In the rush to Thanksgiving, I feel like I've sort of neglected cranberries and apples. Sure I did make Mom's Cranberry Jello Mold and I've got the apple thing covered for tomorrow, so today is officially dedicated to the little red tart berries that most certainly were present at the first Thanksgiving and are the center of this incredibly easy and wonderful Cranberry Maple Pudding Cake!
If you like cranberries, cornbread and maple syrup this dessert is right up your alley. I did a little test run of it yesterday and my mom, cousin and myself went crazy over it! It's just the right mix of tender yet crunchy cornmeal cake, tart juicy cranberries and the sweetness of pure maple syrup. Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream and this simple dessert rockets into star category! Plus the whole thing literally took about 15 minutes to put together and then another hands-off 20 minutes to cook.
Basically you cook cranberries, water and maple syrup together for a few minutes and meanwhile make a simple batter of cornmeal, flour, butter, vanilla, milk, eggs--all household staples. Then once you've transferred the berry mixture to a baking dish, you simply pour the batter over the berries and bake it.
About 20 minutes later, it's all done. It's so light and refreshing with such a wonderful crunchy but simultaneously pudding-like texture, that as my daughter would say,"really hits the bliss point!". For Thanksgiving I am going to make this early in the day and then reheat it in a very low oven before serving it after dinner. So easy! And whipped cream would be great with it too!
I know you're probably drooling now and I promise I'm getting to the recipe, just one more thing--If you like to cook with cranberries all year round, buy a few bags now and stash them in your freezer. They last for months and are at their cheapest right now and then you won't have to hunt for them when you want to make this in the middle of the winter, or the spring, or the summer...Ok, enough, here's the recipe.
Cranberry Maple Pudding Cake
Prep Time: 10-12 minutes; Bake Time: 20-25 minutes
- 2 1/2 cups fresh or frozen, thawed cranberries
- 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- 1/4 cup water
- 2/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup fine or medium-grind yellow cornmeal
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and still warm
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Vanilla ice cream and/or whipped cream (optional)
1. Make sure rack is in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 400ºF. Butter a 2 quart baking dish or pie plate and set aside.
2. In a medium pot, mix together the cranberries, maple syrup and water. Bring to a simmer and cook for 3 minutes.
3. Scoop out (I used a ladle) 1/2 cup of the berry mixture, including some of the juice to a small bowl and set it aside. Pour the rest of the berry mixture in the baking dish and put the dish into the oven for about 5 minutes.
4. Whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.
5. Into another medium bowl, whisk the egg, milk, butter and vanilla together. Add the flour mixture and whisk only until just blended. Remove the baking dish from the oven and spoon out the batter over the berries (it's ok if it doesn't entirely cover the berries). Then spoon the reserved berries and juice any which way over the batter.
6. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the cake looks golden brown, feels crusty and springs back when you push it gently with your fingers. Cool the dish for about 5 minutes and then serve as is or with ice cream or whipped cream on the side.
Note: Recipe barely adapted from Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts by Alice Medrich.