IT’S A CRANBERRY WORLD

It’s a gloomy, rainy November morning.  To chase the dark away I’ve lighted candles.   Amsterdam shares similar dark, rainy winter days.   It’s an old city with few stand alone homes.   The old apartments have big, tall windows and  at street level you  can’t help but glance in.  The Dutch seldom draw their curtains.    I loved the way they would light candles in the daytime.  It’s a custom  I brought back with me.

This would be a good day to do some pre-Christmas baking.    Something red.  Something that says Christmas.  Cranberries!

We live just down the road from these beautiful cranberry fields.  When they harvest these ruby jewels they flood the fields and the cranberries float to the top.  It’s a beautiful sight. Our good neighbors delivered a bucket  of  cranberries to our kitchen.  I froze them to use for Christmas baking.  Today is the day to bring out the cranberries.

CRANBERRY STREUSEL CAKE

Bring t his buttery, rich cake to a holiday brunch, or make one as a special morning treat for your family or weekend guests.  The warm aromas of cinnamon and nutmeg will fill your kitchen with their festive fragrance.  This cake can be prepared ahead and frozen, then warmed up again in the oven, assuring you that you’ll always have something special on hand  for surprise guests.

FOR THE CAKE:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour,     1/2 cup sugar,     1 1/2 tsp baking powder,     1/4 tsp salt,     5 tbsp butter, chilled and cut into small pieces,     2 eggs,     1/4 cup milk,     1/2 tsp vanilla,     1 12 ounce bag whole fresh cranberries or about two cups thawed frozen cranberries.

FOR THE TOPPING:

4 tbs butter,     1 cup brown sugar,      1 tsp ground cinnamon,     1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

1. Heat oven to 375degreesF.  Butter bottom and sides of a 9-inch-round springform pan.  LIne bottom with a circle of parchment paper; butter the parchment.

2. In a large mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter.  Using a pastry blender or your fingertips, work the mixture to combine,  mixture should resemble coarse grain.

3.  In a small bowl, whisk together egg, milk, and vanilla.  Stir into flour mixture just until blended.  This is quite a stiff  mixture.

4. Spread batter into baking pan.  Sprinkle cranberriees evenly over top.

5. Make the topping:  In a small saucepan, melt butter over low heat.  Stir in brown sugar and spices.  Sprinkle evenly over cake.

Bake until top is browned and skewer inserted into centre of the cake comes out clean, about 45 minutes.  Cool on wire rack for ten minutes before removing sides from pan.  Serve cake warm.  This recipe is also available , as usual, to the right.

 

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