[Review, Author Chat and Recipe] Time for Cranberries by Lisl H. Detlefsen and Jed Henry

No holiday table would be complete without beautiful festive cranberries. Whether you like your cranberry sauce fresh or from a can, there’s just something about that deep red color and distinctive tartness that speaks to cherished tradition and good times.

Maple Orange Cranberry Sauce via Kitchen Treaty

Alongside the magnificent gobbler and tricked-out starchy sides, cranberry sauce is like the pampered guest who knows it was invited to dinner just as much for its prettiness as its flavor. Not snobby in the least, cranberries enjoy being appreciated for their good looks.

In the past I’ve made lovely cranberry wreaths for the front door, strung garlands of it with popcorn to adorn our Christmas tree, baked them into muffins and breads, and made a delicious relish with grated orange rind. Often, if I’m asked to bring a side dish on Thanksgiving, I’ll make a cooked cranberry gelatin mold — one part retro, two parts jiggle. 🙂

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sylvia’s fruit tart

Fruit tart with raspberries, blueberries, kiwi and mango.

Isn’t it a beauty?

My half-sister Sylvia, who is a passionate foodie and chef extraordinaire, recently made this gorgeous fruit tart for her grandson’s birthday. Doesn’t it perfectly capture the essence of summer — all its colors and sweetness with its bounty of fresh fruit that’s ours just for the taking?

Of course when I saw it, I just had to ask for the recipe, which she graciously agreed to share with us. Next time you visit your farmer’s market or grocery store, look for a colorful selection of fruit to make your own tart. This is a nice dessert to celebrate Independence Day or to take to any picnic or cookout, sure to impress all your friends and guests.

Sylvia: To make the fruit tart, bake the crust until golden brown and pour enough of the cream filling to line it well (it doesn’t have to be too thick). Arrange any selection of fruit that appeals to you on top of the cream layer, just keeping in mind contrasting color and design. To finish it off and give it that polished, professional look, melt some currant jelly and brush it carefully onto the tops of the fruit. Bon Appétit!



1-1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1-1/2 sticks butter
1 T sugar
1/8 T salt

1. In food processor, combine flour, butter, sugar and salt and process until the mix resembles coarse meal.

2. Add one at a time, 3-4 tablespoons of cold water and process until mix resembles small peas. Do not mix until it forms a ball. Turn the dough out onto lightly floured surface and knead lightly just until dough comes together. Flatten into a 6-inch dish and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes or longer.

3. Roll dough into 15-inch disk. Press dough against the fluted side of the pan and trim off any excess. Prick the bottom, cover with plastic, and freeze for about 30 minutes before baking.

4. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Add pie weights and bake for 20 minutes or until pastry is almost dry. Remove foil and weights and bake for 5-8 minutes longer or until the crust is lightly browned.


(for 8″ pie or 11″ fruit tart)

½ cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
¼ tsp. salt
2 cups milk
3 egg yolks, slightly beaten
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon vanilla

1. Stir together sugar, cornstarch and salt in a sauce pan.

2. Blend egg yolks and milk together and gradually stir into sugar mixture.

3. Cook over medium heat , stirring constantly, until mixture boils and thickens.

4.  Boil and stir for one minute.

5. Remove from heat, blend in butter and vanilla.

6. For fruit tart, pour into bowl and cover with waxed paper or parchment.

7. Refrigerate until at room temperature.


Thank you so much, Syl! I’m still hoping you’ll adopt me, so I can pretend it’s my birthday all the time and I can eat treats like this every day ☺.


Copyright © 2012 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

friday feast: death by summer strawberries

“Spring being a tough act to follow, God created June.” ~ Al Bernstein

Hello there, Cutie Pies.

Happy June! We’re kicking off the summer with some sweet strawberry love.

There’s nothing more beautiful or tempting than a bowl of juicy, fragrant berries. You do like them, don’t you? Strawberry lovers are considered, “health conscious,  fun-loving, intelligent and happy.” Non-lovers = “weird, boring, stuffy — picky eaters who avoid healthy foods.” No, that couldn’t be you.

Love the deep red color and all those tiny seeds — did you know each is actually an ovary and considered a separate fruit?

Last weekend, the mustached one and I braved the heat and humidity to check out the Strawberry Festival in Delaplane, Virginia. What’s a little weird is that Delaplane isn’t in a big strawberry-producing area — they have to import strawberries from California to feed the estimated 10,000 people who attend. I guess if you’re busy going on hayrides, playing field games, listening to music, watching puppet shows, browsing craft tables, checking out the peanut roasting machine and petting farm animals, you can work up a big appetite.

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