Admit it. Cranberries used to be boring: just a ho-hum side dish that made its biannual holiday appearances and disappeared into culinary obscurity the rest of the year.
CRANBERRY SPICE CAKE with CRANBERRY COMPOTE
More often than not, cranberries simply were dumped from a can, either jellied or sauce. Seems like mundane treatments for a berry so revered by Native Americans long before the arrival of the first Europeans.
These tangy berries deserve more respect.
THIS CAKE IS SO SCRUMPTIOUS!
Tantalizing salsas, chutneys and sauces appear more frequently on menus and in cookbooks. Glamorous cranberry desserts show off on dessert carts and bakery shelves. And many supermarkets offer bags of flash-frozen cranberries year-round.
To follow, some luscious cranberry-centric suggestions;
A formula for a luscious cranberry cake (can be prepared 3 days in advance – room temperature for cake, refrigerate compote), as well as a spicy-sweet-sour salsa that can breathe new life into turkey leftovers (can be prepared 2 weeks in advance without cilantro – refrigerated).
PERKY CRANBERRY SALSA WITH TURKEY (OR CHICKEN) QUESADILLAS
The tartness of fresh cranberries pairs well with sweet, buttery baked goods. This sweet-tart cake is delicious for breakfast, or served as a holiday dessert accompanied with a sweet, maple syrup based cranberry compote.
Cranberry Spice Cake
Yield: 8 servings
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
One 8-inch square baking dish
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups (8 ounces) fresh (or frozen, thawed) cranberries
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon freshly grated orange zest
2 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup apple cider or apple juice
1 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
3 tablespoons strained fresh lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
Optional for serving: Citrus-Cranberry Compote, see cook’s notes
Cook’s notes: For the compote, finely grate zest from 1 orange and set aside. Using a sharp paring knife cut off peel and white pith from orange. Working over a small bowl, cut between membranes to release segments into bowl. In a medium saucepan, combine zest, 2 cups fresh or thawed frozen cranberries, 1 cup maple syrup and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract. Cook on medium, stirring occasionally, until cranberries burst, 5 to 8 minutes. Cool completely. Stir in orange segments. Cover and chill.
1. For cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat bottom and sides of 8-inch square baking pan with nonstick spray. Line bottom with parchment paper; coat paper with spray. Whisk flour and next 5 ingredients in a medium bowl and set aside. Pulse cranberries in a food processor until finely chopped but not puréed; set aside.
2. Stir sugar, brown sugar, and oil in another medium bowl to blend. Add eggs one at a time, stirring to blend between additions. Whisk in sour cream, orange zest, lemon zest, and vanilla.
3. Whisk in dry ingredients in 3 additions, alternating with apple cider (or juice) in 2 additions and whisking to blend. Fold in chopped cranberries. Scrape batter into prepared pan; smooth top.
4. Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until a tester inserted into center of cake comes out almost clean, 60 to 70 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack; let cake cool in pan for 15 minutes. Run a thin knife around inside of pan to release cake; turn out cake onto rack. Peel off parchment paper, then flip cake and let cool for 20 minutes.
5. For lemon glaze: Whisk powdered sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt in a small bowl. Spread glaze over warm cake, allowing it to drip down sides. Let stand until glaze becomes crackly, about 1 hour. Serve at room temperature, with compote spooned next to it.
DO AHEAD: Cake can be made 3 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature. Compote can be refrigerated up to 3 days.
Source: Adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine
Cranberry Salsa is a blend of sweet, spicy and tart flavors. It goes splendidly with Mexican food made with leftover turkey; enchiladas, tacos or simple quesadillas taste glorious with a spoonful of Cranberry Salsa on top. Preparation is easy; all the ingredients are placed in a food processor and pulse-chopped together.
Yield: 3 cups
1/2 cup frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
1 red bell pepper, cored and seeded, coarsely chopped
1 fresh jalapeno chili, seeds and veins removed, minced, see cook’s notes
1/2 medium red onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon cumin seed
1/2 cup washed and drained cilantro, coarsely chopped, see cook’s notes
Cook’s notes: Use caution when working with fresh chilies. Wash work surface and hands thoroughly upon completion; do NOT touch your eyes. If you want to prepare this salsa in advance, do not add the cilantro. The cilantro becomes slimy after a day or two. Add the cilantro just before serving.
For turkey quesadillas, work in batches. Heat 2 teaspoons vegetable oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet on medium; place 1 flour tortilla in the skillet. Top with 1 teaspoon finely diced red onion, 1 to 2 tablespoons shredded cheese (such as the packaged 4-cheese Mexican shredded cheeses) and shredded cooked turkey. Top with more cheese and second tortilla. Cook for 2 minutes, until golden, then flip over and cook a further 1 to 2 minutes until the other side is golden and the cheese has melted. Transfer to cutting board and cut into 6 wedges.
1. Place all salsa ingredients in a food processor fitted with the metal blade; pulse until ingredients are coarsely chopped.
DO AHEAD: Can be stored without the cilantro, airtight, up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.