Unlike other seasonal fruit that can be fickle (was it a good year for grapefruits? do the oranges have seeds? are the pomegranates ripe?), cranberries are impressively reliable. There’s no need to pick through piles of berries to determine which are the ripest, sweetest or juiciest. Just pluck a few bags from the pile in the produce section and toss them in the freezer or fridge.
Cranberries are also impressively versatile, flavoring not just Thanksgiving’s traditional cranberry sauce but also breads, salads, ice creams, and crumbles and adding a bright snap to anything they’re used in. Just remember they’re one of the tartest fruits there is, usually requiring a hefty dose of sugar. On the nutrition front, they’re high in antioxidants, low in calories and virtually fat free, making them a nutritious boon in just about anything you cook up this holiday.
If you’re like us, you often buy an extra bag of fresh cranberries at Thanksgiving, only to have it lurking in the fridge once the holiday is over. Here’s a recipe that puts to use those seasonal gems: Cranberry Crumble. Sporting a vanilla buttermilk cake layer, the crumble is the epitome of ease. It whirls together quickly in the food processor—no stirring, beating or whisking required.
This cake does double duty as breakfast and as dessert. Have on hand for unexpected holiday guests.
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
1/2 cup boiling water
1 (12-ounce) bag fresh cranberries
1 firm, ripe pear, cored and sliced
1 Granny Smith apple, cored and sliced
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup cold butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2/3 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons old-fashioned oats
1 tablespoon water
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a 13 x 9-inch baking pan with cooking spray.
2. To prepare filling, combine dried apricots and water in a small bowl; let stand 30 minutes. Combine remaining filling ingredients in a large bowl. Add apricots and soaking liquid; mix well. Spoon into prepared pan.
3. To prepare cake, combine flour, sugar, butter and salt in a food processor. Pulse until crumbly. Set aside 1 cup for streusel topping.
4. Add egg to flour mixture in food processor. Dissolve baking soda in buttermilk, stir well, and add to flour mixture. Add vanilla. Pulse to make a cake batter. Pour over cranberry mixture in pan.
5. To prepare streusel, add streusel ingredients to reserved flour mixture. Toss well. Sprinkle over cake batter and bake 40 to 45 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Serves 12.
Recipe by Crescent Dragonwagon
Per serving: 330 calories, 14g fat, 4g prot., 51g carbs., 4g fiber, 200mg sodium
Look for Relish magazine, celebrating America’s love of food, each month in the Tooele Transcript-Bulletin. For more recipes, go to relish.com
Photo credit: Mark Boughton Photography / styling by Teresa Blackburn