Thursday, November 30, 2006

Baked cranberry-orange preserves

From Helen Witty's wonderful Fancy Pantry (1986, Workman Publishing Co.), her "Baked Cranberry Preserves with Orange and Cardamom", with my simplification of the orange prep.

To make about 3 cups of preserves...

Preheat the oven to 350F. Gather:

4 cups cranberries
1 medium-size seedless orange
3 cups sugar
1/8 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 cup water

Spread the cranberries in an 8-inch square glass baking pan.

Zest the entire orange; remove the peel and discard; finely chop the pulp.

Mix together the chopped orange and zest, sugar, and ground cardamom. Add this mixture to the cranberries and mix thoroughly -- but if the pan is too shallow to do this, leave the mixing until the second baking stage. Sprinkle with the water. Cover tightly with aluminum foil.

Bake in a 350F oven for 30 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 325F, uncover the dish, stir the fruit into the liquid that has formed (a large slotted spoon or pancake turner works well), and continue baking the preserves uncovered, stirring gently every 15 minutes or so, until the berries are translucent, about 45 minutes more. Don't worry that the liquid is not particularly thick; it's not important.

You may can the preserves or just spoon them into hot, clean containers, let them cool, label, and refrigerate for up to several months.

= My Notes =

It's EASY enough to zest (the hardest part) two oranges rather than one, so why not double the recipe once you know you like it. I double the batch, baking it in a 9x13-inch glass pan; Ms. Witty recommends a shallow roasting pan. The time for each baking stage is the same. I used three bags of cranberries, about 9 cups, for the 8 cups called for.

DELICIOUS as an accompaniment to turkey; spread on hot toast or muffins or pumpkin bread (toasted or room temperature); or spooned over yogurt. I have enough, thanks to doubling the recipe, that I'm going to try it over pancakes, waffles, French toast... whatever strikes my fancy. The recipe says it makes 3 cups, hmmm. With a double recipe I filled 3 half-pint jars, two miscellaneous jars (12 oz and 16 oz, I think), and half of a quart jar. Seems like more than 6 cups? I was never good at these nonmetric measures, but still.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting the recipe. I think I can make this, and it will be a lovely addition to our Christmas brunch.

Barbara said...

You're welcome, Melessa. That's a good idea; I'll try my best to keep some around long enough to enjoy on Christmas morning, heehee. This recipe truly is easy, the easiest preserves I've ever made.