17 November 2008
Fall. Thanksgiving. Winter.
There is nothing that screams TURKEY TIME!! like the cranberry. The much maligned, pucker-inducing, vampish-red cranberry, fruit flavor of too many gelatinous ridgèd gels that embrace the main event come the fourth Thursday of November. No table is complete without it, even mine--we always, always have to have a can on hand for my father.
I vividly remember the first time I made cranberry sauce from fresh cranberries. Sugar, water, cranberries, a wooden spoon, a deep pot, heat. The POP! POP! POP! of the cranberries when they were sufficiently heated through, the spraying of the staining juice both into the pot and onto my shirt. The lushness of the sauce, sweet and sour, thickening and gelling over the heat, and then again in the cold of the fridge. I was hooked--both on the magic of the stove and on anything cranberry.
Which is why I present another quick bread, even though it seems like we just made one. Cranberry orange bread, possibly among the easiest and most accessible cranberry recipes, where there's plenty of sugar to temper the tart of the berries. I hadn't made this for a long time--not since college, when I was in the process of wooing Jeff--he came over to bake, and has been hooked on it (and me!) ever since. The orange provides a nice accent for the cranberries, though next time (I hadn't made this since college, actually) I would take out about 1/4-1/3 cup of the sugar, and maybe add some orang zest next time--lemon or lime would work equally well. In any case, be sure to have with a good cup of tea for an afternoon snack.
Cranberry Orange Bread
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter, melted
3/4 cup orange juice
1 egg, well-beaten
1 1/2 cups chopped cranberries (use a food processor and make your life easy)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a standard size loaf pan--either grease really well, or use a large rectangle of parchment paper, my preferred route.
2. Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large-ish bowl. Make a well in the middle, and add wet ingredients, being sure not to over mix. Fold in the cranberries in at the end; pour batter into prepared pan.
3. Bake 55 minutes to 1 hour, or until a knife comes out clean.