cranberry

Cranberry Upside-Down Cake

by Anne Maxfield on December 3, 2018

Accidental Locavore Cranberry Upside Down CakeThis cranberry upside-down cake appeared on David Lebovitz’s website just before Thanksgiving.

It was just the dessert I needed to bring to friends. He says it’s best served warm, and made in a cast iron pan, so I tried to erase memories of one of my biggest cooking disasters ever (a tarte tartin made and cemented into a cast iron pan) and just go for it.

Cranberry Upside-Down Cake

Topping

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3 cups fresh or frozen cranberries

Batter

  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup coarse cornmeal or polenta
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • grated zest of one lemon
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup milk, at room temperature

In a 9- to 10”cast iron skillet, melt the 4 tablespoons of butter and the brown sugar together, stirring frequently, until the sugar is moistened and liquefied. When the mixture starts to bubble, remove from heat and set the pan aside.

Accidental Locavore Cranberry Cake PrepPreheat the oven to 350º.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal or polenta, baking powder, and salt.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, or by hand in a mixing bowl with a spatula, beat the ½ cup of butter, granulated sugar and lemon zest at medium high speed for 3 to 5 minutes, until very light and fluffy. Reduce the speed of the mixer to medium and add the eggs one at a time, stopping the mixer to scrape down the sides. Mix in the vanilla extract.

At low speed, add half of the flour mixture, then the milk, then the remaining dry ingredients, mixing just enough so that they’re all combined. Do not overmix.

Distribute the cranberries in the prepared pan over the brown sugar mixture and shake the pan so they are in a relatively even layer. Spoon the batter over the cranberries in four mounds, then use a spatula to spread the batter evenly over the fruit.

Bake the cake until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Remove from the oven, wait 10 minutes, then run a knife around the cake. Place a serving platter overturned on top of the cake in the skillet, then using oven mitts to cover your hands, flip the two over simultaneously, until the cake releases from the pan. Serve and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore CranberryMy Verdict: Phew! Came out of the pan beautifully and tasted great! Frank thought it could use a few more cranberries, so the next time I make it, I’ll just pour the whole bag in.

In a moment of pre-baking terror, I did give the cast iron pan a quick spray of butter, but I’m not sure if it needed it.

The only thing I wasn’t sure about was the cornmeal. It does add a crunch which Lebovitz says he likes in his baking, which Frank liked, but I’m not sure I was a huge fan. Maybe next time, I’ll try it with all flour.

The other thing I would probably do differently would be to cream the butter and sugar together using my stand mixer. I used a hand beater and while it worked fine, it took longer and was not as creamy as when I’ve pulled out the big mixer.

If cranberries aren’t in season, a mess of blueberries or other fruit would probably work just as well.

 

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Pawling Bread Company

by Anne Maxfield on November 13, 2017

Pawling Bread Co LoavesBecoming a bread baker takes a particular kind of craziness.

Especially when you’ve never baked a loaf of bread before.

For Cynthia Kinahan of Pawling Bread Company, it seemed like a natural transition from a pottery course she was taking because “a lot of the moves and principles are quite similar”.

If this was a movie, the first loaf would have been perfect, but this is real life and the first loaf was a disaster.

As were many more.

She decided that she wasn’t going to stop until she had a decent loaf of bread and that became her goal.

Every day she would rush home from work, pull out her recipe and start making bread. Still no great loaves.

The real breakthrough came when she decided to toss the recipe and go by feel. “I think that was the first time I really connected with the craft of making bread”.

Although the first loaves were yeast based, as Cynthia gained confidence, she wanted to start making breads with a sourdough starter.

Accidental Locavore Pawling Bakery Company Spelt BreadHer passion for baking shows in the breads. To start with, they’re beautiful (it’s where her background as a graphic designer comes through). A cruise through her Facebook page on an empty stomach is pure torture (and if you have any idea how good the breads are, that just makes it worse).

Cynthia has given me the spelt bread and the country loaf to taste and both were terrific! As I’m lucky enough to be able to access more artisanal breads, my preference seems to be for the more complex breads, in this case the spelt.

Pawling Bread Co Cherry Cranberry BreadShe’s got an extensive variety of breads ranging from classics like her popular country bread, to ones like Earl Grey Apricot (one I’m really looking forward to trying the next time it comes on the menu—hint, hint), Olive Lemon Rosemary and for the holidays a cherry, cranberry walnut loaf.

If you’re lazy, or just hate to get out of bed on a Saturday morning, McKinney & Doyle’s bakery in Pawling carries her Sundried Tomato bread every Friday and Saturday. I’m not sure if they’ll save you a loaf, but it’s probably worth a call.

Accidental Locavore Spelt Bread ToastAnd, yes, the bread is so good that I do think of dragging myself out of bed and driving 35 minutes to Pawling on a Saturday morning. They’re in a pop-up shop at 10 East Main Street (that will someday be their new home) from 9:30-12. This Saturday is the last pop-up before Thanksgiving so be forewarned!

Thanks to Cynthia for the two loaves, I’m looking forward to many more! The top photo and the cranberry bread photos are theirs.

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