Left-Brain / Right-Brain Cookery

A double-take in the kitchen

Cranberry Recipes

Apple Cranberry Croustade

Apple Cranberry Croustade

LEFT BRAIN: Apple Cranberry Croustade

A few lonely apples sat on the cutting board waiting to be used in some manner – plus some leftover fresh cranberries. Rummaging in my freezer, a black hole of bits and pieces, I spied a frozen round of pastry dough. A quick consult in my equally disorganized pastry folder and a delicious use for both emerged!

A croustade (free-form tart) recipe had been lingering for years in my files, ready to provide inspiration – pity I waited so long as the croustade is sweet, crisp and delicious. Make the pastry once and divide it in half for a second croustade at another time – or make two croustades at once by doubling the streusel topping and filling.

Pastry (2 crusts):
2 cups (250 g) all-purpose flour
1 tbsp (12 g) sugar
3/4 tsp (5 g) salt
3 oz* (85 g) cold lard or vegetable shortening (about 1/3 cup)
2 oz* (56 g) cold butter, cut into pieces (or 1/4 cup)
1 egg
2-4 tbsp (30-60 mL) cold water

  1. Stir flour with sugar and salt. Using a pastry cutter, cut in lard and butter until mixture resembles coarse oatmeal. Using a fork, combine egg and 2 tablespoons of water in a measuring cup.
  2. Stir egg mixture into flour mixture. Then add only enough additional water, a tablespoon at a time, until dough more or less clings together. There will be a few somewhat dry spots! Divide in half and heap onto plastic wrap, forcing into each into a ball and flattening slightly.
  3. Wrap and refrigerate to fully hydrate flour, from a couple of hours to up to a day – or freeze.
    Makes 2 buttery-crisp crusts

Streusel topping:
2 tbsp each of (16 g) all-purpose flour and (24 g) granulated sugar
1 tbsp (14 g) cold unsalted butter, cut into quarters
1. Stir flour with sugar; rub in butter until mixture is mealy and set aside.
Filling (uses 1 pastry crust):
1 1/2 lbs (750 g) Cortland or other crisp apple, about 3 large
3/4-1 cup (115-154 g) fresh cranberries, large ones cut in half
1/2 cup (96 g) granulated sugar
2 tbsp (16 g) all-purpose flour
Brushing of milk

  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Peel and core fruit; cut into slices and toss with juice. Stir flour with sugar; mix into fruit.
  2. Roll out pastry on floured parchment paper into a 12-inch (30 cm) circle. Arrange fruit in centre allowing a 2-inch border all around. Press fruit firmly into a neat heap.
  3. Using a spatula, lift pastry border over the filling leaving the centre bare. Sprinkle the centre with streusel. Slide tart still on parchment onto baking sheet; brush crust lightly with milk, using fingers to seal any cracks in pastry around the edge.
  4. Bake for 40 minutes or until pastry is golden and fruit is tender when pierced. Slide parchment onto a rack. After 10 minutes, carefully slide-off parchment leaving croustade on rack to finish cooling.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Joanna’s Comments: Unless there are mounds of desserts you might not get to her delicious pie before it is all gone. She should make two.

Savoury Cheesecake

Savoury Cheesecake with Roast Turkey

RIGHT BRAIN: Savoury Cheesecake with Roast Turkey

Thanksgiving was over so I made a vat of soup to feed everyone to thank them for their efforts closing down the summer season at the cottage – but what to do with the rest of the meat and cranberry sauce? It was time for a little experimentation in the kitchen and my result is a savoury cheesecake.

Serve 4 as an entrée, 6 to 8 as an appetizer

Rich Short Crust Pastry:
1 cup (225 g) all purpose flour
2 oz (56 g) cold butter
Pinch of salt
1 egg

A small handful of dried cranberries plumped up in white wine
1 tbsp (14 g) butter
2 oz (56 g) diced shallot
8 oz (250 g) softened cream cheese
6 oz (175 g) cottage cheese
1 ½ oz (42 g) Gruyere or cheddar cheese
1/3 cup (75 ml) whipping cream
3 eggs
7 oz (196 g) or more turkey, shredded
1 cup (250 mL) cranberry sauce

  1. Mix flour, butter and salt. Add the egg to make a firm but workable dough. Form it into a disk and let it stand for 30 minutes.
  2. Heat a splash of wine in a pan (or in the microwave) and drop in the cranberries, letting them fatten up a bit. Drain, keeping the wine to thin your cranberry sauce as needed.
  3. Sauté shallots until translucent and set aside.
  4. Beat the cheeses, eggs and cream together. Add the shallots and soaked cranberries.
  5. Season with herbs if you like, the same, which you used on the turkey.
  6. Line the base of an 8” spring form pan with pastry. Pour in some cheese mixture, then the turkey and the rest of the mix.
  7. Bake at 350F (180C) for about 50 minutes or until the cheese is set.
  8. Once the cheesecake is cooked turn off the oven and leave to cool. Serve with the leftover cranberry sauce, loosened up with that wine if necessary.

Tip: My friend Nancy Mackenzie taught me a good lesson. If you want to make sure your cheesecake doesn’t crack, wrap the spring form pan under the bottom and up the sides then put in your chosen filling and bake the cake sitting in a pan with an inch or so of hot water. This is called a bain-marie.

Marilyn’s comments: I enjoyed a piece of this at room temperature and it was both flavourful and satisfying – quite a unique use for leftover turkey.


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