cranberry maple syrup pudding

cranberry maple syrup pudding | A Brown Table

When Le Creuset asked me to create a sweet thanksgiving side this year with their Heritage bakeware collection, I decided to stray away from pies and dive into the realm of baked puddings. I grew up eating a lot of steamed and baked puddings and since Thanksgiving dinner is all about traditions and comfort eating, I figured I'd bake a pudding this year! 

This sweet cranberry and maple syrup pudding can be made with fresh or frozen cranberries (so you can make it any time of the year) which burst when baked to release the tart and red juice into the batter (I don't recommend using dried cranberries as it doesn't cook and taste as good as it does with the whole fruit). Now maple syrup is delicious by itself but in this sweet side when baked it starts to caramelize with the berries and creates a deep dark brown color that smells heavenly. This cranberry pudding is best served warm and has a cake like texture yet buttery and soft with a sweet maple caramelized crust. 

You can get the cranberry and maple syrup pudding recipe here. I'll be busy moving and unpacking for the next few days so have a wonderful Thanksgiving folks and stay warm!

cranberry maple syrup pudding | A Brown Table

Note: This post was sponsored by Le Creuset but all opinions stated are my own.

herbed goat cheese ball

Herbed Goat Cheese Ball | A Brown Table

After I painted the rooms in the last house in DC, I swore I'd never paint walls again but here I am now, knee deep in paint and stained. Not to say that it isn't fun and a good arm workout but a couple of hours through and I keep considering my sanity and life choices when it comes to painting. The prospect of cooking in the new kitchen has me very, very excited. It was one of the things that immediately blew me away when we looked at the house and I feel fortunate that we were able to get it. Snoopy on the other hand has found it to be an exhausting experience, he spends most of his time running around the house while we work but he makes sure he gets his nap time, in and out of the sun.

Between wall painting and backyard cleaning, there was a mini blogger reunion last weekend and I got to spend some time with the lovely Molly and Lindsey who were visiting the San Francisco Bay on a quick trip for work. Oddly enough, it was also a reunion of sorts for those of us that live in the Bay but don't get a chance to meet each other as often as we'd like to. Our little party also included my local fellow bloggers and pals, Michelle, Phyllis, Todd and Phi, we met up for drinks at Prizefighter

Speaking of bars and drinks, I'm a huge fan of serving drinks with a few small bites. Cheese is usually a good accompaniment to most drinks and with so many varieties to choose from it makes it an ideal pairing option. There are cheese slices and cheese balls, and cheese balls are an amazing invention. The first time I tasted a cheese ball, was several years ago during an Easter dinner in Virginia. We were visiting M's family and his mother made two large cheese balls coated with all sorts of delicious things. She prepares them in the afternoon, the first one disappears by the time its made, the second one disappears by dinner. Taking some inspiration from her, I've made a fall themed, herbed coated cheeseball that has sweet cranberries and pumpkin seeds and a dash of hot sriracha sauce for a kick. http://blog.westelm.com/2015/10/30/herbed-goat-cheese-balls/

To get the recipe and learn how to make this cheeseball, headover to West Elm's blog,Front + Main!

herbed goat cheese ball | A Brown Table
Herbed Goat Cheese Ball | A Brown Table

Disclaimer: Thank you to West Elm for sponsoring this post. All opinions expressed are purely my own.

guest post: beard & bonnet cranberry ginger moscow mule

guest post by @beardandbonnet cranberry ginger moscow mule

We're off to Goa for the last wedding and plenty of beach time. All I can think about is eating and drinking all the coconuts in sight (I wish it were summer because it would be mango season). It's only fitting that today's post is a cocktail by the lovely Meg of Beard and Bonnett because this is one cocktail I'd love to drink by the sea. Meg is a super talented blogger and creates delicious gluten-free and vegan food on her site! She's also one of the friendliest and down-to-earth people you can meet and always willing to help. I'll let Meg take over now and talk about her lovely holiday cocktail.

guest post by @beardandbonnet cranberry ginger moscow mule

I am so excited to be visiting here on A Brown Table today sharing one of my favorite holiday cocktails! I have been a fan of Nik's inspiring photography and recipes for quite some time and am honored to have one of my own gracing the pages of his site. 

When I think about food during the Christmas holidays a few things come to mind - cookies, steaming mugs of hot chocolate, appetizers, and cocktails. Unlike Thanksgiving, where my family and friends sit down to huge decadent feasts, in December, we tend to host cocktail parties with tables loaded down with tapas and humongous homemade cookie platters. That's normal right?

guest post by @beardandbonnet cranberry ginger moscow mule

This cocktail has been in the works at my house for a few weeks now and I have to say it is one of my favorite cocktail creations to date. It is so easy to sip and the flavors of cranberry, vanilla, citrus, and ginger are a match made in heaven. If Santa were to whip you up a Christmas cocktail himself I imagine that this would totally be it!

guest post by @beardandbonnet cranberry ginger moscow mule

The recipe itself comes in 2 parts, one recipe for the cranberry vanilla syrup which can be made a few days in advance of your cocktail party and one recipe for the actual cocktail which you can double or triple as needed. I like to make a big pitcher of the cocktail minus the ice and let guests pour their drinks in their own glasses as needed. I intentionally made this drink easy for hosts by ensuring no special bar equipment is needed and the measurements are perfect to fill a wine glass so no need for washing extra glassware after the party is over. 

guest post by @beardandbonnet cranberry ginger moscow mule
guest post by @beardandbonnet cranberry ginger moscow mule

cranberry vanilla syrup

ingredients

4 cups fresh cranberries, washed well

1 cup water

1/2 cup caster sugar

1/4 cup light brown sugar

1 vanilla bean, scraped

1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

1. Combine the cranberries, water, sugars, and vanilla beans in a heavy bottomed sauce pan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat then reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally until the liquid has reduced and the mixture has thickened. The cranberries will begin to burst as they cook and if the syrup thickens too quickly you can add more water a few tablespoons at a time as needed.

2. Place a fine mesh strainer over a large bowl and pour the cranberry vanilla mixture into the strainer. Gently press on the solids with a spatula to extract all of the syrup then discard the solids. Stir in the orange juice. Allow the syrup to cool then store in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Prep time: 10 mins      Cook time: 30 mins    Serves: 2 cups

cranberry ginger moscow mule

ingredients 

ice

1 1/2 ounces vodka

3 tablespoons cranberry vanilla syrup

strong ginger beer (I use Bundaberg)

juice of 1 lime wedge

Fill a wine glass halfway with ice. Add the vodka and cranberry vanilla syrup then fill to the top with ginger beer and stir vigorously until the syrup is completely blended with the liquor and ginger beer. Squeeze a lime wedge into the glass, stir again and serve.

cranberry walnut cream whole-rye tartlets

Cranberry Walnut Cream Whole Rye Tartlets | A Brown Table

Let me just start this post by saying, that if you enjoy a buttery and nutty flavored pastry then this tartlet recipe is for you. If you like the taste and flavor of rye flour then you will enjoy this pastry. 

I've been practicing making several different types of classical pastries at home but using whole grain based flours. They make a richer and more flavorful pastry base though they can be tricky to work with depending on the type of flour being used. In this pâte brisée recipe, rye worked just fine, I stuck with the , I did work as fast as possible and keeping things as cold as possible to get the butter mixed into the flour and keep gluten formation as minimal as possible. I used a little bit of vodka to provide the alcohol necessary to prevent gluten formation. 

Cranberry Walnut Cream Whole Rye Tartlets | A Brown TableCranberry Walnut Cream Whole Rye Tartlets | A Brown Table
Cranberry Walnut Cream Whole Rye Tartlets | A Brown Table
Cranberry Walnut Cream Whole Rye Tartlets | A Brown Table

Cranberries have a natural tart and bitter flavor. I used sugar and red wine to balance the tartness but there was still the stubborn issue of its bitterness. Adding more sugar would be an obvious choice to hide the bitter taste but the filling would get too sweet and I didn't want that. Walnuts on the other hand, take away the bitterness and also make one rich and creamy cranberry filling (This cranberry walnut cream is delicious by itself and I think it would also be perfect as a holiday dip served with a little cheese on the side).

Cranberry Walnut Cream Whole Rye Tartlets | A Brown TableCranberry Walnut Cream Whole Rye Tartlets | A Brown Table
Cranberry Walnut Cream Whole Rye Tartlets | A Brown TableCranberry Walnut Cream Whole Rye Tartlets | A Brown Table

Here are some of my kitchen tips when preparing these tartlets,

  • The trick to working with an all butter pastry crust such as the pâte brisée is to prevent gluten formation as much as you can and to get all that butter mixed into the flour as fast as possible. Ideally, pâte brisée is prepared by incorporating the butter into the flour with your fingers but a food processor really cuts back the time required to mix in the butter and also reduces gluten formation by reducing the amount of heat generated. 
  • To prepare ice-cold water, I take one or two ice cubes and dump them into about 1/2 cup of cold water and let it sit for 5 minutes. Then I use the necessary amount of ice-cold water from this mixture.
  • If you find the taste of an all rye flour pastry too intense, you can use an half and half mixture (5 ounces each) of all-purpose and rye flour. Everything else will remain the same.
  • Marble and stainless steel surfaces are great to work pastry dough on. They stay cool and reduce the chances of the fat from melting and reduce gluten formation.
  • Walnuts are a great way to get rid of the natural bitterness of cranberries and give a rich and creamy finish.

Cranberry Walnut Cream Whole Rye Tartlets | A Brown Table

cranberry walnut cream whole-rye tartlets

yields: six 6 inch tartlets

whole-rye flour pâte brisée

ingredients

2 1/2 cups (10 ounces) whole-rye flour + a little extra for dusting

1 teaspoon kosher sea salt

2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into cubes and chilled

2 tablespoons ice-cold water 

1 tablespoon vodka, ice cold

1. Attach the dough blade to the bowl of a food processor. Place the flour, salt and butter in the bowl and pulse for a few seconds until the dough begins to form small crumbles. Pour in the water and vodka, and pulse until the dough is comes together. There should be no visible flecks of butter, it should be completely combined into the flour. Remove and transfer the dough to a clean surface and bring it together to form one large disc. Do this quickly and to reduce the chances of melting the butter with the heat of your hands. Wrap the disc tightly with cling film and refrigerate for at least 4 hours to overnight. 

2. After chilling the dough, unwrap and divide it into 6 equal parts. Take one part and wrap and keep the rest in the refrigerator. Using a scant amount of flour, roll out the dough into a 0.5 cm thick circle with a rolling pin. If the pastry begins to get too soft, place it on a sheet of parchment paper and refrigerate for about 5-10 minutes until slightly firm. Line a six-inch tartlet ring with the pastry and trim the edges using a rolling pin. Smoothen the top surface of the edges with your fingers. Freeze the pastry for at least 30 minutes before baking. Prepare the remaining five tartlets similarly. (At this point, you can also prepare all the tartlets and freeze them for 30 minutes, then wrap them with cling film, place them in an airtight container and return them to the freezer until ready to use).

3. To bake the tartlets, place a wire rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350F. Place the tartlet shells on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover the inner surface of each tartlet shell with parchment paper and then cover the surface with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 40 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through the baking process. Remove the tartlets from the oven and allow them to cool completely in the tartlet rings on the baking sheet. Remove the pie weights/beans and parchment paper lining the surface of the shell. Keep at room temperature or refrigerate until ready to use.

cranberry walnut cream

ingredients

12 ounces fresh cranberries

1/2 cup red wine (I used a merlot)

1 teaspoon lime juice, fresh

3/4 cup (5 7/25 ounces) brown sugar

1 cup (4 ounces) walnuts, raw (with or without skin) (without skin will give a smoother cream)

1 teaspoon madagascar bourbon vanilla extract

1. Place the cranberries, red wine, lime juice and sugar in a large thick bottomed saucepan and heat on medium-high. Cover with a lid and cook for 7-8 minutes, stir occasionally. Once the sugar has melted and the cranberries have burst. Remove from stove.

2. Transfer the contents of the saucepan to a blender and blend for a few seconds until smooth. Clean the same saucepan and wipe dry. Remove and pass the pureéd cranberries through a sieve into the saucepan, Add the walnuts and vanilla to the pureéd cranberries and cook on medium-low for another 2 minutes with constant stirring. Remove from stove and transfer and blend the contents of the pan until smooth. Place the cranberry walnut cream in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator until ready to use (You can also use an immersion blender to do both the blending steps)

Assembling the tartlets

1 tablespoon lime zest, fresh

1. Fill each tartlet shell with about 4-6 tablespoons of the cranberry walnut cream. Smoothen the surface with an offset spatula (dip the spatula in running hot water for a smooth finish).

2. Garnish with a little lime zest. Serve at room temperature.