Cranberries Archive

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, 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.

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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.

These shrunk too much, these tore and crumbled, these not only shrunk but got tattered, this had to be pasted together in scraps and, you guessed it, this one went on a big diet in the oven as well. The thing is, you might look at the pictures and not know that the recipes were teetering on the edge of disaster, but that’s because you don’t know about all the filling that went to waste because they no longer fit after a par-baking. I’ve tried everything–pricking the doughs and weighting the doughs and freezing the doughs and sacrificing countless boxes of butter and hours of my life to the doughs and closing my eyes in a brief prayer before checking on their baking status but still, they fight me every time.

tartlet pansarranging the tart doughgorgeous, golden caramelcranberries

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Friday, November 10, 2006

cranberries: candied, fruity and drunk

cranberry sauce with port and dried figs

Don’t laugh, but I think this post might be the closest I have come to service journalism on this site. I say this because, honestly, I have no idea what I am going to do with three batches of cranberry sauce I’ve cooked over the last week, but if at least one them makes it home with you, I suppose this effort won’t be a waste after all. Is this as noble and un-self-serving of me as it sounds? Of course not — I love cranberry sauce — I just have a little bit more than a two-person household should ever need.

classic cranberry sauce with orange peel

I’m not sure if it was because I was a vegetarian and without the turkey, the cranberry sauce made no sense, because I thought it always came from a can in a fun-to-play-with but terrifying-to-eat cylinder, or because I just didn’t like it, but I never ate cranberry sauce growing up. It wasn’t until my first year in New York when I lived in a worn and infested fourth-floor walkup on Avenue B with my friend Dan that I had the real deal, and completely fell in love. Dan’s from Massachusetts and from what I understand, they take cranberry sauce pretty seriously up there, or at least he did, simmering, zesting oranges and carefully sifting through the rinsed bag for deflated or still stem-attached berries. This classic cranberry sauce recipe (which I am sure he’ll tell me I’m getting wrong) will always be my favorite, stirred into plain or vanilla yogurt or simply taken spoon-to-mouth. I hedge on the sugar a little, preferring it on the tart side, but I never skimp on the orange peel, as there’s a reason it is so often paired with cranberries: they bring out the best in each other. A few julienned or thick-zested strips in the sauce is one of my favorite parts; simmered in the stunning rouge syrup, they candy like an orangette, and are a fantastic surprise when you run across them in your hungry tasting. Lest you need any more evidence of its greatness, look how little we have left from a week ago.

mixed-berry quick cranberry sauce

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