Thursday, November 10, 2011

Fresh Cranberry and Apple Cake

I use dried cranberries in a lot of different recipes: chicken salad, spinach salad, scones, trail mix, wild rice stuffing... they're easy to find and add a sweet and slightly tart flavor to a lot of dishes.

But for a few months a year I'm able to find cranberries in their original form - the fresh variety.

I had my first up-close experience (though I'm pretty sure I've gone as a kid at some point) with a cranberry bog this fall in Nantucket. We went there for our babymoon, and although I'm pretty sure I wasn't supposed to do this, I went ahead, reached down and popped a few fresh cranberries in my mouth. They were tart and bitter with tiny seeds, but they had great potential, and since I was craving the tart stuff I knew what I wanted to cook when I got home: anything fresh cranberry.

This recipe is adapted from Ina Garten's and has been a nice way to start the day, end the day, or enjoy with a cup of tea for a few months now:

Gluten-free Fresh Cranberry and Apple Cake

  • 12 ounces fresh cranberries, rinsed and picked over for stems
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and diced
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest (2 oranges)
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 1/8 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
  • 2 extra-large eggs
  • 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour (I used King Arthur - my new favorite)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F.

Combine the cranberries, apple, brown sugar, orange zest, orange juice, and 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon in a medium bowl.

In a separate bowl, beat the eggs on medium-high speed for 2 minutes. With the mixer on medium, add the 3/4 cup of granulated sugar, the butter, vanilla, and sour cream and beat just until combined. On low speed, slowly add the flour and salt.

Pour the fruit mixture evenly into a 10-inch pie plate. Pour the batter over the fruit, covering it completely.

Combine the remaining 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar and 1/8 teaspoon of cinnamon and sprinkle it over the batter. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean and the fruit is bubbling around the edges. Serve warm or at room temperature.