What to do with half a bag of whole fresh cranberries
December 28, 2010 9:45 AM   Subscribe

I have half a bag of whole fresh cranberries. What dessert or appetizer can I make?

I would love your favourite recipes! I love cranberries, and there's more family coming on the weekend, so a dessert or appetizer would be great!
All I can think of is some kind of pie or cranberry squares.
The recipes I know use dried cranberries (fudge, biscotti), but I'm not sure if I can exchange dried for fresh?
If needed I have some frozen cranberries kicking around too.
posted by SarahbytheSea to Food & Drink (22 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
posted by griphus at 9:51 AM on December 28, 2010

Rachel at coconutlime.blogspot.com has a lot of unusual recipes using fresh cranberries... her bittersweet cranberry brownies look fantastic. All the cranberry recipes are linked at the side of the page. Don't substitute fresh for dried, they behave very differently.
posted by fingersandtoes at 9:52 AM on December 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

I usually just toss frozen cranberries into a square pan with a little water, some sugar or honey, some cornstarch and top with a mix of brown sugar, uncooked oatmeal and ground walnuts. Cook at 350F until it looks done. When I'm feeling fancy, I put a lime's worth of zest with the cranberries and squeeze the juice in.

Sorry I don't have a more precise recipe. I've never measured when making it.
posted by QIbHom at 9:59 AM on December 28, 2010

What about Cranberries shortcake? a cup of sugar, a cup of water, 3 tablespoons of corn starch and 3 tablespoons of jello on medium heat until boiling, add cranberries and put it over your angel food. Top it with whip cream or mix whip cream, condensed milk and cream cheese.
posted by 3dd at 10:00 AM on December 28, 2010

Best answer: Sugared cranberries are stupidly easy and incredibly addictive.
posted by rtha at 10:07 AM on December 28, 2010 [3 favorites]

Cranberry Pecan Upside Down Cake. There are tons of variations out there with a little googling, some with pumpkin, some without pecans....
posted by Clytie at 10:12 AM on December 28, 2010

Best answer: BEST CRANBERRY RECIPE EVER. It perfectly balances the sweetness of sugar with the tartness of cranberries to make something more edible than I would have believed possible. Also really, REALLY easy: Mix, dump into pan, mix next set of ingredients, dump on top. Done --the batter spreads itself out as things cook. Ten minutes prep time and into the oven it goes!

Molly's Cranberry Pie

Makes 1 pie. Pre-heat oven to 325.
NOTE: For GLASS PANS: Cook at 300 (25 degrees less) and PRE-GREASE pan.

10" pie pan (NO pie crust)
2 cups fresh cranberries (wash & pick out any that don't feel firm.)
1/2 cup chopped nuts (pecans, walnuts are good. A hammer works well for crushing up "halved" nuts)
1/2 cup sugar
Mix cranberries, nuts & sugar & spread in bottom of pie plate.

Mix separately:
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter (pre-melted.15 seconds in a microwave usually does the trick.)
2 eggs
1 tsp. almond extract (you may THINK you'll never use it again, but almond is a GREAT mystery ingredient. Besides, my money says you'll be making this recipe again soon :D! )
Pour evenly over cranberries & nuts.

Bake 1 hour at 325 degrees (F).
To check for done-ness, insert toothpick (or clean dry knife) in center. Should come out clean (maybe some sugar & cranberry bits sticking to it, but NO dough). If it's not clean, keep cooking and checking.

Molly recommends serving with icecream or whip-cream, but this is really overkill, in my book.
posted by Ys at 10:13 AM on December 28, 2010 [8 favorites]

(It's basically Clytie's recipe with almond extract.)
posted by Ys at 10:15 AM on December 28, 2010

Pretty much anything you can do with regular berries you can do with cranberries.

I had a roommate use a compote made from leftover homemade cranberry sauce as the center frosting layer in a dark chocolate sour cream cake and it was really yummy.
posted by small_ruminant at 10:17 AM on December 28, 2010

Make them as you would for Thanksgiving (not having the recipe in front of me - boil in water/orange juice with sugar until they pop, add a squeeze of lemon juice, orange zest, maybe some ginger) then freeze them. Serve aside some pistachio ice cream - looks pretty/nice color combination, contrast of icy vs. creamy textures, and flavor combination.
posted by marimeko at 10:20 AM on December 28, 2010

Using the above recipes from QIbHom or Clytie or Ys, mix in some cherries with the cranberries. A friend brought over a cobbler-thing last night with cranberry/cherry mixture topped with the oat/brownsugar stuff - it was great. I'm guessing the cherries were canned.
posted by CathyG at 10:27 AM on December 28, 2010

Cranberry Pecan Frangipane Tart. The pictures keep tempting me, but I haven't gotten to it yet.
posted by deludingmyself at 10:28 AM on December 28, 2010

Of my various pie recipes, the one that gets the most praise, hands-down, is my apple-cranberry-walnut pie. Rather than post an entire recipe, I'll refer you to standard fruit pie recipes and note the departures.

*subsitute a quarter-cup of cornmeal for a quarter-cup of the flour in the crust
*filling is 4c chopped apples, 1c halved cranberries, 1c chopped walnuts; mix with 3/4 to 1 cup sugar, 1/4 to 1/3 cup flour, teaspoon cinnamon, pinch cloves, 2tbsp butter on top.
* apples bake a little dry in my experience, so I choose the juiciest (most dense) red apples I can find and use a sheet top crust with relatively little ventilation. A lattice would kill this pie.

Good luck!
posted by richyoung at 10:31 AM on December 28, 2010

Candied cranberries. Gorgeous & delicious.
posted by judith at 11:03 AM on December 28, 2010 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Gosh I'm delighted, thanks for all the ideas so far!
@Ys and @Clytie, I want to try this cake! and @Ys I'm all for the almond extract, I have some already and used it in sugar cookies this year :)
Or hmm maybe @small_ruminant's chocolate sour cream cake with cranberry compote with @rtha's sugared cranberries as decorations (this triggered a memory, I've heard good things about these).
posted by SarahbytheSea at 11:07 AM on December 28, 2010

Thirding the sugared/candied cranberries. They're incredible.
posted by contraption at 11:11 AM on December 28, 2010

Here's an old family recipe for cranberry bread that's really tasty - the sour and sweet melds together so nicely.

2 cups cranberries cut in half
1 1/8 cups sugar
2 cups flour
1/2 cup pecans toasted
2 tablespoons margarine melted
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 pinch salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons orange rind grated
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
Beat egg, orange juice, and water together. Add dry ingredients. pour into greased loaf pan and bake at 350° for 70 minutes.
posted by Addlepated at 11:56 AM on December 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

Ohhh I love cranberries too and I have 2lbs in my freezer begging to be used! Here's a couple of my favorite cranberry recipes:

Apple Cranberry Caramel Tart(s)probably won't use up all of your cranberries, but it's oh so good. Makes 4 4-inch mini tarts or 1 9-inch tart. I served this for Thanksgiving to rave reviews.

Cranberry Upside-Down Coffee Cake is great for breakfast, snacking, or dessert, and it looks pretty enough to impress guests. Love it.
posted by geeky at 3:45 PM on December 28, 2010

This is the very best, most amazing, can't-stop-eating it cranberry sauce ever: Spiced-Tea Cranberry Sauce. It's become an instant classic, demanded every year, in more than one household I've introduced it to.

I also made these this year - Cranberry Curd Bars - and they were a big hit. Very unusual and tasty. A whole lot of steps, though.
posted by Squeak Attack at 4:00 PM on December 28, 2010

I love this recipe for cranberry pudding. The recipe says to use a double broiler but it's worked fine for me to cook it in a bundt pan for 20 minutes at 325F, or until the knife comes out clean. I also don't bother to frost the cranberries but have left that step in.

1 egg
1/2 cup light molasses
1/3 cup warm water
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
Frosted cranberries, see below
Caramel sauce, see below

Frosted cranberries:
1 egg white
1 1/2 cups fresh or thawed frozen cranberries
1/3 cup sugar

Caramel sauce:
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 pint whipping cream (1 cup)
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325F (165C) Butter a ridged steamed-pudding mold or a 1 quart straight-sided casserole that has a lid. A charlotte mold also works well. In a large bowl, beat egg, molasses, and water. In a medium bowl, thoroughly mix flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Place cranberries in a medium bowl. Add 2 tablespoons flour mixture to cranberries, mix until cranberries are well-coated. Stir remaining flour mixture into egg mixture, blending until smooth. Fold in cranberries. Turn into buttered mold. Place in a larger pan. Pour boiling water to a depth of 1 inch in pan. Bake, covered, 2 hours or until a skewer inserted in center comes out clean. While pudding cooks, prepare Frosted Cranberries, set aside. Prepare Caramel Sauce. Serve pudding warm or at room temperature. Unmold warm or cooled pudding onto a serving plate. Pour Caramel Sauce over pudding, garnish with Frosted Cranberries. Makes 6 servings.

Frosted Cranberries:
In a medium bowl, beat egg white until frothy. Brush egg white over cranberries until well-coated. Sprinkle coated cranberries with sugar. Dry completely before using.

Caramel Sauce:
In a medium saucepan, combine butter, cream, and sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook, stirring constantly, about 5 minutes or until syrupy. For a thick golden sauce, cook 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in vanilla. Makes about 1 cup.
posted by flod logic at 4:36 PM on December 28, 2010

No-frills cranberry sauce .. tasty and tart.

2 parts cranberries, 1 part sugar, 1/2 part water. Mix in a saucepan and bring to a boil. After 10 minutes at a hard boil while stirring occasionally, turn off the heat. Leave on the stove until cool, then transfer to the refrigerator and let sit overnight or until set.
posted by initapplette at 6:18 PM on December 28, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks so much everyone!
posted by SarahbytheSea at 2:30 PM on December 29, 2010

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