is a digital audience specialist for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and