At the time of this writing, I still had a hoard of cranberries in my freezer. If you like cranberries as much as I do, you buy many bags or that extra large bag, from the store when they show up around the holidays and stash them in the freezer. They will last a very long time. I was quite surprised to see them still in the store in early January...so naturally I bought more.
I love cranberries in my scones, in my cranberry-orange bread, as a relish for pork and of course with turkey. Just the other day, for the first time, I made a cranberry pie. I gave half to my neighbor and the response was “OMG, Sooooo good” which is always nice to hear. This neighbor had just given me a loaf of her pumpkin-cranberry bread and my response was the same!
Not really knowing much about where cranberries come from, I naturally Googled some information. I found that they are grown here in the Northeast and also all the way out West in Wisconsin, Oregon and Washington. They are strictly a fall fruit and contrary to that commercial with the guy standing in a sea of cranberries would have you think, they don’t grow in water. They grow on dense vines in dry beds, which are flooded during harvest as machines strip them from the vines. Apparently they float and fresh ones will bounce when they’re dropped. I’ve not tried it as the possibility of staining the floor lurks in my thoughts.
I know I gave the scone recipe in this column years ago, but it’s worth reprinting. I made them over the summer with blueberries, let the neighbors try them and now many are baking them all the time. My friend Pat has them baked and stashed in her freezer, heaven forbid she runs out. And the cranberry pie I mentioned above couldn’t be easier to make! So if you have a stash of these delectable berries like I do, try these recipes out.
My Favorite Scone Recipe
2 cups of flour
1⁄2 cup of sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. of salt
3⁄4 stick (6 tbs) of unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup of half & half
1⁄2 cup of your favorite fresh or dried fruit
(blueberries, raisins, cranberries, cherries, whatever)
Preheat the oven to 400°. Mix the dry ingredients together in one bowl. Mix the butter, milk and egg in another. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and stir gently. Add the fruit.
Drop by large spoonfuls onto a lightly floured (or use parchment paper) cookie sheet. Bake for 20 minutes. Makes 9-12 depending on the ‘large spoonful’. Store in a lidded container or wrap and freeze.
Nantucket Cranberry Pie
(from the Pioneer Woman’s Recipes)
Butter, for greasing
2 cups (heaping) of fresh cranberries
3/4 cups of pecans, chopped (measure - then
chop - I use sliced almonds)
2/3 cups of sugar
1 cup of flour
1 cup of sugar
1 stick of unsalted butter, melted
2 whole eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp. of pure almond extract
1/4 tsp. of salt
1 Tb. of sugar for sprinkling (I used cinnamon sugar)
Preheat oven to 350°. Generously butter a cake pan or pie pan. Add cranberries to the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle on chopped pecans, then sprinkle on the 2/3 cup of sugar.
In a mixing bowl, combine flour, 1 cup of sugar, melted butter, eggs, almond extract and salt. Stir gently to combine. 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. 5 minutes before removing from oven, sprinkle the surface with the 1-tablespoon of sugar for a little extra crunch and sweetness. Cut into wedges and serve with vanilla ice cream or freshly whipped cream. Serves 10.