Cranberries are a super food

This is cranberry season in the US.  Cranberries are a member of the heather family and related to blueberries, bilberries, and lingonberries.

Many health gurus consider cranberries to be a superfood due to their high nutrient and antioxidant content.  Cranberries are very high in bioactive plant compounds and antioxidants. The research says that they lower risk of urinary tract infection, prevent of certain types of cancer (especially stomach), improve immune function, and decrease blood pressure. Cranberries are a good source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, vitamin E, copper, vitamin K1 and vitamin B6.  

Choose your juice wisely

Read the labels carefully. There’s a big difference between cranberry juice cocktail (or cranberry drink) and real cranberry juice. Juice cocktails contain added sugars like high fructose corn syrup which is very unhealthy. These mixes contain just a small amount of actual cranberry juice. Look for labels that say “made with 100 percent real juice”.

Cranberries are so versatile and supper healthy that we should try to eat them all year.

This holiday season trade in the pumpkin pie for a cranberry Curd Tart!

Cranberry Curd Tart

Ingredients

The crust could be made in advance or you can just purchase a pre-made crust!

For the hazelnut crust:

  • 1 ¼ cups/180 grams raw hazelnuts
  • 1 cup/125 grams flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup/112 grams sugar
  • 6 tablespoons/100 grams softened butter

For the cranberry curd:

  • 12 ounces/340 grams cranberries
  • 1 cup/225 grams sugar
  • Zest and juice of 1 orange (about ½+  cup)
  • 4 ounces/113 grams softened butter (1 stick)
  • 2 eggs plus 2 egg yolks

Preparation

  1. Make the crust: Heat oven to 325 degrees. Put hazelnuts on a baking sheet and roast for 10 to 15 minutes, until skins darken and crack. Put roasted nuts in a clean towel and rub off skins. Discard skins and let nuts cool.
  2. In a food processor, grind nuts with half the rice flour until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Add remaining rice flour and salt and pulse briefly.
  3. Cream sugar and butter in a mixing bowl with a wooden spoon for a minute or two until pale and thick. Add nut mixture and combine until dough comes together. If it seems crumbly, add 1 to 2 tablespoons softened butter or a little cold water.
  4. Press dough evenly into a 10-inch tart pan; use half the dough for the sides and half for the bottom. Prick bottom with a fork and freeze for 30 minutes (or several days if desired).
  5. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Bake chilled tart shell about 15 minutes until lightly brown. Cool.

While the crust bakes and cools, make the cranberry curd: Put cranberries, sugar and orange juice and zest in a saucepan over medium heat. Simmer until cranberries have popped and softened, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a food mill or medium mesh sieve and press cooking liquid and solids into a bowl. (Alternatively, for the most vibrant color, purée the cooked cranberry and orange mixture with an immersion blender or in a food processor or blender. Press through a fine-mesh sieve.) Whisk the butter into the warm liquid.

  1. Put eggs and egg yolks into a bowl and beat lightly. Slowly whisk a cup of warm cranberry liquid into the eggs to temper, then combine both and whisk together. Wipe out pot if necessary, return liquid to pot and cook over low heat until nearly bubbling and thickened, about 10 minutes. If using immediately, let cool to room temperature. If preparing in advance, cool to room temperature, cover with plastic wrap (press wrap against curd) and refrigerate. (Curd may be cooked up to 1 day ahead.)
  2. Pour cooled cranberry curd into the cooled pre-baked tart shell and smooth top with a spatula. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes to set curd. Cool on a rack. Store at room temperature for up to 2 days.

(They don’t always turn up pretty, but they are always very tasty). I also simplified this version of the pie by leaving the skins in.

The finished tart keeps well for a couple of days too.      

Sources:

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29315597

Recipe partially adopted from David Leibowitz  

Resources:

The cranberry cookbook : year-round dishes from bog to table by Sally Pasley Vargas

Format: book

Cooking with Cranberries by Lura Rogers

Format: Hoopla ebook

Simple fruit : seasonal recipes for baking, poaching, sautéing, and roasting by Laurie Pfalzer

Format: book

Magda Born

mborn@kckpl.org

Community Services Librarian

Kansas City, Kansas Public Library

625 Minnesota Ave.

Kansas City, KS 66101

913-295-8250 ext 1103