Wednesday, December 29, 2010

An abundance of cranberries

A worker at an organic food store once commented, when asked if they had any dried cranberries, that they did not carry them because it is impossible to find them unsweetened and they didn't want them corrupted with sugar.  His sour response might be due to the fact that he is probably the only person who would prefer unsweetened cranberries. One must admit, a gigantic industry has been created out of cultivating and processing a sour. sour type of fruit. As such it has become an American standard associated with Thanksgiving and the holiday seasons when the little balls of tartness ripen and appear in stores. Pass the cranberry sauce please.

That's a load of cranberries

A touch of green perhaps

Loaded on top of a coffee cake batter instead of mixed daring!

But today's offering somewhat belies the reality that cranberries are mainly used sparingly if they are not going to be massively sweetened.  We had a cranberry orange coffee cake that was unusual in that instead of the cranberries mixed in like a muffin, a dense layer of fresh berries was instead atop a plain coffee cake. They were topped with a clear sweetened glaze, of course, lest the taste be unbearably sour but the whole thing worked.  It included some sweetened orange rind as a garnish which complemented the cranberries nicely.  You still got the tangy taste from the fresh berries but in all it was a bold move to feature them in such a cake format. And it was perfect for the holiday season. All that was needed was a swatch of green for the Christmas color scheme.

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