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Our week has been filled with a little bit of crazy. On Tuesday, I was playing helper while Mr. BFR was installing a new toilet in our house. I turned one of the valves the wrong way, and we had a mini-geyser in the bathroom! Ooops. At least the bathroom ceiling is now really, really clean.
On Christmas Eve afternoon, I succumbed to some Twitter talk about Laurie Colwin's cranberry cake (she called it a pie) and decided that it'd be a great addition to the holiday food choices. Plus I had all the ingredients in the house and the cake is dead easy to make. So, about an hour before I was supposed to start roasting the chicken, I whipped up the cake.
Well, apparently I didn't put my springform together correctly because 20 minutes into the baking, smoke started billowing out of the oven! The cranberry juices had leaked onto the bottom of the oven, and the sugar was burning (not flaming). After turning on the exhaust fan and dismantling the smoke alarms . . . I took the half-baked cake out of the oven and we began the big cleanup.
Yep! we spent the better part of the afternoon scraping burned sugar out of the oven. ARGH. At least the oven is now really, really clean.
I decided to see if I could rescue the cake by putting it back in the oven to finish baking. (Yes, I did wrap the springform in foil this time.) Hey, you know what? The cake was very edible! It didn't rise or brown as it normally does and the fruit juices (which are supposed to mingle with the batter) had mostly dripped away, but it still tasted good. So this is truly a foolproof recipe!
Nothing like a little excitement to make the holidays fun! Hope your excitement involved a little less cleanup than ours did! (Note that I've been using springform pans for decades, and this is the first time I ever had one fail me. Lesson learned: double-check that you've put the pan together correctly.)
Here's the recipe; my additions and options are in brackets. Although Colwin called this a pie, it's really more like a cake or claflouti.
Nantucket Cranberry Pie
- Chop enough cranberries to make 2 cups and enough walnuts to make 1/2 cup.
- In the bottom of a 10-inch springform or deep dish pie plate, place chopped cranberries, chopped walnuts, and 1/2 cup sugar. [I add the grated zest of an orange here.]
- Mix 2 eggs, 3/4 cup melted butter, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup flour, and 1 teaspoon almond extract. [You can use vanilla here instead, if you'd like.] Stir until smooth.
- Pour over cranberry-walnut mixture and bake for 40 minutes at 350F.