Heres a bright and unexpected way to work cranberries into your Thanksgiving lineup. Tangy-sweet cranberry curd meets buttery walnut shortbread for a twist on the classic lemon bar. A dash of cinnamon ties it all together. And dont worry the whole recipe comes together in about an hour, making it an excellent treat for Thanksgiving or any special dinner this fall.
I started out wanting to make this recipe with straight cranberry juice. I thought it would be easier, and I hoped it would make it possible to make the recipe at times of the year when fresh cranberries arent available.
But do you know how hard it is to find 100 percent cranberry juice? Most cranberry juices are actually a blend of cranberry, apple and grape, which is then diluted with water. In the end, it came down to buying a jug of organic real cranberry juice for $8 or making it from scratch from fresh cranberries for $1.50. The fresh cranberries won hands down.
The good news is that cooking fresh cranberries is easier than you might think or, at least, it was easier than I had thought. You just combine about 3 cups of fresh berries with 1/2 cup of water and simmer for about 5 minutes. The cranberries pop open and soften into a puree. (They do literally pop, so dont be startled!) Once strained of skins and seeds, this puree becomes the base for the curd.
Its hard to keep from spooning the curd straight from the bowl. In fact, if youd like to use it as a spread on your morning toast, just cook it a little longer until it becomes jammy and wonderful.
Emma Christensen is recipe editor for TheKitchn.com, a website for food and home cooking.
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