Thursday, December 9, 2021

'Tis The Season - For Cranberries!


‘Tis The Season  -  For Cranberries


For a festive and seasonal dessert, I’m showcasing cranberries.  Generally relegated to a relish or sauce or as an accent to pies or sweet breads, cranberries are in the limelight for my Christmas meal finale.  I’m making a vibrant and tart cranberry pie.  Bold flavors and brilliant colors combine for a lovely holiday presentation.  A silky, sweet-tart cranberry curd custard is cradled in an almond flour-based crust and tempered  by a cranberry purée-accented whipped cream topping for Christmas-y perfection. 



Cranberry Pie

(Recipe adapted from David Tanis of New York Times Cooking.)


For the cranberry curd filling:

4 cups fresh cranberries
1 ¼ cups sugar
½ cup water
¼ tsp kosher salt
3 egg yolks
2 tsp cornstarch
4 TB unsalted butter, softened, cut into 4 pieces 

Combine cranberries, sugar, water, and salt in a medium sauce pan and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until boiling.  Reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer, cover, and continue cooking about 10 minutes.  Cranberries should burst and shrivel a bit.  While cranberries are cooking, combine yolks and cornstarch, whisking until smooth.  Transfer hot cranberry mixture to food processor, adding yolk mixer and processing about 1 minute until smooth, scraping down sides as necessary.  Let mixture cool in processor about 1 hour.  While cooling, make crust.


For the crust:

Heat oven to 350°.

(I used a scale to measure the dry ingredients.  When baking, you’ll achieve better results when measuring dry ingredients by weight instead of volume.)

1 cup (4 oz.) almond flour
½ cup (2 oz.) cornstarch
⅓ cup (2 ⅓ oz.) sugar
½ tsp kosher salt
6 TB unsalted butter, melted and cooled
¾ tsp almond extract

Whisk dry ingredients until well-combined.  Pour in melted butter and almond extract. Stir until uniform dough forms.  Press ⅔ of the dough over bottom of a 9-inch springform pan, pressing evenly to distribute.  (I lined the bottom of the pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang, for ease in removal.)  Press remaining ⅓ around edge of pan.  Bake in 350° oven for about 20 minutes or until light golden brown, rotating pan halfway through.  Finish preparing the filling while crust cools.


 Finish the filling:

Add 4 TB butter to the cranberry mixture and process about 30 seconds, until incorporated.  Strain mixture through fine-mesh strainer, pressing with rubber spatula to extract purée.  Reserve 3 TB of the purée for the whipped cream topping.  Chill reserved purée.

 Pour remaining purée into crust, smoothing the top with an offset spatula.  Let sit at room temperature for 4 hours, then cover and refrigerate. 

 When ready to serve:

Remove ring of springform pan.  Slide thin metal spatula between crust and pan bottom (lined with parchment) to loosen, then slide onto serving platter.  Decorate with whipped cream topping. 


 For the whipped cream topping:

1 cup heavy cream
2 TB sugar
2 TB reserved cranberry purée

In a chilled bowl with chilled beaters, beat cream until thickened.  Slowly beat in sugar until medium-stiff peaks form.  The peaks should be just stiff enough to stand up firmly with a slight curl at the tips when the beaters are lifted.  Fold in the purée.  Transfer to pastry bag with a decorative tip (or snip off then end of a plastic bag) and pipe a border around edge of pie or wherever you want.  Transfer any remaining cream to a small serving bowl.  If you like, stir in the remaining tablespoon of cranberry purée and use as a cream sauce for the pie slices.


 Slice into wedges.  Use some of the loose cream from the serving bowl to form a pool and place wedge onto pool or pour some of the cream over top.  If you like, sprinkle with decorative red sugar.

  Now, for the step-by-steps:

Combine cranberries,
sugar, and water.

Stir to combine.
Bring to boil.

Then slow simmer.


Cook down.

Pour into processor.

Prepare yolk/cornstarch mixture:

Combine yolks
and cornstarch.


Until smooth.

Pour yolk/cornstarch
mixture into cranberries.

And purée
until it's beautiful.

Let cool for a bit.
While it's cooling, prepare the crust.

 4 oz almond flour
 2 oz cornstarch 
 2 1/3 oz sugar
1/2 tsp salt

Add in:
6 TB melted butter
3/4 tsp almond extract

 Mix until well-combined.
 Roll out evenly 
 into springform pan.
 And press up edges.

  Bake until golden.

Finish off the cranberry purée:

Add four TB softened butter.
And purée.

Pour purée into strainer.

 Press purée through the sieve.

  Pour strained cranberry purée
   into prepared crust.

Spread filling evenly.

 Remove from pan.

You can make a loose, pourable cream topping if you like.

Or you can make a thicker whipped cream and pipe it decoratively onto the pie.

Sprinkles are always fun!

Merry Christmas and enjoy!

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