Cranberries Archive

Friday, December 12, 2008

cranberry vanilla coffee cake

cranberry vanilla coffee cake

I know it would seem that someone who makes as many celebration cakes as I do would dream only in stacked layers, draped ganache and swirled buttercream, but the truth is that I think that the best kind of cake on earth is a coffee cake. They’re simple and cute; they’re alll flavor with minimal flair; they take a third of the time to make. And they may not make people gasp when walked into a room topped with sparklers, but they, without fail, never make it out of said room intact.

vanilla bean pulpcranberriesground up cranberriescranberry vanilla sugar filling

I sometimes call these cakes “dinner party cakes” because as it turns out, it’s all people usually want for dessert after a big meal. In fact, you might find that the space between becoming a frequent or occasional dinner party guest is entirely filled with gusts of cinnamon-sugar, streusel or perhaps a vanilla bean and whole cranberries. (Yes, the obsession continues.)

cranberry vanilla coffee cake

Continued after the jump »

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

cranberry pecan frangipane tart

cranberry pecan frangipane tart

I am the first to admit that I do not create nearly enough of my *own* recipes. Oh, I tweak, I adapt. I skip some things and add others. But I don’t often enough decide that I want something enough to go out and find my own way to get there, which is a shame because when I do, it is never nearly the disaster I expect it to be.

cranberries
cranberries, floating in frangipane sea

And when I do, it makes me so happy, so Deb (as I was the only person in this room) let this be a lesson to you: do this more often, okay? Case in point, vowing to give the fresh whole cranberry more of a spotlight this year, I had been trying to figure out what kind of tart could be made with it for weeks, (Yes, besides that one.) but kept coming back to the idea of burying them in some sort of custard or filling to offset how tart they’d be. I knew I liked the frangipane idea, but although I love almond paste tremendously, I’ve always thought plain ground almonds were rather dull.

Continued after the jump »

Saturday, November 15, 2008

meyer lemon and fresh cranberry scones

meyer lemon fresh cranberry scones

The fresh cranberry gets no love. I can’t tell you how many recipes I have sifted through recently that boasted cranberry in their titles only to find out that they were actually calling for those shriveled and over-sweetened dried ones. Why must fresh cranberries be “the neglected stepchild of the season“? It is totally undeserved.

fresh cranberries

Fresh cranberries are prettier. They’re impressively hardy, keeping for weeks in the fridge and even longer in the freezer with no noticeable aging. And even though I think this is what puts people off, they have a tartness that makes everything they touch better. Because when you put something tart against something sweet, you get a fantastic contrast and this complexity, my friends, is a very good thing.

chopped cranberriesadding cream

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

apple cranberry crisp

apple-cranberry crisp

It has been over a year since I sounded-off about my mild irritation with Michael Chirello–salient takeaways included that I found him fussy and often in excessive use of needlessly pretentious ingredients–and I’ve spent most of it feeling bad about it. I mean, he cooks honestly; he uses as good ingredients as he gets his hands on and he’s not afraid of adapting old stand-bys to make them more feasible for entertaining. These are all good things. I will not now nor ever abide throwing fistfuls of carefully cultivated gray salt into boiling pots of pasta water, but I’d rather pay attention to someone who cares enough about the nuance in flavor that they create than someone who acts like it doesn’t exist.

Unfortunately, we’ve had another setback. A significant one, one so bad I have had to something that crushes my spirits and raises my shackles and throw the entire dish in the garbage. And the error was so easily avoidable, I just… can’t let it go. I hate throwing away food.

apple-cranberry crisp

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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

cranberry, caramel and almond tart

cranberry, caramel and almond tart

It’s taken some time, but I have finally come to the conclusion that I am simply not very skilled at tart doughs. Yes, me, the girl who loves making bread and pasta and pretty much anything in the world that starts with kneading and gathering. Hey, I never said I was good at it.

Continued after the jump »