Thinking Outside the Jar: Cranberry Preserves

Since the arrival of our son, Samuel, life is definitely hopping! Before his arrival, I made up a batch of Cranberry Preserves, a la Linda Zeidrich, a lovely baked preserve that keeps the berries whole and imbued with lovely citrus flavours. What I love most about this recipe is its adaptability – you can either can it or store it in the fridge for up to a month. I chose the latter, since I had some big plans with the preserves and today, my first day of being alone with two kids, I managed to whip up this dessert using the stored Cranberry Preserves, but any kind of cranberry sauce will do.

For my American buddies, you may have plenty of leftover cranberry sauce and this is just one way to use it up besides pairing it with turkey. For my gluten-free/grain-free/dairy-free buddies, this cake is for you! The cake is beyond delicious and really easy to prepare. Enjoy!

Cranberry Preserves

German Chocolate Cranberry Cake

Recipe courtesy of a friend.

100 grams unsalted butter (or dairy-free margarine, if needed)

100 grams sugar

3 eggs, separated

4 tbsp cocoa powder

1 tbsp baking powder

150 grams almond flour

1  348 mL can whole cranberry sauce or equivalent home made

250 mL whipping cream, whipped (or whipped topping, if going dairy-free)

Dark chocolate shavings for topping.

1. Mix butter, sugar and egg yolks until they are frothy.

2. Add cocoa powder and baking powder, then almond flour.

3. Whip egg whites until stiff then fold into above mixture. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes in a greased spring-form pan and when you take it out, spread the cranberry sauce immediately over the top.   Cool.   Spread with whipped cream and sprinkle with chocolate shavings. Serve.

** Since I’m going dairy-free, I cut an individual slice and topped it with whipped topping and dairy-free dark chocolate, but feel free to slather the top of the cake with whipped cream and chocolate shavings before serving. **

As a side note, here are a few things I’ve learned about cooking with a toddler and newborn:

1. Wear your baby.

2. Now is the time to have “mise en place”! As much as you’d love to tackle a recipe from start to finish, chances are mayhem may ensue and you’ll get called away from your recipe. If you’ve got all your ingredients in place, it’ll make finishing that recipe even easier when you have a minute.

Mise En Place is Critical

3. Toddlers need to be watched like a hawk. No matter how many times I mentioned how we’d have cake when it was finished, I turn my back for a second and my 2 year old has eaten a big chunk of cake dough. Let’s hope those farm-fresh eggs won’t do any harm.


Thinking Outside the Jar Series: Cranberry Double Apple Crisp with Maple Chantilly Cream

Cranberry Double Apple Crisp with Maple Chantilly Cream

Have you ever seen “Castaway”? When Tom Hanks’ character figures out how to build fire, it’s a huge celebration and he proclaims: “I have made fire!”.

That’s how I feel about this apple crisp. Over at 100 Mile Locavores our family is doing the 100 Mile Challenge and it’s super handy to have a pantry full of preserves. Like tonight: we really wanted a dessert and were tired of plain yogurt mixed with jam, so I came up with this apple crisp that uses very basic, readily available ingredients. It’s delicious, simple and easy. It may even make you shout that *you* have made fire!

Cranberry Double Apple Crisp with Maple Chantilly Cream

2 lbs Empire apples

1 lb fresh cranberries

1 cup plus 3 tbsp apple butter

1 tbsp flour

pinch of salt

2 cups large flaked oats

1/4 cup flour

3/4 cup butter, melted

1/2 cup maple syrup

1 cup whipping cream (35%)

1 tbsp maple syrup


1. In preparation of whipping the cream, move bowl and beaters to the fridge to get cool while you prepare your crisp. Rinse and pat dry the cranberries. Peel and slice apples (I like to quarter them and slice them lengthwise) into a large mixing bowl. Add cranberries.

2. Add apple butter, flour and salt and toss together with apples and cranberries. Pour mixture into a deep dish pan.

3. Stir flour and oats together, pour in melted butter and maple syrup. Toss to coat evenly. Pour topping mixture over apple/cranberry combo and spread evenly.

4. Bake at 375 until bubbly and the topping is crisp and slightly browned, about 45 minutes.

5. While crisp is baking, prepare Chantilly cream.  With cold beaters and bowl, whip cream until slightly stiff. Pour in maple syrup. Whip until stiff and serve a nice fat dollop’s worth on your warm apple crisp.


** This recipe makes a LOT of crisp. I had enough to make a small 9 inch pie pan’s worth and freeze it for a future date. The apples cook up a bit mushier, but it still tastes great.

Pumpkin Cranberry Bread

Sounds good, doesn’t it? Here’s how I did it:

First – I roughly cribbed this recipe for Pumpkin-Walnut Bread with some modifications. Here’s my take on the recipe:

Pumpkin Cranberry Bread

2 cups all purpose flour (I used a gluten free mix, since gluten and I aren’t buds)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon, nutmeg and ground ginger
1/2 cup butter, room temperature.
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup pureed pumpkin
2 eggs, room temperature.
1/2 cup yogurt
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup fresh cranberries


1. Preheat oven to 325 and grease a loaf pan.

2. Stir flour, rising agents and spices together, set aside.

3. Stir milk and yogurt together, set aside. I like to leave this for 20 minutes or so until it comes to room temperature. If not, you risk seizing the butter in step 6.

4. Cream butter and sugar together until smooth.

5. Add vanilla and eggs, stir until smooth.

6. Alternate milk/yogurt mixture with dry flour mixture until combined. Add in cranberries and stir until just combined.

7. Pour into greased pan and bake for about an hour or until toothpick comes out clean.

For even more indulgence, I’m spooning some of uncanny‘s Lemon Ginger Syrup over top, but I’m sure it would be equally delicious with a simple icing sugar glaze/sprinkle. Enjoy!

Monthly Feature – Cranberries

As the weather turns colder, how about something to warm you up? How about a special! Each month from October to June, I’ll highlight a preserve or two, using a key ingredient of the season, provide flavour notes, a recipe and a discount on selected preserves.

First Up: Cranberries.

The perfect sweet and savoury berry. One of my favourite ways to enjoy cranberries, aside from a preserve, is in a crisp. Sliced firm apples, sparkling red berries and a crunchy oat topping make for a hearty and rustic dessert that’s easy to whip up. Here’s my favourite apple crisp recipe:

Apple Cranberry Crisp

1 1/2 cups large flake oats
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup melted butter
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
4-6 Cortland Apples
1 1/2 cups cranberries

Preheat oven at 350 degrees.

Peel apples, slice and toss together with cranberries. Mix dry ingredients together, add in melted butter to form the topping. Sprinkle a scant amount of topping on the bottom of your pan, add apple-cranberry mixture, pour topping over top. Bake for 30 minutes, or until apples have softened and top has browned (if you like the top crispier, put it under the broiler for a couple minutes, just watch it doesn’t burn).

* This recipe is very adaptable. Different apples will yield different results: Granny Smith’s won’t break down, so if you prefer a firmer apple and more texture, these are your apples. Cortland’s are lovely because they are so sweet and pair nicely with the tart cranberries.  Amazing with vanilla ice cream or freshly whipped cream.

Now onto the savings. Until mid-November, our delicious Cranberry Apple Butter and Sage and Thyme Cranberry Chutney are 15% off! Enjoy our cranberry apple butter spread over your morning muffin or mixed with cream cheese and spread on bagels. Our cranberry chutney is a generous mixture of local cranberries, Gravenstein apples, garden fresh sage and thyme, which combine with the sweet tang of a chutney and is at home alongside a holiday turkey, spread on a leftover turkey sandwich or spooned on top of brie and baked at 300 degrees until cheese has softened. The perfect holiday preserve!