Holiday Cheer and Cranberries

So I went to the Perkiomen produce sale on Dec. 24th hunting for cranberries. I came home with a box of 24, 12oz bags that I spent $2 on. In the next week and a half I made just about everything that can possibly be made with cranberries.Cranberry BoxI started with a Cranberry and pear crisp that I made for Christmas eve dessert. Here’s The recipe from Emril.
Ingredients

Unsalted butter, for baking dish
2 1/2 – 3 pounds sweet, firm apples, such as Gala or Braeburn, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch dice
12 ounces cranberries (fresh or frozen)
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon grated orange zest, plus 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice

Crisp Topping Ingredients

6 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
2/3 cup all purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
2/3 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt

Crisp Topping Directions

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients. Using an electric mixer, beat on low until coarse crumbs form.

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.

In a large bowl, combine apples, cranberries, sugar, flour, vanilla, and orange zest and juice. Transfer to baking dish and sprinkle with topping.

Bake until topping is browned and juices are thick and bubbling around edges, 55 to 60 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes before serving.

Cook’s Note

Fresh or frozen cranberries work well here (no need to defrost the frozen ones before using). You can add 1/3 cup chopped walnuts to the topping, if you like.

I made Whole Berry cranberry Sauce from the ball Website along with Cranberry Mustard (below) with was a hit at new years celebrations . I had to invest a little in mustard products but it turned out deliciously. The recipe makes about 7, 4oz jars and can be halved.

Cranberry Mustard You will need:

1 cup red wine vinegar
2/3 cup yellow mustard seeds
1 cup water
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2-3/4 cups fresh or frozen cranberries (about 2 12-oz bag)
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup dry mustard
2-1/2 tsp ground allspice
7 (4 oz) glass preserving jars with lids and bands
Directions:
1.) BRING vinegar to a boil in a medium saucepan. Remove from heat and add mustard seeds. Cover and let stand at room temperature until seeds have absorbed most of the moisture, about 1-1/2 hours
2.) PREPARE boiling water canner. Heat jars and lids in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil. Set bands aside.
3.) COMBINE mustard seeds and liquid, water and Worcestershire sauce in a food processor or blender. Process until slightly grainy. Add cranberries and blend until chopped.
4.) BRING cranberry mixture to a boil in a medium saucepan, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Whisk in sugar, dry mustard and allspice. Continue to simmer, stirring frequently, until volume is reduced by a third, about 15 minutes.
5.) LADLE hot mustard into hot jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Wipe rim. Center hot lid on jar. Apply band and adjust until fit is fingertip tight.
6.) PROCESS in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed.

http://freshpreserving.com/recipe.aspx?r=56IMG_1448I also made Cranberry pear jam from “Food in Jars.” I haven’t tried it yet but it hardened which is always a good sign for jam.
Ingredients

4 cups cored and chopped pears
4 cups fresh cranberries
3 cups sugar
1 lemon, juiced and zested

Instructions

Prepare a boiling water bath and 2 pint jars (or four half pints, eight quarter pints, or some combination thereof).
Combine chopped pears, cranberries, sugar and one cup of water* in a large, non-reactive pot. Stir to combine and then let the fruit and sugar sit, off the heat, until the sugar has begun to dissolve, about 10 minutes.
Once the sugar seems to be dissolving and the fruit has released some juice, place the pot over high heat and bring to a boil. When the fruit begins to boil, reduce the heat a little and keep the jam cooking at a low bubble.
Cook the jam for 15-25 minutes, stirring regularly, until it has reduced a great deal and begins to look thick and sticky.
When the jam seems to be nearly done, stir in the lemon zest and juice.
When you’ve arrived at a texture you like, remove the jam from the heat and funnel into prepared jars. Wipe rims, apply lids and rings and process jars in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
Once time is up, remove jars from canner and let them cool on a folded kitchen towel. When jars are cool, remove rings and test seals. Sealed jars are shelf stable. Any unsealed jars should be refrigerated and used promptly.
Makes 2 to 2 1/2 pints

I finished the cranberries by making a Cranberry Snow Cake from Myrecipes.com. The recipe asks for a white chocolate buttercream icing, and I don’t like white chocolate, I opted for my old faithful Wilton buttercream.

Snow Cake
Ingredients
Cake
• 10 ounce unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for pans
• 3 1/2 cups cake flour
• 4 teaspoons baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
• 7 large egg whites, at room temperature
Cranberry filling
• 3 3/4 cups cranberries, divided
• 3/4 cup granulated sugar
• 1 1/2 cups cranberry or cherry preserves
Preparation
1. Preheat oven to 325°. Butter two 9-in. cake pans; set aside.
2. Make cake: In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter and sugar together on low speed until light and fluffy. Add egg whites in 3 batches, scraping inside of bowl as needed. Beat in flour mixture in 5 batches, adding 1/4 cup water after each addition (you will begin and end with flour); make sure flour is completely blended each time before adding water. Pour batter into prepared pans, dividing evenly. Smooth tops with a spatula.
3. Bake until center of cake feels firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Cool cakes completely in pans on a rack.
4. Meanwhile, make cranberry filling: Combine 3 cups cranberries, the sugar, preserves, and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan and cook over high heat until cranberries pop and preserves melt, 5 to 10 minutes. Add remaining 3/4 cup cranberries, stir to combine, and remove from heat. Transfer to a small bowl and chill until ready to assemble cake.
5. Assemble: Rub tops of both cakes gently with your hands to remove browned outer surface, then carefully invert cakes and rub undersides so that cakes are completely white. Place 1 cake layer on a cake stand or serving plate, top side up. Using a pastry brush, brush top with half the liqueur. Spread about 1 1/2 cups cranberry mixture over layer with a metal spatula, leaving a 1/2-in. empty border around edge. Place second cake layer on top, flattest side down, and brush with remaining liqueur. Spread top and sides of cake with a thin layer of buttercream to seal in crumbs and chill 30 minutes. Cover with remaining buttercream, starting with the sides and covering the top last.
Make ahead: Baked cake layers can be wrapped in plastic and stored at room temperature or in the fridge up to 2 days ahead. Cranberry filling can be made up to 2 days ahead and chilled.

Butter Cream Icing (I always make a double batch that way I use a full bag of confectioners sugar)
Ingredients:
• 1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
• 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine softened
• 1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
• 4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar (approximately 1 lb.)
• 2 tablespoons milk
Makes:
About 3 cups of icing.
Instructions:
Step 1
In large bowl, cream shortening and butter with electric mixer. Add vanilla. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry. Add milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Keep bowl covered with a damp cloth until ready to use.
Step 2
For best results, keep icing bowl in refrigerator when not in use. Refrigerated in an airtight container, this icing can be stored 2 weeks. Rewhip before using.
Step 3
For thin (spreading) consistency icing, add 2 tablespoons light corn syrup, water or milk.
Step 4
For Pure White Icing (stiff consistency), omit butter; substitute an additional 1/2 cup shortening for butter and add 1/2 teaspoon No-Color Butter Flavor. Add up to 4 tablespoons light corn syrup, water or milk to thin for icing cakes.

All in all I would call it a very successful box of cranberries.

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