Nantucket Cranberry Citrus Pie

Nantucket Cranberry Citrus Pie I Pretty Little Pastimes

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays for many reasons. For one, I was born on Thanksgiving, so I kind of think of it as a second birthday (a celebration my parents really never got on board for). Secondly, it’s a day devoted to spending time with family and friends and reflecting on what we are truly thankful for. And, of course, it’s a day where we can wear our stretchy pants and eat all day long without guilt. I LOVE Thanksgiving!

I know some people dread the prep work and cooking, but I actually enjoy it. Since moving away from family, my *now* hubby and I have spent the last three years perfecting our own little Boston Thanksgiving dinner and testing new dishes to put on the “it’s a tradition, we have to make it” list. The main course is pretty solid, so dessert is really where I get to experiment.

One thing missing from our table is cranberry – anything. Walking through the grocery store right before Thanksgiving, cranberries are everywhere! On this year’s pre-Thanksgiving trip I decided to see what all the fuss was about and tossed a bag of fresh cranberries in the cart. I had no idea what I was going to make with them at that point, but was certainly up for the challenge.

I adore extra-tart treats, so this Nantucket Cranberry Citrus Pie definitely hit the spot for me. The crust, which is more cake-like than a traditional pie crust, will really stand out against any apple or pumpkin pie at the table. The addition of citrus zest compliments the cranberries and adds an unexpected pop of flavor. If you prefer sweeter-sweets, just add some whipped cream, ice cream, or honey to the top of the pie before you dig in. Just as the pilgrims would have wanted.

Nantucket Cranberry Citrus Pie I Pretty Little Pastimes

Nantucket Cranberry Citrus Pie

  • 2 heaping cups fresh cranberries
  • 3/4 cup pecans, chopped
  • 3/4 tablespoon orange zest (I used the zest from one clementine)
  • 1 and 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted + extra for greasing the pan
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar for sprinkling (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Generously butter a pie pan. Add whole cranberries to the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle chopped pecans over the cranberries, followed by 2/3 cup of sugar (it is going to seem like a ton of sugar, but the cranberries are very tart so sprinkle, sprinkle).

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, 1 cup sugar, orange zest, melted butter, eggs, almond extract, and salt. Stir gently to combine.

Pour the batter slowly and evenly over the surface of the cranberry, pecan, and sugar layer. Spread out gently if needed.

Bake for 45-50 minutes. 5 minutes before removing from the oven, sprinkle the surface with 1 tablespoon sugar for a little crunch (if desired).

Cut into wedges and serve with fresh whipped cream or a honey drizzle.

Nantucket Cranberry Citrus Pie I Pretty Little Pastimes

And there you have it, a quick, easy, and most importantly delicious cranberry dish for your fall table that isn’t shaped like a can. Enjoy!

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Pumpkin Pecan Bread Pudding with Whiskey Cream

Pumpkin Pecan Bread Pudding I Pretty Little PastimesWe are only three days into the new year and we have already seen our first blizzard! With temperatures falling into negative digits today, I decided it was time to share a warm and tasty dessert that will help make you forget about all that snow piling up outside!

Combing through my pantry after the holidays I always seem to find a random can of this and that, that never got used during my holiday baking. Today it was the giant can of pumpkin puree that I skipped over during Thanksgiving. I know the “pumpkin everything” season has ended at our local coffee shops, but that doesn’t mean that I am quite ready to give it up completely. This weather is perfect for a hot pumpkin bread pudding and why not add a Jameson-spiked whiskey sauce? It is a snow day after all.

Pumpkin Pecan Bread Pudding

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 (30 oz.) can of pumpkin puree
  • 1 & 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 cup half & half
  • 1 cup pure granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 loaf of French bread (about 12 oz.)

Pecan-Caramel Sauce

  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Cut the French bread into 1 inch pieces and set aside in a large bowl. In another large bowl, whisk together eggs, pumpkin, milk, half & half, sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla, until well blended. Pour the pumpkin mixture over the bread and stir to coat evenly. Cover will plastic wrap and let chill for 8-12 hours.

Pumpkin Pecan Bread Pudding I Pretty Little Pastimes

Waiting 8 hours might seem like torture once you smell this, but you can do it!

Pumpkin Pecan Bread Pudding I Pretty Little Pastimes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spoon chilled bread mixture into a lightly greased 13×9 inch baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes. Remove the foil and bake an additional 15 minutes. During the last 15 minutes of baking, prepare the pecan-caramel sauce. 

Heat the pecans in a skillet over medium-low heat, stirring often, 3-5 minutes or until lightly toasted and fragrant. Cook brown sugar, butter and corn syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally until sugar is dissolved, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and pecans.

Remove bread pudding from oven and drizzle with the Pecan-Caramel Sauce. Return the dish to the oven and bake for 5 minutes longer or until sauce is thoroughly heated and begins to bubble.

Now it is time to make the whiskey sauce.

Whiskey Cream Sauce

  • 2 & 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 vanilla bean split lengthwise (or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons pure granulated sugar
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 3 tablespoons whiskey (I used Jameson Irish Whiskey)

Pour the milk into a saucepan and add the nutmeg. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean add to the milk with the bean. Heat gently until small bubbles appear around the edge of the saucepan. Set aside to cool, then strain the milk and discard the bean.

Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat. Sprinkle the flour over the butter and cook, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon for 1-2 minutes. Be careful not to allow the mixture to color.

Remove from heat and slowly add the vanilla milk, whisking vigorously to avoid lumps. Return to low heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Add the sugar and simmer for 3-4 minutes.

In a bowl, stir together the yolks and milk. Pour in a quarter of the, now hot, sauce, stir together to blend and return the mixture to the remaining sauce in the pan. Add the whiskey and stir constantly over medium-low heat until heated through, without allowing the sauce to boil. Finish by straining.

While everything is still hot, spoon a portion of the whiskey sauce onto the bottom of a plate. Layer the bread pudding directly over the sauce and, if desired, top with fresh whipped cream. This recipe might not shovel your driveway, but it will help make this bitter-cold weather a little more bearable. Now, curl up under a big blanket on the couch and enjoy!

Pumpkin Pecan Bread Pudding I Pretty Little Pastimes

 

 

Whiskey Sauce recipe source: Christmas by Le Cordon Bleu