BRIAN IN THE KITCHEN  brought to you by Stittsworth Meats

December 2 2010

Cranberry Shortcakes

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For the cranberries:
3 cups fresh cranberries
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 (1 1/2-inch) cinnamon sticks
1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled
1 cup water
1 tart green apple, cored, peeled and diced
1 pear, cored, peeled and diced

For the shortcakes:
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
4 teaspoons baking powder
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 cup cold butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup pecans or walnuts
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup buttermilk, plus more for glazing
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons granulated sugar

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the cranberries, sugar, cinnamon sticks, ginger and water. Cook until most of the cranberries have popped, 5 to 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cranberries to a bowl. Cook the juice until it has reduced by half to make syrup. Remove the cinnamon and ginger. Add the apple and pear and cook until they're tender but not mushy, 10 to 12 minutes. Add the cranberries and stir to combine. Remove from heat and let cool.

Make the Shortcakes: In a food processor, combine the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and sugar. With the machine running, add the butter, a few pieces at a time, then the pecans, the egg and the 1/2 cup buttermilk. Process until all the ingredients are just combined.

Preheat an oven to 450F.

Place eight 1/3 cup portions of dough about 2-inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet.

Brush the tops of the cakes with buttermilk.

Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack.

Whip the cream with 2 tablespoons sugar just until soft peaks form.

To serve, split the shortcakes in half. Cover the bottom half with cranberry mixture, then a dollop of whipped cream, and top with some more cranberries. Cover with the top half of the shortcake.

Makes 8 shortcakes.