I have a habit that sometimes saves my life. I collect food magazines. Not sure if it is a good or a bad one yet because pretty soon I will have to move back to Brazil and it is going to be a challenge either to leave or take them with me.
For now they are here, by my side, giving me some advice for what I have to do next. I’ve been accumulating them since we moved to the United States, about four years ago. They started as a source for me to learn English and became a strong source of visual stimulation and recipe inspiration.
Looking back and flipping the pages of these “old” magazines, it is kind of curious to notice how the world we see has changed while the one we taste is quite the same. Not the magazines fault, I guess. We are always looking for new ways to decorate the traditional vanilla cake or to present the same good old friend turkey. And don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love trying new things and usually I am the first one to order that weird – but delicious – olive oil ice cream on the menu. But on a daily basis, tradition is the word.
I think that’s what made me choose, without much thought, this recipe for cranberry bar from Gourmet Nov, 2007 edition. As a Brazilian, I didn’t grow up celebrating Thanksgiving. Turkey is, in my unconscious, a Christmas thing. Cranberries are different; they are, in my mind, the elegant taste of fall.
These bars are quite simple compared to our cranberry cake from last year. No nuts, no almond paste, just cranberries pronounced by the addition of lemon zests (not part of the original recipe). Perfect if you are looking for an easier yet vastly tasty dessert for your Thanksgiving table.
1½ sticks unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 cups all purpose flour
½ tsp salt
1 cup plus 2 tbsp granulated sugar, divided
Zests of one lime, divided
3 cups fresh or frozen cranberries (3/4lb)
1/3 cup water
Confectioner’s sugar for dusting
1. Preheat oven to 350F with rack in middle.
2. Line a 9-inch square or 9 by 8 rectangular baking pan with 2 crisscrossed sheets of parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides.
3. Blend butter, flour, salt, half of lime zests and ½ cup of sugar in a food processor until mixture begins to clump together. Press into bottom of pan. Bake until pale golden and sides begin to pull away from pan, 25 to 30 minutes.
4.While crust is baking, cook cranberries, remaining 2/3 cup granulated sugar, remaining lime zests and water in a 2-quart heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until berries burst, 6 to 8 minutes.
5.Pour cranberries over crust and bake until edge is golden, about 25 minutes, Sift confectioner’s sugar over top and cool completely in pan over rack. Lift out of pan using parchment paper overhang and cut into 12 squares, then sift more confectioners’ sugar over top. Enjoy!