Tag Archives: cranberries

Thanksgiving in London, 2018

After skipping Thanksgiving last year (and hosting a festive cookie party instead), F and I were keen to put on a Thanksgiving celebration this year. As a bonus, my parents flew over to London for the long weekend! We planned the usual feasting on the Saturday following Thanksgiving, but this time we added a twist: F and I reversed the traditional Thanksgiving order! Around 3pm we enjoyed all the desserts with coffee/tea — German Kaffee und Kuchen style. A few hours later, we devoured the savory feast. Everyone agreed that the reverse order worked really well, because we had time to socialise in between while the turkey roasted, and we weren’t too full after dinner. Here’s what we cooked for 9 people, and what we did with the leftover turkey:

  • Dessert:
    • Our favorite family cranberry upside-down cake.
    • Smitten Kitchen’s pumpkin pie with pecan praline sauce. I made the crust, F made the pie, S made the sauce and it was very nice.
    • J&C brought a lovely apple crumble to complete the trio of desserts.
    • Plenty of freshly whipped cream and custard (do you like yours hot or cold?).
  • Dinner:
    • Turkey! We ordered an 11-pound turkey from our favorite local butcher in Crouch End. F stuffed it with apples and thyme, generously salted, peppered, and buttered the skin, and roasted it for a few hours. It tasted great.
    • Gravy: F made a meaty gravy and a vegetarian gravy, and both were silky smooth and delicious.
    • Stuffing: I made the same stuffing/dressing (what is the difference?) that I have for the past few Thanksgivings: this classic sage and onion bread dressing from The Kitchn. I think it turned out the best this year because I used enough broth to keep it moist.
    • Sweet potato casserolemy mom’s/grandma’s recipe that’s been a staple at our family Thanksgivings since I can remember.
    • Brussels sprout and tomato salad: another family recipe.
    • C&W brought some very nice garlicky green beans.
    • Don’t forget the cranberry sauce!
  • Leftovers:
    • There weren’t very many! What we made fed the 9 of us comfortably, and could have fed 10 people. We mostly had turkey leftover, so on Sunday I made a turkey version of my chicken and dumplings, minus the dumplings (we had bread).

We had quite an international group this year: four Brits (all hailing from different regions), two Germans (S was down from Liverpool for a few days), and three Americans. It was the first Thanksgiving for a few people, and I always enjoy introducing my favorite holiday to others. It was also so nice to have my parents around and to share our style of Thanksgiving with them – and how many of my mom’s family recipes we use!


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Thanksgiving (in London) 2016 – what we cooked

F and I hosted our second (or third? I can’t remember) Thanksgiving celebration in London on the Saturday following the real holiday (a bit hard to take a random Thursday off when it’s not a public holiday where you live). F’s parents were visiting, too, so they got to experience their first Thanksgiving, and a few friends joined us as well. Here’s what we cooked for 8 people (plus a 10-month-old) — recipe links below the pictures:

  • Turkey! We ordered a 5.2kg bird from one of the local butchers in Crouch End. F stuffed it with apples and thyme, generously salted, peppered, and buttered the skin, and roasted it for 3.5 hours. It came out super moist and delicious.
  • Gravy: F made this one from Serious Eats, using the neck and innards from the turkey but not using soy sauce.
  • Stuffing: I made this classic sage and onion bread dressing from The Kitchn; same as last year. It turned out well and got a number of compliments
  • Sweet potato casserole: my mom’s/grandma’s recipe that’s been a staple at our family Thanksgivings since I can remember.
  • Brussels sprout and tomato salad: another family recipe
  • Cranberry sauce: this is my favorite recipe. It’s super easy and always turns out well.
  • My (American) friend S brought a lovely green bean dish and a pumpkin pie.
  • Our friends H&S brought a nice apple crumble.
  • Cranberry cake: in my mind, it’s not Thanksgiving without this cranberry upside-down cake, another one that my mom/grandma always make. It’s one of my top 3 favorite cakes ever.
  • Freshly whipped cream. Need I say more?

It was a lovely and relaxing evening all around, with plenty of entertainment provided by 10-month-old H. And despite the horrific political year it’s been, there is still plenty to be thankful for.

Recipe: Cranberry-Apple Pie with Nutty Crumble Topping

We cleaned out and defrosted our freezer this weekend, in a moment of spring cleaning and to increase the freezer’s efficiency. We had done a pretty good job of eating all the meat, stews, and vegetables we had stored in it, but there were a few things left, including a pie crust and a container of cranberries. And what does one do when “forced” to remove a pie crust and cranberries from the freezer? Make pie, of course!

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This cranberry-apple pie was inspired by Joy the Baker’s apple cranberry crumble pie and smitten kitchen’s cranberry pie with thick pecan crumble. It is more heavily adapted from the latter recipe, but I made a few adjustments — whole oats and whole wheat flour for the crumble, an apple to bulk up the fruit, lemon instead of orange zest — based on my instincts and what ingredients I had around.

The pie is lovely: a nice, tart filling is nestled between a sweet and crunchy topping (I’d use less sugar in the crumble next time) and a flaky crust. F deemed it delicious and so did I. Serve it with a dollop of yogurt and you’ve got a perfectly acceptable breakfast or brunch!

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Cranberry-Apple Pie with Nutty Crumble Topping (adapted from smitten kitchen; makes 1 pie)

Ingredients

  • Crust:
    • 1 1/4 cups (155g) plain/AP flour
    • 1 1/2 tsp (6g) granulated sugar
    • 1/2 tsp (3g) salt
    • 115g cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
    • 1/4 cup (60mL) very cold water, plus an additional tablespoon if needed
  • Filling:
    • 3 cups (300g) fresh or frozen cranberries
    • 1-2 apples, cut into small chunks
    • just under 1 cup granulated sugar
    • zest of 1/2 lemon
    • pinch of salt
    • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • Crumble Topping:
    • 3/4 cup rolled or quick oats
    • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
    • 1/4 – 1/3 cup granulated sugar (I might even cut this out next time)
    • 1/3 cup brown sugar (light or dark)
    • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
    • 1/4 tsp sea salt
    • 1/2 cup finely chopped nuts (I used half walnuts and half almonds because that’s that I had around)
    • 6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

Procedure

  • Make the crust: In a mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Use your fingertips or a pastry blender to work the butter into the dry mixture until it makes a coarse meal. Add the cold water and stir with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together in large clumps. Knead the dough together with your hands until it forms a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic and chill for at least an hour (or freeze it for 15 minutes if you’re in a hurry).
  • Once your dough has chilled, flour a countertop and roll the dough out into a large circle. Transfer it carefully into a pie dish or other round baking vessel (I used a round cake pan). Press the dough gently into the dish and fold over the edges, crimping if you like. Put the dish into the fridge while you make the filling and topping.
  • Preheat the oven to 190C (375F).
  • Make the filling: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine all of the filing ingredients. Let warm for 5 minutes or so, stirring occasionally. Take the filling off the heat while you make the topping.
  • Make the crumble topping: If you haven’t already, chop your nuts finely with a knife or by pulsing in a food processor. Combine the nuts, oats, flour, sugars, and spices in a mixing bowl. Stir to combine, then add the melted butter and stir until the mixture is coated evenly.
  • Take the crust out of the fridge and pour the filling into it, then sprinkle the topping evenly over it. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the topping is lightly browned and the filling is bubbling (you may have to cover the pie with foil halfway through so the topping doesn’t burn). Let cool and serve with yogurt, whipped cream, or ice cream.

Enjoy!

Recipe: Cranberry-Orange Buns

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The first time I saw the recipe, I knew I had to make them. As may be apparent from previous recipes, I have a soft spot for cranberries…obviously I was excited to add these to my arsenal. These are like cinnamon buns but with cranberries and orange.

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And oh man are they good. They certainly lived up to expectations. A rich, moist, orangey dough binds together tart-sweet cranberries for a mouthful of deliciousness. Although I know smitten kitchen recipes turn out perfectly if made as written, I took a risk and doubled the amount of cranberries while cutting down a bit on the brown sugar for the filling. It worked — and they don’t even need frosting (although feel free to prepare some if you want).

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These may become a holiday staple, great for a weekend brunch as you can prepare them the day before and bake them from the fridge in the morning (or at noon, as it was by the time I got back from my long run). Don’t be daunted by the prep time — it’s really quite a simple process, and you won’t regret the results.

ready to roll

ready to roll

Cranberry-Orange Buns (adapted from smitten kitchen; makes 12 buns — just halve the recipe for fewer)

Ingredients

  • Dough:
    • 4 egg yolks
    • 1 whole egg
    • 50g (1/4 cup) granulated sugar
    • 85g (6 tbsp) unsalted butter, melted (+ a little more, to grease pan)
    • 175mL (3/4 cup) buttermilk
    • zest of 3/4 orange
    • 470g (3.75 cups) plain/AP flour (+ more for dusting counter)
    • 7g (2.25 tsp) instant dry yeast
    • 1.25 tsp salt
    • 1 tsp sunflower oil (for bowl)
  • Filling:
    • 20g (1.5 tbsp) unsalted butter, melted
    • 175g (3/4 cup) brown sugar, packed (I used dark; feel free to use light)
    • ~250g (2-2.5 cups) fresh cranberries
    • zest of 1/4 orange

Procedure

  • Make the dough: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, whole egg, sugar, melted butter, buttermilk, & 3/4 orange zest (you can do this in a stand mixer if you have one — I don’t). Add the yeast, salt, & 2 cups of the flour. Stir with a wooden spoon until just combined. Add the rest of the flour & mix until the dough comes together, then turn the dough out onto a floured counter and knead (or run the mixer with a dough hook) for 5 minutes . Don’t add more flour, as it will toughen the dough. Oil a large bowl and place the dough in it — cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature for 2-2.5 hours or until the dough has doubled.
  • Once the dough has risen, prepare the filling: Melt the butter and set aside. Put the cranberries in a food processor and pulse until they’re in quite small chunks but not totally pureed. Set aside.
  • Butter a 9×13-inch (23×33-cm) baking dish.
  • Assemble the buns: Flour a countertop and turn the dough out onto it. Roll the dough into a rectangle that’s about 18×12 inches (45×30.5 cm), with the long side closest to you. Brush the dough with the melted butter, then sprinkle the brown sugar evenly over it — go as close to the edges as you dare. Scatter the ground cranberries evenly over the sugar, then sprinkle the rest of the orange zest over everything.
  • Gently roll the dough into a long log, keeping it as tight as you can. Use a serrated knife to very gently saw the log into 12 sections, each of about 1.5 inches (3.8 cm). Arrange the buns in the baking dish, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or up to 16 hours.
  • In the morning, bake the buns: take the dish out of the fridge about half an hour before you want to bake the buns. Heat the oven to 175C (350F), then bake the buns for 25-30 minutes, until they’re golden and puffed up, with an internal temperature of about 85C (190F). (You may have to cover them with foil for the last 10 minutes so they don’t burn on top) Serve warm.

Enjoy!

Recipe: Dianne’s Cranberry Cake

For me, Thanksgiving is not complete without something cranberry-ey, and all the better if cranberries appear in multiple guises: in my family, they usually appear in cranberry sauce, a surprisingly delicious jello “salad,” and this incredible cranberry upside-down cake.

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Ever since I can remember, my mom has made this cranberry cake for Thanksgiving — and often for Christmas, too, on my request. For me, it is an inseparable part of Thanksgiving and of the wintry holiday season in general. There’s something about that combination of whole cranberries baked into an orangey cake batter and topped with homemade whipped cream that puts a smile on everyone’s face.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and it’s one of the things I miss most about not living closer to home. Since Thanksgiving’s not celebrated in the UK, it’s hard to take off that random week in November. Last year, we had a lovely Thanksgiving celebration with Sarah and Joe, but alas they’re back in the US of A now (miss you guys!). F and I were going to try and host our own Thanksgiving this year, but my all-consuming DELTA course and various other scheduling conflicts mean it probably won’t happen.

But that doesn’t mean I can’t make some of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes! With the holiday coming up on Thursday and the DELTA course starting to taper off (less than 2 weeks & 3 assignments to go…), I decided to spend a rainy Sunday afternoon in the warm kitchen making cranberry cake.

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The cake is pretty easy to put together: pour some cranberries into a well-buttered cake pan, whip up the thick batter, spread it over the cranberries and bake! With luck, you’ll be able to invert your cake without incident and spread it with some warm jam for a finishing touch. Mine turned out a bit on the rustic side, as I used a springform cake pan which is a little bigger than your standard round cake tin — the cake was thus a bit thinner and stickier. I probably could’ve baked it for a little less time, but it still turned out deliciously and tasted exactly like it should. Go make it and you’ll know what I mean.

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Dianne’s Cranberry (Upside-Down) Cake (my mom’s recipe, adapted years ago from a Gourmet magazine; makes 1 cake)

Ingredients

  • Cranberries:
    • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
    • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
    • 1lb/16oz/500g fresh (or frozen) whole cranberries, rinsed, picked over & dried
  • Cake batter:
    • 1.25 cups all purpose (plain) flour
    • 1.5 tsp baking powder
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 6 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
    • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
    • 1 egg
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • zest of 1 orange
    • 1/2 cup milk (I used semi-skimmed)
  • Topping (optional):
    • 1/3 cup currant or other closely-related jam/jelly (I used F’s mom’s black currant jam, as that’s what we had)

Procedure

  • Preheat the oven to 350F (175C).
  • Butter a round cake pan with the 3 tbsp butter. Sprinkle the 1/2 cup of sugar evenly over the butter, and pour in the rinsed and dried cranberries.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • In a separate bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, egg, vanilla, and orange until well-combined.
  • Alternate adding the 1/2 cup milk and flour mixture to the butter-egg mixture, beating until well-combined. The batter will be quite thick.
  • Spread the batter over the cranberries, sealing the edges and smoothing the top.
  • Bake for 1 hour, until the top is well-browned. Let cool for 20 minutes, then run a knife around the edge of the cake and invert onto a platter.
  • Heat the jam (if using) in a saucepan, then brush it over the top of the cake. Top with homemade whipped cream, if desired (plain yogurt is also nice, for the more health-conscious out there), and enjoy warm or at room temperature.

Enjoy!

Recipe: Cranberry-Apple Crisp

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This autumnal crisp tastes great on a chilly, windy evening during any of the fall and winter months. I’ve adapted my crisp from two recipes that have been on my “make soon” list for a while: the filling comes from smitten kitchen, and the topping from Cookie and Kate. Friends coming for dinner on a Saturday evening gave me a perfect excuse to try this out. Sarah, Joe, and F certainly helped it disappear quickly!

pre-baking

pre-baking

Cranberries and apples really shine underneath a subtly sweet, slightly chewy topping. It tastes great with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or dollop of Greek yogurt on top. (F and I enjoyed the last two portions with Greek yogurt for post-cycling brunch the next day.) The crisp is also pretty healthy; yes, there’s a bit of brown sugar here and there, but all the rest is just fruit, ground almonds, and whole grains.

Cranberry-Apple Crisp (adapted from smitten kitchen & Cookie and Kate; serves 6-8 generously)

Ingredients

  • Filling:
    • 3 cups fresh cranberries (can be fresh-frozen)
    • 2/3 cup brown sugar (I used dark brown; feel free to use light brown)
    • zest & juice of 1 lemon
    • zest of 1 orange
    • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
    • 3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored & diced
  • Topping:
    • 1.25 cups oats
    • 2/3 cup almond meal (ground almonds)
    • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
    • 1/3 – 1/2 cup brown sugar
    • 1/4 tsp sea salt
    • 5-6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
    • 3 tbsp plain yogurt

Procedure

  • Preheat the oven to 350F (175C).
  • Make filling: Stir together all of the ingredients and spread in a medium baking dish.
  • Make topping: Whisk together the dry ingredients, then stir in the butter and yogurt until the mixture is evenly coated.
  • Dollop the topping onto the fruit mixture and spread it evenly without packing it down. Bake for 50-55 minutes or until the fruit is bubbling and the topping looks set and golden-brown (you may have to cover the crisp with foil partway through if the topping browns too fast).

Enjoy!

Recipe: Tammela’s Favorite Cranberry Sauce

One of my favorite things about Thanksgiving and Christmastime is the abundance of cranberries and cranberry-related dishes. Being in the UK, I’d searched high and low for cranberries in November, not to find any until Sarah told me just before Thanksgiving that she’d found some at Marks & Spencer. British friends confirmed that cranberries only appear here around Christmastime. Thrilled, I bought six packs of fresh cranberries to freeze and keep us “well-cranberried” through the winter.

pre-cooking

pre-cooking

My mom has an amazing cranberry upside-down cake recipe that I hope to share with you soon. In the meantime, here’s my recipe for simple, delicious cranberry sauce. You can enjoy cranberry sauce with so many different things: with meat, of course, but also on biscuits, pancakes (why not?), or straight with a spoon. I prefer to keep my cranberry sauce on the tart side, so feel free to increase the sugar in this recipe if you like yours sweeter. Orange juice and zest gives the sauce some zing, and the spices make it taste like the holidays.

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Tammela’s Favorite Cranberry Sauce

Ingredients

  • 300g (~3 cups) fresh/frozen cranberries
  • zest + juice of 1 orange
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3-1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1-2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp allspice

Procedure

  • Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
  • Turn the heat down and let the sauce simmer with the lid cracked, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until the cranberries have all burst and the sauce thickens, 15-20 minutes.
  • Let cool a bit before eating and/or storing.

Enjoy!

Recipe: Lemon Cranberry Scones

My parents often make apricot coffee cake for Christmas morning, but this year no one thought about it until we’d already gone shopping. And we did not feel like tacking Wegmans again the day before Christmas… As a coffee cake alternative — though I could’ve made this — I thought scones would be a perfect accompaniment to present-opening and coffee-drinking around the Christmas tree. Double points because my mom loves scones so much. These days, when I need a foolproof recipe I turn to smitten kitchen. She does an amazing job; every recipe I or someone I know has tried from her blog has turned out really well.

Lo and behold, smitten kitchen has a delicious-looking recipe for lemon and fresh cranberry scones, for which we had all the ingredients (that was the important requirement) and which I could freeze the night before and bake the next morning. I followed the recipe exactly, except I substituted buttermilk for heavy cream.

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The scones were a huge hit! This recipe makes ten good-sized scones, and by the day after Christmas only one is left. My mom, dad, and brother raved about them. They were easy to mix up and freeze, and they baked beautifully straight from the freezer on Christmas morning. I’ll definitely make these again.

Lemon Cranberry Scones (adapted from this recipe)

Ingredients

  • 1.5 tbsp lemon zest (or the zest of 1-2 lemons)
  • 2.5 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 stick (6 tbsp) cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 1-1.5 cups fresh cranberries, coarsely chopped (I used 1.5 cups)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 cup buttermilk

Procedure

  • If baking the same day, preheat the oven to 400F and grease a baking sheet.
  • Set up your food processor and pulse the flour, sugar, powder, salt, butter, and zest. Move the mixture to a large bowl.
  • Pulse the cranberries in the vacated food processor until they are coarsely chopped. Add them to the flour mixture.
  • In a separate bowl, beat the egg, yolk, and buttermilk. Add to the dry mixture and stir until just combined (the dough will be quite sticky).
  • Flour a flat surface and pat the dough into a 1″ think round. Cut out scones of your desired shape with a knife or spatula, and arrange them on a cookie sheet. If baking right away, bake them for 15-20′. If not, flash-freeze them on the cookie sheet and bake just out of the freezer for 20-25′.

 

Enjoy!

Recipe: Lemony Cornmeal Cranberry Drop Scones

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My mom loves scones but is acutely aware of how many calories your average coffee shop scone has. I had never made scones and decided to try them but wanted to make them a bit healthier than usual. Luckily, I ran across this recipe from Martha Rose Shulman over at the NY Times. The scones turned out light, crumbly, and delicious — they’re like a cross between a corn muffin and a scone — and my mom approved! (I had to stop myself from eating more than two in one sitting.)

Lemony Cornmeal Cranberry Drop Scones (adapted from this recipe)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 cup medium stone-ground cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • dash of ground allspice
  • 2 tsp (or so) lemon zest
  • 7 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2″ pieces or small squares
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries, soaked for 10′ in warm water & drained

Procedure

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and lightly grease a baking sheet or two.
  • Sift together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, soda, salt, and allspice. Dump the mixture into a food processor, add the butter and lemon zest and pulse until the mixture is slightly coarse but even.
  • In another bowl, whisk together the egg and buttermilk. Turn on the food processor and slowly pour in the egg mixture. Turn off the processor as soon as the dough comes together (it will be a pretty wet dough). Add the cranberries and pulse a few times to distribute them throughout the dough.
  • Drop heaping tablespoons of batter onto the baking sheets. Bake in the middle of the oven for 14-16 minutes, turning the baking sheet front to back halfway through. The scones will be lightly browned.