Cranberry Bars

IMG_6816When cranberries are fresh in the fall, I buy several pounds of them, to store in the freezer.  I use them for all sorts of baking, adding to savoury stuffings, sliced thinly to garnish, or to add as a tart bite to salads.  They’re a great addition to home-made dog food, too (in case you were wondering).

This year I thought I’d be smart and buy 10 pounds of them.  That’s a whole lot of cranberries.  Now as winter dies down (I’m being optimistic), I’ve been making curd with them. As I was figuring that out, I thought about trying them as a topping for a cookie bar, like lemon bars.  After a few tries, I’ve got this one figured out.  They need a little more cooking, and a little more stabilizing from flour than lemon bars.  The red filling is a nice change, and the tartness of the berries with the orange citrus is very yummy.

So here’s hoping that you have 4 cups of cranberries languishing in your freezer, so you can try these out.

Click here for printable version.

Makes One 9” x 13” Pan (48 pieces)

Ingredients:

Crust:

1 c butter, cut up into 1” cubes

½ c icing sugar

2 c flour

Filling:

1 orange

4 cups fresh or frozen cranberries

4 large eggs

1½ c sugar

½ c flour

1 t baking powder

pinch of salt

icing sugar – to dust

Directions:

Zest and juice the orange, keeping them separate

Put the orange juice in a measuring cup, and top up with water until you have ¾ cup of liquid.

Place the cranberries and orange juice-water mixture in a pot.IMG_6815

Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries have burst and the juices are running freely.

Pour into a sieve placed over a bowl.IMG_6801

Push the pulp through using the back of a spoon, removing and discarding the seeds and skins.IMG_6802There will be a little more than a cup of pulp.IMG_6803

Let cool.

Preheat the oven to 350°.

Pulse the crust ingredients in a processor until no piece of butter is larger than a pea.

Line the bottom and ends of a 9” x 13” pan with parchment.  This is so it is easy to lift out the bars after cooling, for cutting.

Spread the processed crust ingredients into the pan, pressing down with your hands.

After baking for a couple of minutes, to show the butter throughout.  Also shows the parchment at the ends of the pan.

After baking for a couple of minutes, to show the butter throughout. Also shows the parchment at the ends of the pan.

Bake for 12 minutes.

While the crust bakes, mix up the filling.

Whisk the eggs and orange zest into the cranberry pulp.IMG_6805

Whisk in the sugar.IMG_6806

Lastly, whisk in the flour, baking powder & salt.IMG_6808

IMG_6809

Remove the crust from the oven when ready, it should be just tinged with colour.IMG_6810

Gently pour the filling over the crust.IMG_6811

Return to the oven and continue to bake for another 30 minutes longer.IMG_6812

Let cool on a rack, then chill.

Run a knife down the long sides of the pan, releasing the sides of the bars.

Using the parchment at the ends of the pan, lift the squares out to a cutting surface.

Cut across into 8 long bars, and then cut each of those bars into 6 pieces.

Store in a covered container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Plate the squares, and then dust with icing sugar using a sieve.  Hold the sieve about 10 – 12 inches above the bars so you get a dusting of sugar instead of clumps.

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