Cranberry and Apple Cake 6-8 servings
This is an easy and fairly healthy dish to make when the holidays are here. Actually, it’s good for anytime of the year. You can vary it as to how you think that you want to enjoy it. I personally like less cake so I cut the cake ingredients in half (shown in my picture). There are other options as well. It’s all up to you. I like versatile recipes like that. So, bon appétit and Happy Thanksgiving to one and all.
Step # 1Ingredients for the filling:
- 12 ounces fresh cranberries, rinsed and picked over for stems if necessary
- 1 Granny Smith or other good kind of cooking apple you like, cored and diced (I diced mine in the food processor).
- 4 ounces Sun Dried Cherries (optional)
- 1 tablespoon of grated orange rind/zest (about 1/2 of 1 large orange)
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice from that 1 large orange you just used
- Orange segments from that 1 orange after you’ve juiced it. I put the segments in with the apple and diced it all together.
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon or some other similar spice that you enjoy
- Some ground black pepper if you wish or even some pepper corns
Step #2 Ingredients for the cake (for more cake like, use the amounts I have listed; if you wish more of a topping like effect, as in my picture, use half of the amounts of these ingredients which also means less calories. )
- 2 eggs at room temperature
- 1/4 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
- 1 teaspoon vanilla or any other extract you like or even brandy (I used brandy)
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1 cup flour
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Step # 3 Topping ingredients for the end result:
- Some Turbinado Sugar to lightly sprinkle over all before placing in the oven
- Some more cinnamon, whatever also to sprinkle over all before placing in oven
- Pre-heat oven to 325F
- Slightly oil or butter a 10-inch glass pie plate.
- Step #1: Mix all of the ingredients together in a medium bowl. Let sit while you do Step #2.
- Step #2: In another bowl, on medium-high, beat with an electric beater the eggs for 2 minutes. Then, on medium, add the remainder of the ingredients except for the flour and beat until just combined. On low speed, slowly add the flour and salt till well combined.
- Step #3: Pour the cranberry mixture into the pie dish. Spread the batter with a spatula over the fruit covering it as completely as you wish. Top with ingredients listed in Step #3.
- Bake in oven for about 55-65 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean and the fruit is bubbling around the edges.
- Serve warm or at room temperature. Cool Whip, whipped cream or ice cream makes for a nice accompaniment.
Sautéed Apples—serves up to 4
I served this often to my B&B guests and they loved it. It’s so easy to make and is so much better than store bought syrup to use for pancakes or waffles and you get the apples as well. But don’t stop there, it’s great over ice cream as well.
- 1/4 cup (or a bit more if you wish) butter
- 2-3 large tart apples cored and sliced in large segments
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1/2 to 1 cup hot water
- 1/4 -1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon or another flavor if you wish
- Raisins (optional)
- In a large skillet or saucepan, melt butter over medium heat; add apples. Cook, stirring constantly, until apples are almost tender, about 6 to 7 minutes.
- Dissolve the cornstarch, brown sugar and cinnamon In hot water in a microwaveable dish. Place in micro for 1 or more minutes.
- When apples are just about tender, pour heated liquid into the pan along with the optional raisins if you wish and cook for 2 more minutes.
- Hints: I started out with the lesser amounts of the hot water and brown sugar. After micro-heating and placing in pan with apples, you can always add more hot water. If you wish to have more sugar, dissolve the sugar first in hot water and then add to pan. But truthfully, I found that 1/4 C. brown sugar was plenty sweet enough.
Margot Van Horn
Bruschetta with Strawberries, Balsamic and One Mint Leaf
Strawberries for an appetizer? Yes indeed and I tell you, this is a really delightfully light and delicious treat to offer your guests for a hot summer day. Best of all, it’s a breeze to make. The only thing I have found that it’s best served when the strawberries are heated so that’s a last minute thing but not necessarily so because you can make the sauce ahead of time, refrigerate it for a day or 2 or even freeze it and then reheat it briefly in the micro (about 1 minute and I put the micro at 1/2 temp just to check that it’s not getting too hot and syrupy).
- One box of Melba Snacks Whole Grain Crackers or something similar
- 6 Tbsp. brown sugar (I use the light brown variety)
- 1 Tsp. grated lemon zest
- 2 Tsp. lemon juice
- One quick tiny squirt of Balsamic (CAREFUL—not too much)
- 3 C. cleaned, hulled sliced strawberries (you can also dice them if you prefer)
- 4-6 Tbsp. mascarpone
- A bunch of washed whole mint leaves
- In a small bowl, combine and whisk well the sugar, zest, juice and balsamic together.
- Heat a large Teflon skillet over medium-high heat and add the above mixture. When it begins to bubble (30 seconds to 1 minute) add the strawberries and stir until the juices begin to release their flavor and the berries are heated through (30 seconds to 1 minute more)
3. If you are serving this immediately, I would recommend spreading the mascarpone on the crackers before you have made the sauce and have the crackers all ready on a pretty platter to finish off and serve.
4. After you have placed the sauce on top of the mascarpone, top each with a mint leaf. That will make the whole deal!!!
Free Form Fruit Tart
Serves 4 to 8 (depending on sizes served)
Easy as can be to make and delicious—that’s what this desert is. Heavens, it takes no time what so ever to make (45 minutes at the most) and to bake; everyone will for sure think that it took you all day and will ouuu and ahhhh and probably, you won’t have any left over’s—so you’ll have to make another the next day just to satisfy yourself.
Pre-Heat oven to 425F
Ingredients for the free-form pie crust:
- 1 ¼ C. flour
- 1/2 Tsp. salt
- 3 Tblsp. sugar
- 1 stick butter= 8 Tblsp. (room temp is the best, but if not, cut into small pieces)
- 3 Tblsp. very cold water (plus more if necessary)
Directions for making the pie crust:
- Whisk flour, salt and sugar in a medium sized bowl.
- Cut in the butter in the dry ingredients till mixture is well blended and looks like cornmeal. You can use two knives, forks or a pastry blender, but if you have a processor, do the following: For the first 2 steps process the dry ingredients with a quick one, two pulse; then add the butter and process until blended and mixture looks like cornmeal.
- If you’ve used a processor, place your ingredients in a bowl. Add the water and mold with hands in order to make into a ball. Try to handle as little as possible so that the crust remains very light and flaky and will not become “heavy”.
- Place ball on a large piece of saran wrap; then place another sheet of saran wrap on top and flatten ball.
- Take a rolling pin and roll the top saran wrap sheet till your dough ball becomes a rough round of 9 or 10 inches (the dough should be about 1/4 inch thick).
- Remove your top saran wrap sheet, pick up the bottom saran sheet with the dough and quickly flip it out on a cookie sheet or pizza pan that has been lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Remove that saran sheet so that your dough is all by its lonesome on the prepared baking sheet. Now you are ready to place your desired filling in the middle of the dough.
Filling Ingredients for the free-form pie crust:
- Pitted, peeled, sliced soft fruit; thinly sliced apples, pears; crushed almonds, walnuts, raisins, currents are all good filling choices.
- With fruit, you can toss them with crystallized ginger bits, cinnamon and/or sugar, honey and melted butter, lemon rind and whatever else you like.
- 2 Tblsp. melted butter
- Place fruit, whatever in the middle of the dough leaving a good 1 ½ inch free border all around.
- Fold up the edges of the crust up and around the fruit, pinching the outer edge dough together.
- Brush the dough with 2 Tblsp. melted butter and save some melted butter for brushing on the fruit itself.
- I also place a bit more sugar on the top of all.
- Place the free-form pie which is on the lined cookie sheet or pizza pan in your pre-heated oven until the dough is nice and brown and the fruit is bubbling (about 30 minutes but start checking after 20 minutes).
- Remove from oven, cool on a rack and serve warm dusted with confectioner sugar and ice cream or crème fraiche or whipped cream.
Balsamic Roasted Pears with Pepper and Honey
This is a very simple but elegant desert. I used the Manchego Mexican cheese which is delicious. If the pears in your market are not quite ripe enough, buy them a couple of days before serving and place them in a paper bag along with an apple. Close the bag and several days later, they should be perfect.
- 4 Tblsp. sweet butter
- 4 firm-ripe pears, halved lengthwise and cored
- 6 Tblsp. balsamic vinegar
- 8 Oz. Manchego cheese or mild goat cheese, cut into 8 pieces—room temp.
- 1/2 C. honey
- Preheat oven to 400
- Melt butter in an oven proof dish in the oven—about 3 minutes
- Arrange pears, cut sides down, in 1 layer in butter and roast in middle of oven until tender-about 20 minutes.
- Pour vinegar over pears and roast 5 minutes more.
- Transfer pears, cut sides down, to serving plates with cheese and spoon some of juices from baking dish over pears. Drizzle pears and cheese with honey and sprinkle with pepper.
Marmalade-Grapefruit, Orange and Lemon
Fills about 6-8 small sized jars
I do love marmalade. It’s probably among my most favorite of the jam type of offerings. I guess I like it because it’s not too sweet and can have a little bite to it. I certainly do like the homemade variety more than the generic store bought one. There are many ways to make it; however, for my taste I like this recipe the best. Because of the grapefruit, this marmalade has a little “chew” to it—if you get my drift. Don’t forget that it’s always nice to make some extra for a hostess gift. There’s nothing like a homemade product, I think, to give as a little thank you to someone who cares enough to have you over to theirs. For myself, I particularly enjoy it in the mornings on a toasted English muffin that has peanut butter on it; for desert, I really like it mixed in with some Greek style yogurt.
1 Ruby Grapefruit
- Cut the unpeeled fruit in smaller pieces, deseed if necessary, and put in a blender or osterizer to finish the chopping process. Don’t over chop because you do want some peels to remain.
- For every cup of chopped fruit, use 1 cup of water. So if you have 5 cups of chopped fruit, which is about what these three will yield, you will use 15 cups of water.
- Put chopped fruit and water in a large pot and let soak for 12 hours. I sometimes also add 2 or 3 chopped caramelized ginger.
- Bring the mixture to a boil after the 12 hours and boil (low to medium roll) for 20 minutes.
- Then let sit for another 12 hours. (You can cheat a bit here—but at least 8 hours)
- After the 2nd sitting, add 3/4 cup of sugar for every cupful of fruit. So, if you have 3 cups of chopped fruit, you would add 3 3/4 cups of sugar.
- Slow boil until mixture forms a jelly like substance. I take a bit out and put it in the freezer for 5 minutes and see if when it’s cool, it’s the way I like it. Usually this slow boil takes about 35 to 40 minutes.
- Put in sterilized jars and top with paraffin. Don’t forget to put a bit aside in the frig for you to enjoy.
Cranberries are so versatile and freeze easily and well. They also are very healthy for you. However, their grand color makes them a favorite for Thanksgiving and Christmas. But don’t forget that “red” in Valentines day. Frankly I think that this is a great fruit to use anytime of the year. So please do enjoy these 4 recipes which are among my favorites.
Cranberry and Dried Fruit Compote (serves 6)
- One 12-ounce bag fresh cranberries
- 3/4 cup golden raisins
- 1/2 cup dried cherries
- 1/2 cup dried black mission figs, quartered
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1- 1/4 cups water
- In a medium saucepan, combine the cranberries with the raisins, cherries, figs, sugar and water.
- Bring to a boil and cook over moderately high heat until the cranberries burst, about 6 minutes.
- Place into a bowl and refrigerate until chilled, about 3 hours.
Make Ahead: This compote can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks. Serve chilled or warmed.
Jellied Cranberry Sauce with Fuji Apple (serves 6)
(This turns out like a loaf that can be sliced with a serrated knife.)
- One 12-ounce bag fresh cranberries plus more for decorating purposes
- 1 large Fuji apple, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 1 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 sprig or more of rosemary (for decorating purposes)
- Line an 8-by-4-inch loaf pan with plastic wrap and spray the plastic wrap with nonstick cooking spray.
- In a medium saucepan, combine the cranberries with the apple, sugar and water. Bring to a boil and cook over moderately high heat, stirring frequently until the cranberries are completely broken down and the sauce is very thick, about 15 minutes.
- Place the cranberry sauce into the prepared pan and refrigerate until chilled, about 3 hours or longer, however, make sure to keep the loaf in the frig. before serving. Don’t let it get to room temp before serving or you’ll be spooning it instead of slicing it. No matter though, it’ll be good either way.
- Invert the jelly onto a serving plate and remove the plastic wrap.
- Garnish with fresh cranberries and rosemary sprigs. Slice with a serrated knife before serving.
Make Ahead The cranberry sauce can be covered in plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 2 weeks. Serve chilled.
Cranberry, Clementine and Pumpkin Seed Conserve
- 3 Clementine
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 1 cup water
- One 12-ounce bag fresh cranberries
- 1/2 cup roasted pumpkin seeds (see note below how to roast seeds)
- In a medium saucepan, cover the Clementine with water. Bring to a simmer and cook over moderately high heat until the skin softens, about 8 minutes. Drain and let stand until cool enough to handle. Coarsely chop the whole Clementine and discard any seeds. Wipe out the saucepan.
- In the same saucepan, combine the chopped Clementine with the sugar and water. Bring to a simmer and cook over moderate heat until the Clementine peel is sweet, about 30 minutes. Add the cranberries and cook over moderately high heat until they burst, about 6 minutes.
- Put into a bowl and refrigerate until chilled, about 3 hours.
- Fold in the pumpkin seeds just before serving.
Make Ahead The conserve can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks however, don’t put the seeds in till just before serving.
Note: To roast seeds, place seeds in a large sauté pan so there’s only one layer and cook over medium heat, shaking and stirring oven, till seeds brown and pop (anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes). They are best done right before using; however, you can store in a tight container for a day or so.
Compote of Ruby Cranberries with Sun-Dried Cherries(serves 6)
I love this recipe because it has a zing to it
- 2/3 C. dark brown sugar
- 12 oz. fresh or thawed cranberries
- 4 oz. sun-dried cherries
- 12 whole black peppers
- 1 C. water
- A pinch of salt
- In a medium-size heavy saucepan put 1 C. water, brown sugar, a pinch of salt and 12 whole pepper corns.
- Bring to a boil; add cranberries and cherries and return to a boil.
- Reduce heat and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes or until the cranberries have popped and the sauce has thickened.
- Cool to room temp, cover and refrigerate till cold.
Make Ahead The compote can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.