I love desserts – eating them though – not making them. Fortunately my wife is an exceedingly talented lady in so many ways, including a penchant for making show stoppingly good sweet stuff with which to send the palate on its happy way at the end of a meal. Most of her cooking however, is contrary to the basic premise of simplicity which this blog is based on. When I see a 20 step recipe, I look elsewhere or simplify. She sees a challenge. As a result I have not asked her to guest blog – until now that is.
A couple of years back at Thanksgiving, she made a creation which was so fantastic that I keep asking her to make it over and over. Although it was based on fresh cranberries, it lends itself to other seasonal fruits and is therefore good throughout the year. I’m going to request it when peaches, plums and cherries (3 separate pies and all possible combinations!) are in season. This one had some strawberries added which appear in one of the pictures and I thought worked – but the boss disagreed so they’re being left of the official recipe!
The almond essence is the magic ingredient – don’t leave it out!
It’s also fairly straightforward. I am delighted to present a recipe in which I only partook of the eating and washing up…..
Wife here. Over the course of our married life, we have figured out a certain division of tasks. He takes out garbage, I invent things like the dream fairy to get our kids into bed. He is amazing at looking in the fridge and making a three course meal out of odds and ends and I am the reigning baker supreme in our home. Most of my stuff won’t ever appear as a guest post since it is time consuming, fidgety and multi-stepped, but it is gorgeous….
There are a number of dishes in my repertoire that he is quite a fan off, not just due to how fabulous they taste, but also because they are fairly simple (which means less clean up for him!)
This confection of deliciousness is called Nantucket Cranberry Pie, and is adapted from a post which I first saw a few years back on The Pioneer Woman, one of my favorite food blogs. I like to say I read her before she was famous…. Anywhoo, fresh cranberries are one of my favorite dessert ingredients, but this love is complicated by the minor fact that they only grow in North America, under specific climate conditions, so you’ll generally see them fresh in stores for only a few months toward the end of the calendar year.
We don’t have fresh cranberries here in Jerusalem, so every year, I press willing drug mules, I mean friends and relatives into service, asking them to bring me a few bags of berries, which I then either use immediately, or stockpile in my freezer (when the frozen bags at the store cost 25-40 NIS for 200g or $1.50 for 348g fresh, it’s not a hard choice…)
I prefer to use fresh when possible, since you get a ripe, juicy berry which bursts in your mouth when you bite into it, releasing a spray of tart juice, that nicely compliments the sweet ingredients it’s paired up with.
This pie really allows the cranberries to shine through, and allows the eater to get mouthfuls of berry, mellowed by the sweet pie crust on top.
Nantucket Cranberry Pie, adapted from The Pioneer Woman
Butter, for greasing
2 cups (heaping) cranberries
2/3 cups sugar
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
110 g unsalted butter, melted
2 whole eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon Pure Almond Extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Generously butter a cake or pie pan. Pour the cranberries on the bottom of the pan, then top with the 2/3 cup sugar.
In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, 1 cup sugar, melted butter, eggs, almond extract, and salt. Stir gently until combined. Pour batter slowly over the top in large “ribbons” in order to evenly cover the surface. Spread gently if necessary.
Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until top is golden brown.
Now here is the fun part – go and buy a kitchen blowtorch. As soon as you remove the pie from the oven, sprinkle the tablespoon of sugar over the pie and use your newly purchased toy to create a lovely, caramelized top! However, if that little baby isn’t in your future, you can also sprinkle the sugar over the top of the pie a few minutes before taking it out of the oven, and let it finish off that way.