I’ve been wanting to play with fresh cranberries for awhile now. But it seems like by the time I get to it the season is over and they’re nowhere to be seen. So the second I saw them in the store this year, I jumped on them. I’m playing with fresh cranberries this year and nobody is going to stop me! (I have a bit of the over-dramatic in me today.) I’ve always liked cranberry things but I’ve never cooked with them. Decided to change that. Decided to start with figuring out how cranberries work. And decided to taste one raw. That was a mistake. They’re awful. (Or at least the one I tried was.)
I decided to proceed by making things that are known to work before I go getting all weird on the cranberries. (Seemed prudent, but the wierdness tends to leak anyway.) I started with cranberry orange bread. The first try was pretty good but there was too much contrast between the sweet and the tart of the cranberries. So, I upped the zest and added in some almond extract with the vanilla and Grand Marnier. That did the trick.
It seems, and please do correct me if I’m way off base here, that cranberries have an extremely tart bordering on bitter outer shell with a fibrous inside, which is not so appealing raw but when prepared in certain ways, the flavor from the outside leaches into the fibrous middle making them soft, tart and quite nice. So, baked goods will work, next I’m going to play with raw goods. If anyone has any suggestions, do let me know.
Cranberry Orange Bread
2 1/2 c flour
1 c sugar
2 1/2 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
zest from 2 oranges
1 c fresh cranberries, chopped into large pieces
1/2 c almonds, chopped and toasted
2 eggs, lightly beaten
juice from orange + buttermilk or cream to fill up to 1 c total
1/4 c butter, melted
1 – 2 T Grand Marnier or 2 t orange extract
1 T vanilla extract
2 t almond extract
Preheat oven to 350°f. Prepare loaf pan by lining it with parchment paper and spraying with cooking spray.
Whisk together dry ingredients except cranberries and almonds. Toss cranberries and almonds in with a fork. Whisk wet ingredients into the eggs one at a time. Make a well in the dry ingredients. Pour in wet ingredients. Gently fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients and pour into prepared pan.
Hello prepared pan! (A knife stuck into this would not come out clean.)
Cook for 1 hour, or until a knife stuck into the middle comes out clean.
And now I’m off to do this! (Except in Portugal instead of Scotland. Oh, and this would be me photographing baby ducks as they bite my feet… while traveling… so not exactly this, but something similar, I’m sure.)