Holiday Recipes from The Help: Cheesecake Pecan Pie, Sweet Potato Casserole and More

The Help: Southern Recipes
Jessica Chastain (Celia Foote) and Mike Vogel (Johnny Foote) know how to set a table.

I usually don’t get to post recipes on Reel Life With Jane, but the wonderful folks at Click Communications, the company that reps [amazon_link id=”B004A8ZWVU” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]The Help[/amazon_link], sent along some warm Southern recipes from the movie, out on DVD and Blu-ray this week.

The Help food stylist Lee Ann Flemming
Lee Ann Flemming, food stylist for The Help

These recipes were created by The Help‘s food stylist Lee Ann Flemming, a junior high English teacher in Cruger, Mississippi (love that she’s not a Hollywood type). You can buy her book, Recipes and Remembrances, at Amazon. She’s also working on another cookbook, which is good thing because I’m sure she’s had tons of interest from this movie.

Without further adieu, here are a few recipes from the movie (read my review of The Help). Don’t worry – Minny’s chocolate pie isn’t included!


4 yellow crookneck squash
Melted butter
Salt and pepper
Grated Parmesan cheese

The Help: Spinach Stuffed Squash
Spinach-Stuffed Squash from The Help

Spinach stuffing:
½  cup chopped onion
½  cup butter
2 (10 oz.) packages frozen chopped spinach, cooked and drained
1 tsp. salt
1 cup sour cream
2 tsp. red wine vinegar
Bread crumbs (garnish)

Cook whole squash in boiling, salted water for about 10 minutes until tender. Very carefully, cut into halves and scoop out the seeds. Sprinkle each shell with butter, salt, pepper, and Parmesan cheese.

Spinach Stuffing: Sauté onions in butter until tender. Add spinach, salt, sour cream, and vinegar and blend well. Stuff each squash shell with spinach mixture. Sprinkle each with additional Parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs. Dot with butter. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until thoroughly heated.


3 cups cooked, mashed sweet potatoes
1 cup sugar
cup melted butter
2 eggs beaten
1 Tbsp. vanilla
½ cup raisins (optional)

Mix well and pour into a butter casserole.

1 cup brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup melted butter

Mix topping with fork and sprinkle crumbs on top of casserole. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

The Help: Cheesecake Pecan Pie
Cheesecake Pecan Pie from The Help


1 (15 oz.) pkg. refrigerated pie crusts
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese
4 large eggs, divided
¾  cup sugar, divided
2 tsp. vanilla, divided
¼  tsp. salt
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup light corn syrup

Unfold and stack two pie crusts together. Gently roll  or press together and fit into a 9-inch pie plate according to directions; fold edges under and crimp. (For a home-made flavor, try Lee Ann’s Home-made Pie Crust recipe below.) Beat cream cheese, 1 egg, ½ cup sugar, 1 tsp. vanilla and salt at medium speed with a mixer until smooth. Pour into pie crust and sprinkle with pecans. Stir together corn syrup, 3 eggs, remaining 1/4 cup sugar and remaining 1 tsp. vanilla and pour mixture over pecans. Bake at 350 for 50-55 minutes until set.


1 ¼ cups plain flour
¼ tsp. salt
1/3 cup shortening (butter flavor shortening is great, too)
4-5 tbsp. cold ice water

In a medium bowl, stir flour and salt together. Using a pastry blender, cut in shortening until pieces are pea-size. Sprinkle 1 tbsp. of water over part of the flour mixture; gently toss with a fork. Push moistened dough to the side of the bowl. Repeat using 1 tbsp. of water at a time, until all the flour mixture is moistened. Form dough into a ball; wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

On a lightly floured surface, use your hands to slightly flatten dough. Roll dough from center to edges into a circle about 12 inches in diameter. To transfer pastry, wrap it around the rolling pin. Unroll pastry into a 9-inch pie plate. Ease pastry into pie plate without stretching it. Trim pastry to ½ inch beyond edge of pie plate. Fold under extra pastry. Crimp edges as desired.

The Help: Recipes
Octavia Spencer (Minny), Viola Davis (Aibileen) and Emma Stone (Skeeter) from The Help


1 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 cup boiling water
2 eggs
2 pkg. dry yeast
1 cup dry yeast
1 cup lukewarm water
6 cups sifted flour

Soak yeast in the lukewarm water. Pour boiling water over the shortening, sugar, and salt. Allow this mixture to cool to lukewarm. Add yeast to this mixture. Add eggs and flour. Stir and mix well. Cover and store in the refrigerator overnight (or at least 3-4 hours).  Note: The mixture will keep for a week in the refrigerator.

Remove the portion you wish to use and knead on a floured board. Roll thin and cut with a biscuit cutter. Dip half in melted butter and fold over for pocket rolls. Place in a greased pan and allow to rise 2-3 hours. Bake at 425 degrees for 12-15 minutes. This recipe can be easily cut in half.


1 can mandarin oranges, drained
1 can pineapple chunks, drained
1 can flaked coconut
1 small jar red Maraschino cherries, drained
1 (8 oz.) carton sour cream

Mix and refrigerate. Note: Save the drained juice from oranges and pineapples. Add to orange juice to enhance your morning beverage.

Check out this clip from The Help, where Minny (Octavia Spencer) and Aibileen (Viola Davis) joke together about their employers in the privacy of the kitchen.


13 responses to “Holiday Recipes from The Help: Cheesecake Pecan Pie, Sweet Potato Casserole and More”

  1. Alexandra Avatar

    This is great! I really wanted to try some of these recipes after seeing the movie. Thanks!

  2. Living Large Avatar

    Loved the book, I haven’t seen the movie, but these might be fun to try when we’re having movie night at home when the DVD comes out!

  3. Sheryl Avatar

    I love that you got the real recipes! The cooking in the movie was one of my favorite parts. Reading this post makes me want to see the movie all over agin!

  4. merr Avatar

    Oh Jane! This is terrific. I’d love to see this feature with the food and movie tie in on your blog from time to time. Just great!

  5. MyKidsEatSquid Avatar

    What a cool idea. I saw that the Help is coming out on DVD it would be fun to make one of these recipes to eat while you watch. I would love to watch it again

  6. Vera Marie Avatar

    Oh, man! You WOULD post these on the day I’m starting my low-carb recovery eating style (I refuse to diet).

  7. Catherine Avatar

    Thanks for sharing this cool idea..I’d love to see this feature with the food and movie tie in on your blog from time to time. Just great!

    1. Jane Boursaw Avatar

      Thanks, Catherine and All! Yes, definitely will be getting more food/real-life movie connections on here in the future.

    2. Jane Boursaw Avatar

      Will do! I’m building my editorial calendar for 2012 and will definitely put more features like this into the mix.

  8. […] lover, what could be better?3. And finally, just for fun, Reel Life with Jane’s round up of Southern treats from a real Mississippi cook along with a clip from the movie The Help. Having roots in the state of MS myself, I can tell you […]

  9. George Avatar

    Thank you for sharing these creative recipes. I had never heard of these dishes, will try them soon! The recipes is very detailed too.

  10. Brenda Avatar

    Your recipes sound delicious. My first one to try is the Cheesecake Pecan pie!

  11. Mary Strollings Avatar

    These dish are look cool, especially the CHEESECAKE PECAN PIE. Thank you for your sharing! Cheers!!!

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