This time of year, we get a little cranberry crazed. Cranberries are a wetland fruit which grows on trailing vines like a strawberry. The beds where cranberries can be found were originally formed by glaciers over 10,000 years ago. The glacial deposits created layers of organic materials (sand, peat, gravel etc.) that created the environment necessary to sustain healthy cranberry plants. Wetlands are nature’s sponges; they store and purify water and help to maintain the water table.
Cranberries are found throughout the Northeast of the United States and The Lodge at Woodloch is proud to have a naturally occurring cranberry bog right on our own property. The Cranberry Bog is located along the shores of our private 15-acre lake. The protected area is home to over 4 species of endangered plants and communities of plants and is a sanctuary to animals, birds and reptiles native to the lake region of Northeast Pennsylvania.
We always know that fall is upon us when we see the cranberries in the bog. It is one of our most beautiful times of the year, but it seems to slip by with the blink of an eye. We take our cues from nature, and once the cranberries are ripe, we incorporate them into recipes and menus at TREE Restaurant. Culinary Creative Director Josh Tomson has shared four delectable recipes using fresh cranberries.
For more seasonal inspiration, you can purchase a copy of our Nurture with Nature cookbook here.
Cranberry & Butternut Squash Stuffing
1 butternut squash, peeled, halved, seeded, and cut into 3/4-inch pieces (8 cups)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 large sprigs sage, finely chopped
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 onions, finely chopped
6 stalks celery, finely chopped
3 tablespoons thyme, finely chopped
2 teaspoons minced rosemary
14 ounces roasted peeled chestnuts, coarsely chopped
1 loaf brioche with crust, cut into small cubes
2 cups chicken or turkey stock
8 ounces crumbled goat cheese
1 cup fresh or dried cranberries
1 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons chopped oregano
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Toss squash with oil and sage; season with salt and pepper. Spread in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast, until golden brown and tender, about 40 minutes. Melt butter in a large straight-sided sauté pan over high heat. Add onions, celery, thyme, rosemary, oregano, chestnuts, 2 teaspoons salt, and 3/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent, 5 to 6 minutes. Add to a large bowl with bread, goat cheese, cranberries, and squash mixture. Drizzle with stock; toss to combine. Stir in parsley; season with salt and pepper. Bake at 350 for approximately 30 minutes or until lightly golden brown.
Cranberry White Chocolate Cookies
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup dried cranberries, chopped
3/4 cup white chocolate chips
3/4 cup macadamia nuts, chopped
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheet with parchment paper. With an electric mixer, cream the butter and both sugars together until smooth. Add the vanilla and egg, mixing well. Sift together the flour and baking soda. Spoon the flour mixture gradually into the creamed sugar mixture. Stir in the cranberries, white chocolate chips and macadamia nuts. Drop by heaping spoonfuls, about 2 tablespoons, onto the prepared baking sheets, 2 inches apart. Bake one sheet at a time until lightly golden on top and the edges are set, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on the sheet about 5 minutes, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
Cranberry Orange Relish
12 ounces fresh cranberries
2 oranges, peeled
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped
Using a grinder attachment on your kitchen aid mixer, grind the cranberries, oranges, and pecans in intervals. Transfer the chopped fruit and pecans to a 1-quart bowl and add 1/2 cup of the sugar, stirring to mix. Add more sugar to taste, as the sweetness of the oranges will vary.
Hand-Crafted Focaccia Pizza with Caramelized Cipollini Onions, Cranberries, & Brie
For the Focaccia
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 3/4 cups lukewarm water
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for the pan
For the Topping
2 cups quartered Cipollini onions or shallots, sliced
1 poblano pepper, small diced
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil, for brushing on top
2 cups shredded mozzarella
10 ounces brie, cut into cubes
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, finely chopped
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, or in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, mix together all the dough ingredients until the flour is fully absorbed. You don’t need to actually knead the dough, though I sometimes knead it a few times in the bowl when mixing by hand to incorporate the last of the flour. Cover and let it rise for 1-2 hours at room temperature. Use it right away, or transfer to the fridge overnight. Lightly spray or cover a half-sheet pan or baking sheet with 1 tablespoon olive oil and pat the dough out so that it fills the entire pan. If it springs back, wait a few minutes and then continue patting it out. Let the dough rise uncovered until puffy—about 1/2 hour for room temperature dough, or an hour for refrigerated dough. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Uncover the dough and brush the top with 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil, paying special attention to the edges and corners. Gently dimple the top of the focaccia all over by pressing your fingertips about halfway down into the dough. Top the dough with shredded mozzarella, onions, and diced poblano peppers. Distribute the cubes of brie evenly over the onions and peppers, followed by the cranberries. Finish by sprinkling the rosemary and oregano over top along with as much course black pepper as you like. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the bottom of the crust is golden.