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Saturday, November 22, 2014

Cranberry Raspberry Sauce

GLUTEN-FREE  |  DAIRY-FREE


Because cranberry sauce has so many possibilities, it's one of my favorite foods to reinvent every Thanksgiving. This time I added raspberries and sweetened it only with dates, which is a first. For many people, cranberry sauce usually requires large amounts of sugar to be palatable, but this recipe calls only for four dates and it's not only palatable it's absolutely delicious. This is truly a whole foods recipe with no added sweetener. It keeps well in the fridge so make it now and it will be ready when you are.

A little bit of liquid is required to cook the cranberries, and I used cognac. There are plenty of other good options, including orange juice, cranberry juice, brandy, port, or red wine, like a fruity Beaujolias Nouveau (the new vintage just came out). You could even use water.

I like my sauce chunky, so I dried and ground the dates before adding them, to be sure that tiny pieces would end up in each and every bite, giving it a consistent flavor. If you prefer a smooth sauce and plan to puree it at the end, don't bother. Just chop up the pitted dates and throw them in with the cranberries. 

Yield: 1 ⅔ cups

4 dates, halved and pitted
8 ounces fresh cranberries, about 2 heaping cups
1/4 cup cognac
1/2 cup thawed frozen raspberries and their juices 
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Arrange the dates on a baking sheet or oven-proof dish, cut-side up. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove the dates and allow then to cool completely. You can do this step in advance, whenever you have the oven on.
  2. Pulse the baked, cooled dates in a food processor until they are finely chopped. Avoid processing them too much or they will form a sticky paste that will be hard to scrape out. 
  3. Add the cranberries, cognac, and finely chopped dates to a sauce pan and cover. Warm the mixture over low heat, occasionally stirring or shaking the pan to make sure the berries aren't sticking to the bottom. Cook the mixture until the cranberries burst open and form a sauce, about 30 minutes. If the mixture starts to stick, add some juice from the raspberries or a splash of water, just enough to counter any dryness. 
  4. Once the cranberries have broken down into a sauce, remove it from the heat and stir in the raspberries. Allow it to cool to room temperature, or cool it slightly if you want to serve it warm. Before you do, taste it for seasoning and make any adjustments. (You can add a pinch of sea salt but I found it unnecessary.) Serve the sauce immediately or transfer to an air-tight glass container and store it in the fridge for future use.

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