Thursday, November 18, 2010

Cranberries add Sparkle to Any Dinner

This is the time of year to stock up on cranberries. Hopefully there will be some specials this week and next, because like everything else, prices have risen. Take advantage and freeze a couple bags for later. Just place the unopened bags in the freezer. Don't wash the berries until you are ready to use them and use them frozen,there's no need to thaw.

The best news is that cranberries are high in antioxidants that help us to stay healthy. Scientists are discovering new compounds in cranberries and other fruits that slow the destruction of cells, also slowing aging. A half cup of cranberries also contains 10% of the RDA for vitamin C.

Probably Cranberry Nut Bread or Muffins and Cranberry Sauce, Relish or Chutney are the most familiar foods starring this brilliant red berry.

Here's another great recipe using cranberries from Baking Basics and Beyond.

Cranberry Walnut Tartlets

Be sure to try this with crème fraiche—the puckery cranberry filling of the tarts contrasts delightfully with the silky crème.


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold butter, cut-up
3–4 tablespoons ice water

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons butter, melted
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
3/4 cup chopped fresh or frozen, cranberries
1/2–3/4 cup crème fraîche (see page 290)

Heat oven to 350°F with oven rack in lower third.

Place flour, sugar, and salt in food processor bowl. Pulse about 5 times to mix. Add butter. Process until coarse crumbs form with some pea-sized pieces. Add 3 tablespoons ice water and process until dough begins to clump together. Process about 10 seconds. If large clumps do not form, add a little more water, 1 teaspoon at a time. Place dough on well-floured work surface, and gather it together into a ball.
Divide dough into 8 equal pieces. Press into bottoms of 8 (3-inch) tart pans. Press firmly against sides of pans. Extend the dough a little above the sides to prevent filling from sticking.

Combine brown sugar and flour in medium bowl. Add corn syrup, vanilla, and eggs. Whisk until mixture is smooth. No lumps of brown sugar or flour should remain.
Stir in butter, walnuts, and cranberries. Divide filling into prepared shells, using about 1/4 cup for each. Gently even out surfaces of the tarts so that nuts and cranberries are evenly spaced.
Bake 28 to 33 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Crusts should be golden brown. Cool tarts on wire cooling rack. Remove from pans. Serve warm or at room temperature with crème fraîche.

BAKER’S NOTES: Place tarts on a jellyroll pan or cookie sheet lined with parchment paper in case filling runs over the sides.

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