Thursday, December 10, 2015

Festive Cranberry Torte

It's been a very long time since I've posted a recipe; but, you know, life happens and it certainly has been happening to me lately.  Not complaining, just going with the flow.

It's the Christmas season and since life has been hectic lately I've had few opportunities to enjoy the Christmas season to the extent I usually do.  This is an oldie in my clipping files.  I have had this for a very long time.  When I originally cut it out I only cut out the photo from the magazine and I wrote down the recipe so I have no recollection what magazine it came from.  I actually remember the very first time I made it which was for a Christmas party in 1982 or 1983.  

I like to give credit where credit is due so I thought I would Google the desert (guessing the name was the original) in order to see if I could find the original source.  I found several links that posted the recipe with the exact same name and the exact same recipe (ingredients and wording of the directions and all) and photos that looked like the magazine photo I had cut out. 

So, with confidence, I can say that this recipe was a clipping from a 1979 issue of Better Homes and Gardens.  That mystery solved, let me share this recipe that is not only a tasty treat but it has lots of "curb appeal" on a Christmas buffet.

Start with making the crust.  It's a graham cracker crust with finely chopped pecans in it.  The recipe doesn't call for the crust to be baked but I think you could.  Once it's pressed into an 8 inch springform pan the crust is refrigerated while you prepare the rest of the torte.

One time I didn't have enough graham cracker crumbs so I combined them with ginger snap crumbs.  

 The cranberries get roughly chopped in the food processor.

The cranberries are then mixed with the sugar and left for 5 minutes to macerate.  They'll get nice and juicy.

 Add the egg whites, orange juice concentrate, vanilla and salt to the cranberry mixture.

Mix on low until frothy,

then, mix on high for about 6 to 8 minutes until the mixture is really, really stiff.

 In a separate bowl, whip the cream until you have soft peaks that flop over,

then fold the cream into the cranberry mixture.

Transfer to the springform pan and place in the freezer.  What is nice about this recipe is that you can prepare it the night before.  

 Your glaze starts out looking like this.

 This is what it looks like when it's finished.  

I like to cook the glaze slowly to allow the cranberries to lend their color to it.  Once it's thickened and the cranberries have popped and are squishy (there's a nice culinary term for you), I just slide the saucepan to the back of the range top and let it cool completely.  Don't refrigerate the glaze.

 When you are ready to serve your torte remove it from the springform pan and spread the glaze on top of the torte.  I normally, as the recipe recommends, decorate the top with thin slices of orange, quartered. 
Festive Cranberry Torte
From a 1979 issue of Better Homes and Gardens
Yields 8 to 10 servings

1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
1/4 cup granulated sugar
6 Tbsp. butter, melted

1-1/2 cups ground fresh cranberries (2 cups whole)
1 cup granulated sugar
2 egg whites
1 Tbsp. frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
1 tsp. vanilla
1/8 tsp. salt
1 cup whipping cream

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
3/4 cup whole fresh cranberries
2/3 cup water
1 orange

In a mixing bowl combine graham cracker crumbs, pecans, 1/4 cup sugar, and the melted butter.  Press into the bottom and up the sides of an 8 inch springform pan.  Chill.

In the mixing bowl of a stand mixer, combine the ground cranberries and 1 cup sugar.  Let sit for 5 minutes to macerate.  Add the unbeaten egg whites, orange juice concentrate, vanilla, and salt.  Beat on low speed until frothy.  Then, beat at high speed 6 to 8 minutes or till stiff peaks form (tips stand straight up).

In a small bowl, using a hand mixer, whip the cream to soft peaks (tips curl over); fold into cranberry mixture.  Turn into the chilled crust.  Freeze until firm.

An hour or two prior to serving make the Cranberry Glaze.  In saucepan stir together 1/2 cup sugar and cornstarch.  Stir in the cranberries and water.  Cook and stir till bubbly.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the cranberry skins pop.  Cool to room temperature.  Do not chill

To serve, remove the torte from pan.  Place on a serving plate.  Spoon the Cranberry Glaze in the center of the torte. Slice the orange into several 1/4" slices then quarter.  Place the orange quarters around the edges of the torte.

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