Gluten-Free Nantucket Cranberry Pie

So we had this lovely little thunderstorm last night, and today is considerably cooler than it has been all week. I know that now that spring has come to Southern Illinois, summer is hot on her tails, and I really mean HOT! So I decided that it was time to do some baking while the house is still nice and cool.

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I looked in the freezer and noticed that I still have a bunch of cranberries that I bought at Aldi’s last fall, so I decided to search for something yummy to do with them. I stumbled upon this wonderfully simple and delicious looking recipe on the Pioneer Woman’s site. Then I simply “gluten-freed” it so that Little J could enjoy a bite if he wants! I really can’t take any credit for this recipe at all, since I just substituted GF flour and sucanat, but I will post my adjustments here for you so you don’t have to think about it! ūüėČ Oh, and my pecans were already chopped, so I changed that part a bit, too.

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One of the things I liked best about this recipe is that unlike normal pie it doesn’t have a pastry crust, just a batter topping poured over the fruit. I have attempted making a pastry using gluten free flour, and it was not a good experience. So this is perfect!

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Gluten Free Nantucket Cranberry Pie
Ingredients:
Butter for greasing pan
2 heaping cups cranberries, fresh or frozen (thawed)
1/2 cup chopped pecans
2/3 cup sucanat or cane juice crystals
1 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
1 cup sucanat
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter (melted)
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2-1 tsp almond extract (I’m not too fond of almond flavoring, so I reduced this for my tastes.)
1/4 tsp salt

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Instructions:
Generously grease a round cake pan with butter.

Rinse cranberries and pour into pan. Sprinkle with pecans and 2/3 cup sucanat. In medium bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Pour slowly over top of cranberries, using a rubber spatula to spread batter evenly.

Bake at 350F for 45-50 minutes, until filling is bubbling and crust is golden brown. If you want, you can sprinkle a Iittle additional sucanat on top about 5 minutes before removing pie from oven. This adds a nice crunch and pretty finish to your crust!

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Now, if only someone would bring me some vanilla ice cream to go with it!

Bits and Pieces

Today I haven’t done alot of things around the house, although I should have. But I did accomplish one thing I have been wanting to do for a long time. I made business cards! Yay! I found these nice templates over at Business Card Land. They have a number of free templates to customize and save as .pdf’s to print later. I think they came out looking very classy and professional! And now I’ll have something to hand out to new contacts and friends and to include when I ship items to my customers!

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I also was able to take a quick photo of my progress so far on my “Chanson Hibernal” (Winter Song)¬†capelet. I am enjoying the pattern. It certainly isn’t boring as each row¬†has a new stitch sequence. I am really looking forward to completing this and being able to wear it this winter as a little shoulder-warmer at church. When this one is finished, I’m planning to make a white shawl for next spring and summer, possibly using Doris Chan’s All-Shawl design. I have alot of other crochet projects in my head as well, mostly things I should make for my shop, but I’m not sure when I’ll get around to it all!

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Revisiting the subject of pie baking, I had mixed results with my attempts at pear pie yesterday. I did find a great tasting recipe for crust, via AllRecipes.com, the French Pastry Pie Crust. Reni suggested I use lard, which I would if I had any. My mother always uses lard, but she also uses a similare recipe to the one I used. The vinegar, egg and sugar lends just the flavor I was wanting! However, the pears I used were just much too hard and refused to cook down before the crust was browned. It was disapointing to cut open the pie and realize it was inedible, but I’m over that now. I look forward to trying this crust again, but I think I’ll stick to some fruit that is not hard as rocks when I do!

Oh, and about that little idea I hinted about in my last post…I was thinking about starting to sell some spiced tea and cookie mixes in my Etsy shop, but then I found out that the government even has rules and regulations about that sort of thing! I’m having a hard enough time sorting out the tax laws right now, so I certainly don’t need to extra red tape that being a food vendor involves! I guess I’ll stick to using mixes as gifts and only sell non-edible items in my shop!

Blackberry Summer

Yesterday I went on my usual weekday walk, even though it had been raining on and off all day (took the umbrella, just in case!) As I was going past a neighbor’s property I noticed some blackberry cane that was quite full of red berries. But what’s this? Some of the berries were black and ready to pick! I was so excited that I hightailed it home, shortening my usual route a bit. I threw on some old boots and jeans, doused myself in Deep Woods Off! and grabbed a butter tub I’d saved for, quite ironically, a “rainy day!”

Well, I quickly learned that picking blackberries in our small forest is not going to be quite as much fun as picking raspberries in the Black Hills with my mom. For one thing, berry picking is always more fun with a friend. But more importantly, the underbrush is so incredibly thick that I can’t get to most of the berries in the first place! It was also so humid from the rain we’d had that I felt like I was walking through the Amazon, picking spider webs off my face and expecting snakes to cross my path at any moment. In spite of dropping my bucket twice and getting caught on every bramble and¬†thorn I passed, I was proud to come home with a full two cups of blackberries! And this is just the very beginning…there are so many more back there that have yet to ripen. I’m sure I will have alot more next time I go picking!
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So, having these lovely fresh berries, but not yet enough for a pie, I had to find a recipe I could make with these! I recently found the site AllRecipes.com, and I am addicted to it! I have been going there on a daily basis to find recipes for my weekly meals, and I have enjoyed everything I’ve tried so far! I found this recipe for Blackberry Cobbler and decided to give it a whirl, since I had all the ingredients needed on hand. Like many¬†of the reviewers, I chose to drop half the dough in the baking dish, sprinkle it with cinnamon sugar, then add the berries and another layer of dough. I poured the sugar syrup over the whole thing, gave it another generous sprinkling of cinnamon sugar, and popped it in the oven! Here it is before baking:
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I kept checking it every 15 minutes or so, because the oven in my new house does not have a window in the door. How annoying is that!? I really miss being able to just peek into the oven and see how things are doing without opening the door and letting out a bunch of heat. Anyway, I haven’t quite figured out how my oven bakes things, but I have noticed that most things need to come out a bit early or they burn. I did end up taking the cobbler out about 10 minutes early. And here is the finished product:
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I should have given a little disclaimer reminding you that I am not very good at taking photos of food yet. I just don’t have a very photogenic kitchen or cutsie little utensils, or soft lighting… Just really yummy food! Which reminds me, I need to go taste my handywork now! Wish I could share…

Christmas 2007

I have been too busy and/or distracted to blog this past week. I finished up school for a couple of weeks last Thursday, and I enjoyed having my parents in town for Christmas Eve. My dear hubby and I got to have a few days off together before he had to go back to work, and now I’m enjoying the peace and quiet of an empty house. Soon it will be time to take down all the decorations again, although it seems that I just put them up a short time ago! Christmas seemed to sneak up on us this year, and I’m really not ready for it to end!
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I know everyone has certain traditional foods they just have to make and eat at Christmastime, and I my family is no different. This year, in addition to the usual turkey dinner and other festive foods, I continued a long-time family tradition of baking Christmas cookies. My mother and I used to do a huge amount of baking together during the holidays, as she always passes out plates of goodies to her friends and neighbors each year. Since I have married and moved far away, I have not done so very much baking at Christmas, but I do still make a few little things. One of those old stand-by’s we call “Aunt Helen’s Christmas Cookies.” They are made¬†using a family recipe that was passed down from my grandmother’s Hungarian aunt. Some people that taste them say these cookies are like the little moon-shaped sweets called Hungarian Wedding Cookies. The recipe may be similar, but these have always been a Christmas tradition in our family, rather than one for weddings! Mother always rolled them into little balls instead of a crescent shape. They are dipped thoroughly in cinnamon and powdered sugar as soon as they come out of the oven, giving them their sweetness and characteristic “snowy” appearance! Yummy!