Cranberry Whirl Ham Dinner

Cranberry Whirl Ham Dinner

A Recipe from Pillsbury’s 7th Grand National Cookbook (1956)

About the Recipe

At first glance, this is a very complicated recipe. But then, if you start getting into the 1950’s of it all, it’s not so bad. And let me tell you, I quarantine cooking / 1950’s post war’d the heck out of this thing! I used canned everything and it was freakin’ delicious. 10/10 will make again.

This recipe is like Christmas dinner in a casserole. To Mrs. Frank J. Neeley of New York, NY – you are a mad casserole genius. The biscuit came out perfectly flaky and tender, and with all of the juices and flavors bubbling up around it as it baked, they absorbed some of that flavor. Sheer perfection.

If you’re looking for a yummy, tender biscuit this might just be the one to try. It’s going in the “experiment with me” bank for sure.

For more recipes in the Pillsbury Challenge, click here!

About the book

This was the other Pillsbury book from the wonderful Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks in the East Village, Manhattan. There’s absolutely nothing that can replace a good, independent book seller and cookbook enthusiast. The more I speak to these fantastic humans, the more my passion for cooking out of the old books grows.

One note of interest on this one – Pillsbury starts going through a bit of an identity crisis with what to call the contest itself. This is the first year that they’ve shortened it to “Grand National.”

About the glassware

This 2.5 quart Pyrex Butterfly Gold casserole dish came to me from a friend as part of a set. The dishes belonged to their grandmother and you can feel all of the love that’s been baked into them over the years.

The Recipe!


1 No. 2 (20 oz.) can pineapple chunks or tidbits
3 c (2 lb.) cubed cooked ham
2 c sliced cooked sweet potato (canned or 4 medium potatoes)
1/3 c firmly packed brown sugar
1 1/2 T cornstarch
1/2 t salt
1/2 t cinnamon
1/8 t ground cloves
2 T butter

Cranberry Whirl Biscuits:
3/4 c fresh cranberries, ground or chopped fine
3 T sugar
1 T + 1 1/2 c flour, divided
3 t double-acting baking powder
1/2 t salt
1/3 c Crisco
1 beaten egg
1/3 c milk


Drain the pineapple, reserving juice. Measure 1 cup pineapple; add ham. Prepare the sweet potatoes if not canned. Alternate layers of the ham-pineapple mixture and sweet potato in greased 2-quart casserole, starting with the ham mixture.

Combine brown sugar, cornstarch, salt, cinnamon, and cloves in medium saucepan. Add 1 cup of the reserved pineapple juice and butter. Cook until thick, stirring constantly. Pour over mixture in casserole.

Bake in moderately hot oven (400*F) 15 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare Cranberry Whirl Biscuits.

Cranberry Whirl Biscuits:
Combine cranberries, sugar, and 1 T of the flour. Set aside.

Sift together remaining flour, baking powder, and salt. Cut in Crisco thoroughly until particles are fine. Add egg and milk. Stir until dough clings together in a ball. Knead lightly 10 strokes on floured pastry cloth or board.

Roll out to a 12″-square. Spread with the cranberry mixture. Roll as for jelly roll. Cut into 1 1/4″ slices; arrange cut side down on hot mixture in casserole. Bake 25-30 minutes at 400*F until biscuits are golden brown.

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