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Dessert

Don’t let supply chain issues make you snap

Cranberry Orange Gingersnap Tart
This cranberry orange tart is made with fresh fruit and is surrounded by a spicy gingersnap crust. The flavors are perfect for the holidays.

In 1973, late-night host Johnny Carson made a joke about a supposed toilet paper shortage during his opening monologue.

That joke, along with some press releases from a member of Congress, led to an actual toilet paper shortage as people cleaned stores out and the empty shelves reinforced the rumor.

Right now, it seems supply chain problems are causing some of those same issues. I can’t possibly be the only person this year who spent good money on some name-brand pureed pumpkin when the generic brand was out just in case there wasn’t some on the shelves before Thanksgiving.

And another victim of current shortages is one I wouldn’t have been able to predict: gingersnaps.

Now, I have no official data to back up my claim that there’s a shortage of gingersnaps out there, but I can tell you I ended up at four different local stores before I finally found some for this week’s recipe. They’re out there. You just have to do a little sleuthing to find them.

But I will tell you that this week’s recipe is not only a dessert tailor-made for the holidays, but it’s worth driving all around town to find the ingredients.

The recipe I tried comes from the blog “All Purpose Flour Child” by Taylor Harbin. You can find her original post at http://www.allpurposeflourchild.com/blog/cranberry-orange-curd-gingersnap-tart. I added extra cinnamon in my version.

Cranberry Orange Gingersnap Tart
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Cranberry Orange Gingersnap Tart

This cranberry orange tart is made with fresh fruit and is surrounded by a spicy gingersnap crust. The flavors are perfect for the holidays.
Course Dessert
Keyword Christmas, cinnamon, cranberry, fresh fruit, gingersnaps, orange, tart, Thanksgiving

Ingredients

Crust Ingredients

  • 12 ounces gingersnap cookies
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon molasses

Filling Ingredients

  • 12 ounces whole fresh cranberries
  • 1/4 cup freshly-squeezed orange juice
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • zest of 1 large orange
  • 4 tablespoons butter

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Place the gingersnaps in a food processor and process until they are in fine crumbs. Pulse in the cinnamon and salt. In a small, microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter in the microwave. Stir in the molasses until it’s smooth, and then add the mixture to the food processor. Pulse until everything is well combined.
  • Dump the crust mixture into a 12-inch tart pan (you can substitute a deep pie pan or a springform pan). Press the mixture with the bottom of a glass or measuring cup to spread it evenly, making sure to press it up the sides of the pan.
  • Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until the crust is golden. Set it aside.
  • For the filling, combine the cranberries with 1/4 cup water and the orange juice in a saucepan. Cover the mixture and let it cook for about 15 minutes or until the cranberries are soft.
  • Position a fine mesh strainer over a bowl and drain the cranberries into it, pressing to get the puree into the bowl and leaving the berry skins in the strainer. Once you’re finished, return the puree to the saucepan.
  • In another bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until the mixture is a pale yellow.
  • Add a little of the hot cranberry puree into the egg mixture and stir to temper the eggs, and then dump all of it into the saucepan over medium heat.
  • Whisk constantly until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter and orange zest. Continue stirring until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth.
  • Pour the filling into the prepared crust and smooth it out. Chill it in the refrigerator until it’s set (30 minutes to an hour), and serve.

This is a gorgeous dessert, and the orange and cranberry are a perfect combination with the warm spices in the crust. The filling has a bit of a tartness to it, which is an especially nice flavor profile when there are tons of sweets around.

And if you’re in a bind, you can totally substitute in some vanilla wafers or graham crackers for this crust—as long as they don’t fall victim to shortages, too.

But at least it’s just cookies we’re having trouble getting ahold of. The last thing we need right before having people over for the holidays is a toilet paper shortage.

This piece first appeared in print on Nov. 18, 2021.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

Categories
Dessert Salad Side Dish

Recipe traditions can provide a ‘berry’ Christmas

This simple combination of ingredients is a beautiful addition to the family table for the holidays.

This is the first year of major holidays our family will celebrate without my maternal grandparents. Thanksgiving was a tough transition to the new normal, and I know Christmas will be even more difficult.

When my paternal grandmother passed away several years ago, I began taking solace in using her pie pans every holiday season. Bringing them out of my cupboard always makes me feel close to her.

I employed the same strategy this Thanksgiving, baking pies in her pans, and then pulling out the handwritten recipe for cranberry sauce I asked my maternal grandma for only a year before.

In typical Grandma fashion, there were no measurements—although, to her credit, she wrote it down for me from memory while we sat chatting after dinner—but as I tentatively walked the aisles of my grocery store, wondering if I’d be able to decipher what she meant by a “tuna-sized” can of crushed pineapple, I discovered that her instructions were perfect.

She had given me just what I needed to recreate the cranberry sauce that graced her Thanksgiving and Christmas tables alike throughout my childhood.

So I wanted to share it with you this week. I added the measurements for the ingredients now that I have them figured out.

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Lola’s Cranberry Sauce

This simple combination of ingredients is a beautiful addition to the family table for the holidays.
Course Dessert, Salad, Side Dish
Keyword Christmas, cranberry, pineapple, Thanksgiving

Ingredients

  • 6- ounce package cherry gelatin
  • 8 ounces crushed pineapple
  • 14 ounces jellied cranberry
  • 1 cup diced celery

Instructions

  • Prepare the cherry gelatin according to package instructions. Once it is set up, proceed with the next step.
  • Drain the crushed pineapple well.
  • In a serving bowl, stir together all the ingredients. (It’s kind of fun to mess up a whole batch of perfectly set gelatin.)
  • Once everything is well-combined, serve or refrigerate covered overnight.

This has always been one of my favorite side dishes at our family get togethers. It’s certainly nothing fancy, and I don’t think it would win any culinary awards, unlike many of my grandma’s other recipes, but it tastes like the holidays to me.

My favorite way to eat it growing up (and I confess I may still employ this strategy), was to put a spoonful into the middle of a dinner roll and enjoy it like jelly.

I will warn you that the gelatin and jellied cranberry break down pretty quickly if you leave this sitting in the refrigerator for a few days, so it’s best to either stir it up the same day you plan to enjoy it or the night before.

I chopped my celery and mixed up the gelatin the night before so it was simple to throw together right before our meal.

And if you get some especially green celery, you’ll get perfect Christmas colors to add to the holiday table.

I’m still working on perfecting recipes from both of my grandmothers without the benefit of their help these days. It always makes me feel connected to them, even if I’m not always the best at recreating each dish.

Celebrating the holidays without loved ones is tough, but just like my grandma’s handwritten notes for cranberry sauce, the people we’ve lost often give us just what we need to keep going—whether we realize it or not.

This piece first appeared in print on Dec. 12, 2019.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

Categories
Breakfast Dessert

‘Pecan’ make ‘berry’ good coffeecake

A cranberry-laden coffeecake is perfect for breakfast or for any occasion where cake is present—no glazes or frosting needed.

Before I get any letters or people shaking their heads at me, yes, I know I did a large swath of cranberry recipes this winter, and here I am sharing yet another one with you.

I couldn’t help myself.

If you’re like me, you can’t get enough of cranberry desserts, but for those of you who are sick and tired of those little red berries, rest assured that this coffeecake would be great with blueberries, too, so if you’d rather use fresh fruit than frozen now that spring is knocking at the door, I’d go that route.

But regardless of whether you like cranberries or not, there’s no denying that they make for a beautiful dessert. There’s a great wow factor when it comes to those bright red spots poking through.

I took this coffeecake to a gathering with family, and we devoured it.

I found this recipe on the blog “Lemon Tree Dwelling.” You can find the original at https://www.lemontreedwelling.com/cranberry-pecan-coffee-cake/. I changed up the spice mixture, doubled the vanilla and decided to skip making a glaze for this coffee cake. It’s moist and perfect without it.

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Cranberry-Pecan Coffeecake

A cranberry-laden coffeecake is perfect for breakfast or for any occasion where cake is present—no glazes or frosting needed.
Course Breakfast, Dessert
Keyword coffeecake, cranberries, pecans

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup plus 6 tablespoons butter, divided and softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries or blueberries or thawed, drained frozen berries
  • a scant 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup pecans coarsely chopped

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and lightly flour a tube pan and set it aside.
  • Cream together the 1/2 cup butter, sugar and vanilla.
  • Beat in the eggs.
  • Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and sour cream and beat until well combined.
  • In a separate bowl, combine the remaining butter, salt, brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and pecans.
  • Pour half of the batter into the tube pan and spread it out evenly. Top with half of the cranberries and half the spice mixture.
  • Spread the rest of the batter evenly into the pan and top with the remaining cranberries and spice mixture.
  • Bake for 50 to 60 minutes until golden brown and a toothpick inserted near the center comes out dry.
  • Cool completely before removing the cake from the pan. Store in an airtight container.

I threw some extra whole pecans on the top of my coffeecake, too, to give it a prettier top.

And, yes, I probably have a cranberry addiction, but there are worse things, I suppose. I’ll try to give you more variety in my ingredients going into spring and summer, but I probably can’t make any promises.

This piece first appeared in print on March 14, 2019.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.