Monday, December 14, 2009

Cranberry Grunt

In the weeks since Thanksgiving, I've been baking up a storm, but haven't had the time to sit down and write about it. Now that I'm in France and have little to do, I'll have plenty of time to catch up--and then bake some more!
So the first dessert I want to write about is what I'd like to call a "gimme" dessert: it's one of two that Alicia and I ate, if not made, together. I made Cranberry Grunt, one because it seemed Thanksgiving-y and two because cranberries are so darned hard to find in France. Alicia's girls Natalie and Cassandra made the Chocolate Mousse Pie, which I hope they will blog about. Maybe Sharmyn can send the picture of them with their creation? I couldn't find my camera (I believe that's my excuse), so no pictures of the grunt. It was kind of pretty, though--spirals of dough on top of the cranberry-red sauce/filling.
So to the Cranberry Grunt. This turned out to be a rather forlorn dessert at Thanksgiving, which is a shame. It just couldn't keep up with pumpkin and apple and chocolate pie, but it is delicious in its own right--I think it would make a really good breakfast, actually. As Natalie put it, it's basically cranberry sauce with biscuits on top. What's not to like?
So maybe I'll make this sometime when I don't have a gigantic meal and five other desserts to compete with it, because it is a simple and tasty dessert.

Here's the recipe:
Cranberry Grunt

12 oz. cranberries
2 large apples (I used three small Pink Ladys), peeled and cut up into 1/2-inch dice
2/3 c. water
1/2 c. (3.5 oz.) sugar
1 oz. (2 T.) butter
scant 1/4 t. cloves
1/2 t. nutmeg
scant 1/4 t. allspice

Heat the oven to 425. Get out a baking dish that holds at least 8 cups (I used Dad's brown Pyrex 7x11 dish, I think) and butter/spray it. Wash and drain the cranberries, if you think about it, and put them in a saucepan with the apples, water, and sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then cover, reduce the heat, and let it simmer for about 10 minutes. Take it off the heat and add the butter and spices. Your kitchen will smell like an aromatherapy salon. This would be a good thing to have on the stove if you're trying to sell your house.
Anyway, take a deep whiff and get going on your biscuit dough:

1-1/2 c. (6 oz.) sifted flour
1 T. baking powder--I used 1-1/2 t. as per Shirley Corriher, and these turned out fine
1/4 t. salt
2 T. sugar
2 oz. (4 T.) cold butter + 1 oz. (2 T.) melted butter
1/3 c. milk
1/4 c. strawberry jam "or other red preserves"--I used raspberry

You could do this in a food processor or with a pastry blender. I used a food processor--I had a turkey to think about. Put your dry ingredients in the bowl of the processor. Process a couple of seconds just to blend, then cut the cold butter into about 8 pieces and add to the processor. Process that a few times until you have coarse crumbs with some larger pieces of butter. Add the milk and process just until the dough comes together. Turn the dough out onto a floured board and knead it just a couple of turns until the dough holds together nicely. Then roll it out into an 8x12 rectangle of sorts. Brush that with the melted butter (it will seem like an awful lot). Heat the jam in the microwave about 30 seconds and then spread that over the butter (which will have congealed in the meantime, making the spreading less messy. Then roll up jelly-roll style and cut into 1-inch slices. I find that unflavored dental floss works best for this. And it's fun.
Now put the cranberry mixture into the prepared pan and lay the biscuit slices on top. You can do it in neat rows like Maida, or just however they fit best. If you have any leftover melted butter (I did), you could brush the biscuits with that and maybe even sprinkle them with a bit of sugar. Then put that in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until the biscuits are nice and brown. Serve warm--I think ice cream would be nice with this. Whipped cream was also good. Maida recommends Ricotta Cream, but we're not going there. Enjoy!

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