Monday, November 29, 2010
The holidays are here, whether we are ready or not. Thanksgiving Day marks the end of "fall" and many people jump both feet into Christmastime the day afterward, like so many children into piles of autumn leaves (which are still blowing freely around my neighborhood). Admittedly, I too am eager to make the transition, clearing my mantle of gourds and pilgrims and really dusting (for the first time since September, if you must know).
This Thanksgiving I tried out a new cranberry sauce recipe that I was hoping could make the transition to Christmas with the rest of us, using up the very last of my Annie's Crannies. It was everything I'd hoped for--simple, sweet-tart and positively lovely. Sure, I love cranberry-orange relish, and cranberry chutney too, but on this day, I really wanted to highlight the flavor of the cranberry alone.
What I love about this sauce, besides the amazing burst of cranberry flavor, is that it is baked, freeing up one of my burners. And as you know, stove-top space is at a premium during the holidays. The cranberries are simply sprinkled, smothered rather, with sugar (is it just me or have you found that the cranberries are especially tart this year?), then baked for awhile until their crimson juices run and the cranberries have softened like jellies. Mmmmm, tastes like Christmas, indeed!
The cranberry stands alone in all her ruby-red glory in this simple recipe, adapted from here. Baked instead of simmered in the saucepan, this sauce tastes wonderful with roasts of all sorts, or even over ice cream. Try stirring some of this into your favorite orange marmalade to create a pink-hued marvel to spread over scones...or give as a gift.
Prep time: 5 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes
Yield: about 1 half-pint of sauce
3 cups of fresh cranberries (frozen would work too, but you may need to increase the baking time)
1 cup of granulated sugar
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Place cranberries in a 8x8 inch square baking dish and sprinkle with sugar. Do not stir.
3. Bake cranberries for 35 minutes, stirring twice during baking. Remove from dish into a bowl, cover and refrigerate.