Thanksgiving is coming and our traditions have changed. My brother’s kids are grown and they have their own things to do. My father is unlikely to leave the house. My mother is now three years’ gone, as of yesterday. My sister and I agree that intensive all-day cooking is really not what we’re going to do, so while her family and ours will still gather, we’re ordering a lot of the food.
But not the cranberries. My mom would make a tart cranberry orange relish that, as a kid, I thought was very special. Four years ago, we had just moved to the Twin Cities, had spent the fall in a hectic panic moving my folks to Omaha to be near my sister, and then gathered everyone at our new home in Minnesota for what would in many ways be the last Thanksgiving. We tried to do everything right, and I think we mostly did, and I’m so grateful everyone made the effort to gather than last time, as I am holding the memories close today.
I looked through my recipe archive for cranberries and didn’t find the relish, though, and was perplexed. So instead I went to my email, and there, in an exchange from November 2017, I found this:
Me: Do you have your recipe for cranberry/orange relish?
Mom: No. I just followed what was on the back of the package. A whole orange cut up into 8 pieces, pips removed, skin on, food processed, added to the regular uncooked cranberry sauce recipe – just sugar (1-2 c?) and the raw berries, all processed together. I think!
So there you have it!
But in searching her archive, I did find two amazing cranberry recipes that I am absolutely going to try and absolutely cannot vouch for. One is boozy. One is pie.
As always, these are presented exactly as they are in my documents with only the slightest tweaks for web formatting.
3 Cups Fresh or frozen cranberries
1 Medium onion, minced
1/3 Cup Cider vinegar
1 Cup Golden raisins
1 Cup Granulated white sugar
1 1/2 Cups Port
1/2 tsp Ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground ginger (I use 1‑2 Tbsp candied
ginger, instead )‑so it says, and I did this too‑LP
1 tsp ground cinnamon
In a 3‑ to‑4‑ quart pan, combine cranberries, onion, vinegar, raisins, port, nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon. Bring quickly to a boil, stirring occasionally. Simmer uncovered while stirring often until mixture is reduced to about 3 cups, about 30 minutes. Again, stir frequently to avoid scorching.
If you can make this a couple of days before it’s eaten, and refrigerate it, its flavor will be at its best.
Note: “LP” is Lewis Perry, my dad, so perhaps this is actually one of his recipes. Before his Alzheimer’s made it impossible, he spent many years as the main cook in the family.
NANTUCKET CRANBERRY PIE
For the Filling:
Butter, to grease a pie plate
2 cups chopped cranberries (fresh or frozen) (13 oz. package = 2 c.)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
For the Topping:
2 eggs (room temperature)
3/4 cup butter, melted (or just very soft ‑ you can melt in microwave, but cover with paper towel or it splatters ‑ melt in spurts)
1 cup sugar
1 cup flour (I used all‑purpose)
1 teaspoon almond extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Place the cranberries in a buttered, 9‑ or 10‑inch pie plate. Toss the sugar and walnuts, and sprinkle over the berries.
Mix together the eggs, butter, sugar, flour and almond extract until smooth.
Pour the topping over the cranberry mixture and bake for 40 minutes.
So there you have it! If you try one of these, please respond in comments and let me know how it went.
The Mom’s Recipe Series So Far!
Next week, I think, bread.
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