Ideas for cooking with cranberry, pumpkin

At this time of the year, I become acutely aware of recipes that include cranberries, making it one of my favorite challenges. Along with looking for cranberry recipes, I also look for ways to use pumpkin. You can’t imagine how many ways there are to use those two “heralds of the holidays.”

So without further ado, here are some of my “finds.”

Cranberry Cake


2 ½ cups unbleached flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) butter, softened

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 cup buttermilk

Grated zest of 2 oranges

1 cup fresh cranberries, chopped

1 cup chopped dates

1 cup walnuts, finely chopped


Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. Cream the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Add the flour mixture and buttermilk, alternately, beating at low speed for 2 minutes. Beat in the orange zest. Stir in the cranberries, dates, and walnuts. Pour into a greased bundt or tube pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Invert onto a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container for 24 hours to enhance the flavor. Serve with whipped cream, if desired.

Pumpkin-Orange Bread


1 stick unsalted butter, melted, plus more for pan

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for pan

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon ground allspice

¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1 ¼ cups pure pumpkin puree from a 15-oz. can)

3 large eggs, room temperature

2 teaspoons grated orange zest, plus ¼ cup fresh juice

   from 1 large orange

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/3 cup pepitas (see note below recipe)


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brush a standard 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with butter and dust with flour, tapping out excess. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda, allspice, and nutmeg, 30 seconds. In another bowl, whisk together butter, pumpkin, eggs, orange zest and juice, and vanilla until smooth. Make a well in flour mixture and pour pumpkin mixture into it. Stir together just until combined and no dry flour remains (do not over-mix). Transfer to prepared pan and sprinkle top evenly with pepitas, pressing slightly to adhere. Bake until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 1hour to 1 hour, 10 minutes. Let cool in pan 10 minutes, then transfer loaf to a wire rack and let cool completely. Bread can be stored at room temperature, wrapped in parchment-lined foil, up to 3 days.

Note: Pepitas are edible pumpkin seeds and are a popular ingredient in Mexican cooking. With their white hull removed, they are a medium-dark green and have a deliciously delicate flavor, which is even better when the seeds are roasted and salted. Pepitas are sold salted, roasted and raw, and with or without hulls.

Cranberry-Orange White Chocolate Cheesecake


24 square shortbread cookies, finely crushed (about 1-3/4 cups)

2 tablespoons butter, melted

4 packages (8 oz. each) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened

1 cup sugar, divided

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 package (4 oz.) BAKER’S White Chocolate, melted

4 eggs

1 teaspoon cornstarch

1 tablespoon zest and ½ cup juice from 2 large oranges, divided

1 ½ cups fresh cranberries


Heat oven to 325 degrees. Combine cookie crumbs and butter; press into bottom of 9-inch springform pan. Bake 10 minutes. Beat cream cheese, ¾ cup sugar and vanilla in large bowl with mixer until blended. Add chocolate, mix well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each until just blended. Pour over crust. Bake 1 hour to 1 hour 5 minutes or until center is almost set. Run a knife around rim of pan to loosen cake, and before removing rim. Refrigerate cheesecake 4 hours.

Meanwhile mix cornstarch and 1 tablespoon orange juice until blended. Bring cranberries, remaining orange juice and remaining sugar to boil in saucepan on medium high heat, simmer on low heat 6 minutes or until cranberries are softened, stirring frequently. Stir in cornstarch mixture, bring to boil, stirring constantly. Cook and stir 1 minute, or until thickened. Remove from heat. Stir in orange zest. Cool. Refrigerate until ready to use. Spoon cranberry glaze over cheesecake just before serving.

Enjoy the season!


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