Tag Archives: Dried Cranberries

Pumpkin Muffins with Dried Cranberries and Pumpkin Seeds for Halloween


For our annual Halloween pot luck at work, this year I decided to venture into pumpkins. I’ve never made dessert with pumpkins before so I thought that it would be the perfect fall/Halloween dessert (well, at least by my standards :)).

One thing that I wasn’t expecting with these muffins, and this is probably because I haven’t made anything with pumpkins before, is how moist they were. After I had baked them for the recommended amount of time, they felt sticky to the touch, and I thought that they weren’t done enough. Apparently – this is what pumpkin does, and since the inside looked baked enough – this was ok. The cranberries gave the muffins an extra tang and the pumpkin seeds were a nice added crunch. I was also interested in the cranberries because of the colour variation they gave to the golden-coloured muffins. I think this played out well in the photographs.
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For high resolution images, please click on each photo.

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RECIPE

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Pumpkin Muffins with Dried Cranberries and Pumpkin Seeds

Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar packed
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup olive oil plus more for oiling muffin pan
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans and cranberries
Preparation:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In large bowl, whisk flour with baking soda, pie spice and salt.
In another bowl, combine sugars, pumpkin, buttermilk, oil and egg. Whisk until well blended.
Stir in dry ingredients just until completely incorporated. Fold in pecans. Spoon batter equally into 12 oiled muffin cups and bake 20 to 25 minutes or until muffins spring back when lightly touched in centers. Remove from pan and cool on wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.
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Of Golden Rugalachs, Cannolis and Saint’s Days


Every October, my family celebrates, what in English can be best translated as Saint’s Day. Saint’s Day or Krsna Slava is the Serbian Orthodox tradition of the ritual celebration, veneration, and observance of our family’s own patron saint. The custom itself goes back to 7th century BC and you can read more about it here. Every October 12th, my family gathers with 20 or so of our closest friends for celebration, singing, dancing and of course tons of great food. My mom makes many great goodies, mostly traditional Serbian fare (see below for her homemade roasted red pepper salad). On this day, my contribution has usually been baked goods, and I see it as an opportunity to bake something new every year. This year I opted for Golden Rugalach and Cannolis. I wanted something fairly easy and delicious at the same time.
The Rugalach’s flakey pastry is my favourite part, as it just melts in your mouth.
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Another thing that I really like about this rugalach is that it makes for really pretty photos. The golden colours of the apricot preserve, baked eggwash and hazelnuts are very vibrant against the white plate.

This was my very first time making cannolis. It turns out that if you don’t make the shells yourself, the process is quite easy. I chose a recipe that called for store-bought shells and I just made the filling. The combination of ricotta and chocolate chunks and cranberries is very nice. The recipe calls for dried cherries but I substituted cranberries. The filling can also keep in the fridge for several days. I ended up not using all of it so I made crepes a few days later that ate up the filling 🙂

On the day of Slava, I went to my parents house early to help with the preparations. My mom was busy at work, preparing and plating her roasted red pepper salad. I couldn’t resist capturing some of it, especially how skillful she is in the kitchen. She seems to whip up things out of nowhere and in no time, of course! 🙂 (how do moms do this?) The red roasted peppers were perfect eye candy for my 50 mm.
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For high resolution images, please click on each photo.

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recipes

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Golden Rugalach

Ingredients
Dough:
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks, 8 ounces) unsalted butter, cut in pieces and chilled
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, cut in chunks and chilled
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream or Greek yogurt
Filling:
  • 3/4 cup hazelnuts, toasted
  • 1 cup apricot preserves
  • 2/3 cups golden raisins
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • Egg Wash:
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup sugar
Directions
For the dough: Pulse the flour, sugar and salt in food processor until combined. Add the butter and pulse until it resembles coarse sand with some pea-sized pieces of butter, about 20 times. Add the cream cheese and sour cream, and pulse until it comes together in a rough dough (with some uneven pebbles sized-pieces). Turn the dough out of the bowl onto a floured work surface and divide into 4 equal portions. Pat each portion into a flat square and wrap in plastic wrap. Freeze dough for 15 minutes
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Meanwhile, chop the nuts in a clean food processor. Add the preserves, raisins and salt; puree to make a very smooth paste. Roll a portion of dough into a 6 by 14-inch rectangle about 1/4-inch thick. (Don’t worry about slightly rough edges; these will be rolled inside of the rugalach.) Spread 1/4 of the filling over the surface with a small spatula. Starting with a long side, roll the dough up into a tight cylinder ending with the seam on the bottom. Press the top slightly to flatten; wrap in plastic wrap. Freeze for another 15 minutes. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling. (The cylinders can be frozen for up to a month.) Meanwhile, evenly position the racks in the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F.
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Line 2 baking sheets with parchment or silicone baking mats. Slice the cylinders into 1 1/2-inch pieces, and place rugalach seam-side down on the prepared pans. Whisk the egg yolks together and brush this glaze over the top of the rugalach. Sprinkle with sugar and bake until pale golden and crispy on top, about 25 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool slightly on the baking sheet. Carefully transfer rugalach to a rack to cool. Serve. Store rugalach in a tightly sealed container for up to 3 days

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Chocolate Cherry Cannoli

Ingredients:

  • One 475 g tub extra-smooth ricotta cheese
  • 3 tbsp (45 mL) icing sugar
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla
  • ⅓ cup (75 mL) chopped bittersweet chocolate
  • ⅓ cup (75 mL) dried cherries, chopped
  • 24 cannoli shells (see Tip)
  • Icing sugar or unsweetened cocoa powder
Scrape ricotta into fine mesh sieve set over bowl. Let stand for 30 minutes. Place ricotta in another bowl and discard any liquid. Whisk in icing sugar and vanilla with ricotta until smooth. Stir in chocolate and cherries until well distributed.
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Spoon mixture into piping bag or large resealable bag and cut opening. Pipe mixture evenly into cannoli shells and place on platter. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 2 days. (The cannoli shells will soften the longer they sit.)
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Sprinkle with icing sugar or cocoa powder before serving.
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Tip: Look for cannoli shells at Italian delis, specialty food stores and large grocery stores. Some bakeries will sell you empty shells provided you call ahead to order.