Desserts Pies / Tarts / Pastries / Sweet Things in Pans

cranberries all around

it’s a three-fer: honey-sweetened cranberry compote, refrigerator jam, and galette ::::

I squirrelled away autumn produce this year out of fear of winter cooking boredom and because of excess (see my pumpkin chronicles). I apparently had no such boredom this winter, happy to find an onslaught of recipes crowding my desk at any given time. Thus, the fruit hoarded in the freezer is making its appearance now. One favorite: the cranberry. So I look the unseasonal oddity, baking pumpkin cookies in the spring and creating cranberry concoctions in the summer. I figure I need to clear out the freezer for summer fruits to save for use in the winter (explosion of winter citrus notwithstanding).

I didn’t buy any cranberries during the typical Thanksgiving meal preparation frenzy since I left that cooking to the mother-in-law this year. As a child, I never felt compelled to eat the canned jellied mass served at Thanksgiving, even with it masquerading as the ever-present Jello at relatives’ tables.

Compote in the sieve, jam in the bowl

When my mother made a wonderful fresh cranberry relish with orange, it changed me. I was convinced, however, that the fresh, unaltered cranberry would taste just as it looked: bright red, like a small cherry. I was hoodwinked: the cranberry may have looked like a cute baby cherry, but it was so tart and acerbic, the spongy pop of the first bite is still an audible reminder that one should not judge a book, or a fruit, by its cover.

Honey-sweetened cranberry jam, with syrup

I’ve gotten over that, obviously. I enjoy my cranberries aplenty, sweetened,  in all sorts of permutations. Although white sugar would work here (double the amount, as honey is twice as sweet as regular sugar), I like the natural, unprocessed sweetening with honey. These recipes are the prescriptions for a thick compote and a sparkling refrigerator jam, not wasting a single part of the berry. Consider your compote for a swirl into thick Greek yogurt, set atop pound cake or cheesecake, mix into ice cream, eat plain, or make into a bright cranberry galette (see recipe below — that makes it a three-fer post!). The jam is pretty on pancakes, swirled in yogurt or skyr (my post about that here). The more syrupy part of the jam can be mixed into sparkling water for a homemade soda. (Call it a four-fer post, if you consider the syrup a separate creation.)


cranberries all around
Recipe type: dessert
  • 3 cups cranberries (340 grams = 12 ounces)
  • 1¾ cup honey*
  • ¾ cup water
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (1 large lemon)
  1. Combine all ingredients except lemon juice over medium heat and cook to boil.
  2. Immediately turn down to low heat to simmer. Cook to pop cranberries, stirring occasionally.
  3. Turn off heat and cool mixture to room temperature.
  4. Strain over sieve. Compote yield = 1¾ cups = 350 ml. Liquid (which will become the jam) yield = 1½ cups = 300 ml. Store in refrigerator TO MAKE THE GALETTE WITH THE COMPOTE: Choose your favorite pie crust recipe and roll to 10- to 11-inch diameter circle on parchment (or silicon mat). Transfer to baking sheet. (You'll need 1 pound of dough to be able to achieve a 9- to 10-inch circle.)
  5. Use all of compote and spread over top of pie crust, leaving about a 2-inch border surrounding the compote.
  6. Fold edges over to keep filling from oozing out during baking. Don't be too fancy or precise; it's rustic. Dust crust with cinnamon.
  7. Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes, or until edges are browned. You may need to adjust this baking time drastically, depending on the type of crust you use. For example, a wheat flour, sour cream crust will bake very differently than an all-purpose flour, full-butter crust.
  8. Cool to warm and serve with ice cream or a side of skyr.
* Choose a floral or robust honey, depending on how you want the flavor to come through in the end. A robust honey will dwarf the cranberry tang more than the floral notes.



  • Nicole June 27, 2011 Reply

    I do the same thing, squirreling everything away for a rainy day that never comes. I am always saving my favorites like blueberries and raspberries and then I find them in my freezer when it is time to put up the next years batch. It was sad, we found ourselves eating last years salmon a couple of weeks ago, just as the run started this year and we could have eaten the good stuff. Oh well…it's all good really!

  • Story June 27, 2011 Reply

    Nicole- you are right, it's all good — usually! I get a little concerned about my frozen treasures going too long. I'm glad your salmon was edible. My Chinese pork dumpling filling, however, was soooooo NOT.

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