Cranberry Clementine Sauce

Homemade Cranberry Clementine Sauce is the perfect accompaniment to the festive turkey. The bright shiny flavours are enhanced by a touch of spice.

cranberry sauce in a glass bowl on a white tablecloth surrounded by clementines and greenery

If you could give or take Cranberry Sauce on your festive table then it’s quite possible that it’s because you have never had a homemade cranberry sauce. My friend, this is quite a different beast and you will be smitten!

The syrupy sweet congealed sauce that is dolloped obligingly out of a jar is light years away from the ruby red zesty rich cranberry sauce made with fresh cranberries, a touch of citrus and a whisper of spices.

Cranberry Clementine Sauce in a glass bowl on a white tablecloth

Why should you make this Cranberry Clementine Sauce?

  • It’s so easy. Quicker than dragging your boots on, back out in the snow to the only all-night grocery.
  • Cranberries and clementines are the perfect partnership – bringing out the best in each other. A sweet and tangy compliment of flavour.
  • It adds more than just sweetness to your plate as it seems to make everything taste fresher somehow.
  • This recipe also keeps really well – you simply must load up the fridge with jars so you still have plenty to delve into well into next year.

Cranberry Clementine Sauce on a white tablecloth surrounded by clementines and greenery

How do you make Homemade Cranberry Clementine Sauce?

  1. Pour the water and sugar into a saucepan and simmer for 5-10 minutes until the sugar has dissolved.
  2. Add the cranberries and simmer for 5-10 minutes, stirring well. Once the cranberries are just beginning to break down then remove from the heat and stir in the spices and clementine zest.
  3. Store in the fridge in an airtight container until the sauce until needed.

Pro Tips and FAQs

  • Try not to break up those cranberries too much. They are lovely whole and bursting in your mouth when you take a bite.
  • This Cranberry Sauce keeps very well refrigerated due to the sugar syrup. Up to 2 months at least so it’s a great job to make ahead.
  • It’s worth noting that I’ve had huge success in canning this Cranberry Sauce in jars via the water bath method to ensure extra longevity. 10 minutes in the water bath is plenty. 

READ MORE >>> Water Bath Canning

Cranberry Clementine Sauce in a glass bowl on a white tablecloth surrounded by clementines and greenery

Have leftover cranberry sauce? Use it in these recipes:

Homemade Cranberry Clementine Sauce is also one of the easiest ways to take your festive feast to another level. . Since I began making it myself I have become a little obsessed with the stuff and now deem it a non-negotiable accompaniment to most of my meals throughout November and December. 

Plus, our turkey sandwiches just wouldn’t be the same without a generous smear of homemade cranberry sauce mixing it up with the mayonnaise. Just thinking of it now makes me long for Boxing Day!

I urge you to give this Cranberry Clementine Sauce a try. If you do then please leave a comment below and give the recipe a rating which helps others find the recipe on Google. If you then go on to use this recipe as a launch pad for your own culinary creation then I’d also love it if you’d share it and tag me on Instagram. It is so lovely for me to see your versions and variations of my recipes.

Cranberry Clementine Sauce

Homemade Cranberry Clementine Sauce is the perfect accompaniment to the festive turkey. The bright shiny flavours are enhanced by a touch of spice.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Condiment
Cuisine: British
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 90kcal

Ingredients

  • 150 ml caster sugar
  • 120 ml water
  • 300 g fresh cranberries
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • zest of 1 clementine

Instructions

  • Pour the water and sugar into a saucepan and simmer for 5-10 minutes until the sugar has dissolved.
  • Add the cranberries and simmer for 5-10 minutes, stirring well. Once the cranberries are just beginning to break down then remove from the heat and stir in the spices and clementine zest.
  • Chill the sauce until needed.

Notes

  • Try not to break the cranberries up too much when heating. You want about half of them to be lovely and whole and the other half squidgy and saucey.
  • This Cranberry Clementine Sauce keeps for an inordinately long time in the fridge since the sugar syrup preserves the sauce very well. You can easily make this sauce weeks in advance, although there’s no guarantee there’ll be any left for Christmas Day if you do that.
  • I have also had great success in canning this Cranberry Clementine Sauce via the water bath method to ensure extra longevity. After all, I still want to be eating my cranberry sauce well into June next year.
  • This recipe was adapted from a cookery class I attended many years ago at Divertimenti Cookery School in London. I have long since lost any details regarding the original writer of this recipe or which cookery class it was exactly I attended. It’s a pretty safe bet it was some sort of a Christmas cookery class though.

Nutrition

Calories: 90kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 31mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 20g | Vitamin A: 25IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 3mg | Iron: 0.1mg

This recipe was originally published in November 2017 but updated in November 2020 with clarification on the method.

Easy Christmas Cranberry Pie

overhead view of Cranberry Cream Pie

Easy Christmas Cranberry Pie is tart and fruity with a buttery biscuit crust, topped with whipped cream clouds.

overhead view of Cranberry Cream Pie

Colourful Christmas Cranberry Pie is a joyful end to any celebratory meal round the holiday season.

It helps that this easy cranberry pie is not only the most stunning deep magenta but is also utterly delicious. This pie has it all, the looks and the personality. Zingy, creamy and crunchy.

side view of a slice of Cranberry Cream Pie

What makes this Easy Cranberry Pie so good?

  • This is a great make-ahead dessert as it tastes best chilled so there is no last minute prep required.
  • The biscuit crust is thick and buttery rich, made from your favourite oat biscuits.
  • The filling is so easy to pull together – just fruity fresh cranberries pureed and mixed with condensed milk, a spritz of lemon juice and egg yolks.
  • Baked in the oven the filling turns into a creamy cranberry set custard. Think key lime pie or lemon meringue pie but with cranberries.
  • A heavenly light cream is whipped into clouds to adorn this delicious dessert.

overhead view of Cranberry Cream Pie

What do we need for our biscuit base?

1. Oat biscuits

Your pie and your choice of biscuit. I use gluten-free oat biscuits but you can use Hobnobs or plain digestives.

However, if you want a really special biscuit base then why not try making your own digestive biscuits which are made from oat flour and have an amazing buttery toasted flavour.

READ MORE >>> Gluten-Free Digestive Biscuits

2. Butter

Melt the butter and whizz up in the food processor with the oat biscuit crumbs to make a gorgeously buttery biscuit base. You can use salted or unsalted butter.

Pro Tip

When you are melting the butter for the biscuit base leave it to cool for a few minutes just so the butter is warm rather than hot when you add it to your biscuit crumbs. This helps your biscuit base from becoming too greasy.

overhead view of Cranberry Cream Pie with slice taken out

What do we need for our cranberry custard filling?

1. Fresh cranberries

If you are used to eating your cranberries from a jar then these tart little berries will be a revelation. They pop up in large UK supermarkets just before Thanksgiving at the end of November and you can usually find them next to the blueberries.

We heat the cranberries with a splash of water until they burst and thicken together. We then blend them to create a stunning deep pink puree.

Pro Tips

  • Using frozen cranberries is absolutely fine.
  • Use an immersion blender straight into the saucepan to blend the cranberries. It saves on getting pink juice all over your kitchen if you don’t have to transfer it anywhere.

2. Lemon juice, egg yolks and condensed milk

When we mix these 3 ingredients together with the cranberry puree the most beautiful alchemy occurs. Poured into our biscuit base and baked in the oven they become a gorgeously creamy set custard with an ever-so-gentle wobble.

No sugar is needed as all the sweetness comes from the condensed milk. The tartness from the lemon juice and cranberries is the perfect contrast.

side view of a slice of Cranberry Cream Pie

Whipped cream topping

The final light touch for our pie is a gorgeously light cream topping made with actual whipping cream. Whipped into billowing clouds this cream is a bit lighter than double cream and dissolves beautifully in your mouth. You can absolutely use double cream or heavy cream if that’s all you can find. Whipping cream doesn’t see as prevalent as it once was.

FAQs

Can Easy Cranberry Pie be made ahead?

Yes – the pie can be made up to 2 days ahead of when you want to serve it. I recommend whipping the cream on the same day you serve though otherwise it can deflate a little in the fridge.

Can you freeze it?

Yes, you can freeze it with or without the cream. Remove from the freezer the night before you want to serve it and defrost thoroughly in the fridge. Although a slice of still frozen pie straight from the freezer is a real cheeky treat!

More holiday desserts you’ll love!

If you make this Easy Christmas Cranberry Pie then please leave a comment below and give the recipe a rating which helps others find the recipe on Google. If you then go on to use this recipe as a launch pad for your own baking creation then I’d also love it if you’d share it and tag me on Instagram. It is so lovely for me to see your versions and variations of my recipes.

Easy Christmas Cranberry Pie

Easy Christmas Cranberry Pie is tart and fruity with a buttery biscuit crust, topped with whipped cream clouds.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time55 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 10 servings
Calories: 726kcal

Ingredients

  • 450 g cranberries + 3 tablespoons water
  • 500 g oat biscuits*
  • 200 g unsalted butter
  • Juice ½ lemon
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 397 g condensed milk 1 tin
  • 400 ml whipping cream

Instructions

  • Pre-heat the oven to 170°C/ 150°C fan/gas mark 3.
  • Place the cranberries in a medium sized saucepan with the water and cook on a low heat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until the cranberries have broken down.
  • Blend the cranberries until they are smooth then set aside in the fridge to cool completely.
  • Melt the butter in a small saucepan and leave to cool for a few minutes just so the butter is warm rather than hot which helps your biscuit base from becoming too greasy.
  • Whizz up the biscuits in a food processor then with the mixer still on pour in the melted butter until it combines with the biscuit to become a thick sandy texture.
  • Press the biscuit crust into a 23cm pie dish using the back of a spoon and push the base up the sides of the dish.
  • Bake the crust for 18 minutes then remove from the oven. Gently re-press and shape the biscuit crust which might have puffed up a bit and then leave to cool in the fridge to set whilst you make the filling.
  • Turn the oven down to 160°C/140°C fan/gas mark 1.
  • Mix the cranberries, lemon juice, egg yolks and condensed milk in a large mixing bowl.
  • Pour the cranberry filling into pie crust, smoothing out the top.
  • Bake the pie for 25 minutes, the cranberry filling should still be a little wobbly.
  • Leave to cool and set in the fridge overnight.
  • Whip the cream until thick and it can hold its shape then pipe over the top of the pie.
  • Serve chilled.

Notes

  • Oat Biscuits - I use gluten-free oat biscuits but you can use any. Hobnobs or digestive biscuits are also fine. If you like you could push the boat out and use Homemade Digestive Biscuits.
  • Biscuit Base - When you are melting the butter for the biscuit base leave it to cool for a few minutes just so the butter is warm rather than hot when you add it to your biscuit crumbs. This helps your biscuit base from becoming too greasy.
  • Fresh Cranberries - you can find these in the UK from November onwards. Usually in the berry aisle - next to the blueberries. Using frozen cranberries is absolutely fine too.
  • Whipping Cream - you can use double cream or heavy cream.
  • Make Ahead - The pie can be made up to 2 days ahead but whip and add the cream topping on the day you are serving.
  • Freeze - This pie can be frozen. It might be easier to freeze and store without the cream but if you have leftovers then these can be frozen in slices or whole. Defrost overnight in the fridge. In fact this pie is delicious still a little bit frozen!!!

Nutrition

Calories: 726kcal | Carbohydrates: 60g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 50g | Saturated Fat: 26g | Cholesterol: 277mg | Sodium: 337mg | Potassium: 286mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 31g | Vitamin A: 1470IU | Vitamin C: 7.3mg | Calcium: 183mg | Iron: 1.9mg

This post was originally published in December 2018 but updated in November 2020 with clearer instructions and more pro tips. The recipe remains the same.

Boozy Cranberry Mincemeat with Cointreau

Boozy Cranberry Mincemeat with Cointreau is a fresh, fruity filling for your mince pies. Gorgeously spiced and rich with festive flavour. Plus nut-free, vegan, suet-free and gluten-free if you’re looking for the perfect free-from mincemeat.

Cranberry Cointreau Mincemeat in a glass bowl next to jars of mincemeat and a bottle of cointreau on a wooden box

 

It’s traditional to whip up your Christmas mincemeat on stir-up Sunday (the last Sunday of November). That way all the flavours have a chance to bed in and get to know each other before becoming a blossoming mincemeat for your mince pies.

Well this mincemeat recipe doesn’t worry about any of that. The joy of this Cranberry Mincemeat is that it is just as delicious made fresh the hour before you make your mince pies or stored in a jar for a couple of weeks and brought out on Christmas Eve to make a last minute batch.

Why should you make this Boozy Cranberry Mincemeat this year?

  • The clue is in the title – boozy mincemeat! A great glug of Cointreau goes into this mincemeat to make it lusciously orangey and full of festive spirit. The combo of orange liqueur and cranberries is a total game-changer. We also add in pale ale and brandy for good Christmas measure.
  • Fresh cranberries! – They give the utmost fruitiness to our mincemeat, making it light bright and of course – fresh tasting. Dried cranberries are used for good measure.
  • It can be made last minute. It doesn’t need any resting time.
  • All the traditional flavours of mincemeat are still there. It’s not like eating a christmassy fruit pie – this is still very much a mince pie filling with dried vine fruits, spices and apples.
  • It’s a perfect mincemeat for all our free-from friends as it is vegan, suet-free, nut-free, dairy-free and gluten-free.

More mincemeat recipes you’ll love!

  • Easy Mincemeat Recipe – a real traditional go-to recipe
  • Old-Fashioned Beef Mincemeat – this one is made with actual beef mince. It’s not a Rachel from Friends moment – this is the way they used to do it! And it’s got to be tasted to be believed – so amazing!!!
 
Boozy Cranberry Mincemeat with Cointreau in a glass bowl on a wooden table

How do you make this Cranberry Mincemeat?

For full recipe instructions go to the recipe card at the end of this post.

The steps are simple:

  1. In a large saucepan add the fresh cranberries, sugar, ale, bramley apple, lemon juice and zest and all the spices. Bring to the boil then simmer for 10 minutes until some of the cranberries start to break down.
  2. In a large mixing bowl add the dried fruits and the dessert apples and add to the boiled mixture.
  3. Remove from the heat, add the dried fruits and give a very good mix through.
  4. Leave to cool completely before stirring through the brandy and Cointreau.

Pro TipBe gentle when mixing in the fresh cranberries. You want most of them whole so they burst in your mouth mid-bite adding a gorgeous tang to counteract the sweetness of the mincemeat.

Boozy Cranberry mincemeat with cointreau in a glass bowl on a wooden table in front of cointreau and jars of mincemeat

How do you store the mincemeat?

Once the mincemeat is ready store in clean and sterilised jars and keep in a cool dark place.

How long does it keep for?

This cranberry mincemeat keeps very well for up to 6 weeks. The alcohol and sugar help preserve it. However due to the fresh cranberries it doesn’t last months and months like other mincemeats. 

Need ways to use all your mincemeat?

I urge you to give this Cranberry Mincemeat a try. If you do then please leave a comment below and give the recipe a rating which helps others find the recipe on Google. If you then go on to use this recipe as a launch pad for your own culinary creation then I’d also love it if you’d share it and tag me on Instagram. It is so lovely for me to see your versions and variations of my recipes.

Cranberry Cointreau Mincemeat in a glass bowl next to jars of mincemeat and a bottle of cointreau on a wooden box
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Boozy Cranberry Mincemeat with Cointreau

Boozy Cranberry Mincemeat with Cointreau is a fresh, fruity filling for your mince pies. Gorgeously spiced and rich with festive flavour. Plus nut-free, vegan, suet-free and gluten-free if you're looking for the perfect free-from mincemeat.
Prep Time40 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Condiment
Cuisine: British
Servings: 64 servings
Calories: 63kcal

Ingredients

  • 100 g dried cranberries
  • 200 g raisins
  • 275 g currants
  • 100 g soft prunes stoned and blended to form a paste
  • 2 dessert apples peeled, cored and diced small
  • 500 g fresh cranberries
  • 300 g dark brown sugar
  • 250 ml gluten-free pale ale
  • 1 bramley apple peeled and grated
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 30 ml brandy
  • 100 ml Cointreau

Instructions

  • Pour the fresh cranberries, sugar, ale, bramley apple, lemon juice and zest and all the spices into a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer for 10 minutes until some of the cranberries start to break down.
  • In a large mixing bowl add the dried fruits and the dessert apples and add to the boiled mixture.
  • Remove from the heat, add the dried fruits and give a very good mix through, making sure the prune paste is evenly dispersed.
  • Leave to cool completely before stirring through the brandy and Cointreau.
  • Decant into sterilised jars and store until ready to use or use straightaway.

Notes

  • Yield 4x 380g jars
  • You can use this mincemeat straightaway for your mince pies. Or you can store in clean sterilised jars and keep in a cool dark place for up to 6 weeks.
  • Top tip - when you're heating up your fresh cranberries try not to break them up too much - you want to keep as many of them whole as you can.

Nutrition

Calories: 63kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Sodium: 3mg | Potassium: 99mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 25IU | Vitamin C: 1.8mg | Calcium: 11mg | Iron: 0.3mg

 

Raw Cranberry and Nut Energy Bars

Raw Cranberry and Nut Energy Bars are vegan, gluten-free and sugar-free. Full of protein and bursting with fruity flavour.

Raw Cranberry and Nut Energy Bars

The instructions in this recipe were updated in 2019 to make the method a little clearer

I make no bones about it, these energy bars have been shamelessly ripped from the Nakd bar. I was completely reliant on Nakd bars when I worked as a TV Producer. I was either too busy to have breakfast so I grabbed one of these, maybe I had edits that ran over lunch so I kept going by pulling one of these out of my bag, or I was working late which meant that dinner was pushed until I got home at some heinous hour and my Nakd bars would once again save the day. I always had heaps of them crammed into my desk drawer, handbag and coat pockets.

Raw Cranberry and Nut Energy Bars

Since I’ve been working from home, I haven’t found the need to rely so much on shop bought snacks, there is usually cake around or I’m recipe testing so I can munch on a bit of whatever I’m cooking or baking. Can you tell I was a bit more diet conscious when I wasn’t slouching around in tracky bums, baggy t-shirts and slippers all day.

Well, I’m upping the health factor in my life at the moment, making sure I achieve my 5-a-day, consume my 700mg of calcium and perhaps not rely on chocolate to fill the spare five minutes I have whilst waiting for the kettle to boil. With healthy eating comes healthy snacking so although I won’t rely on these bars like I used to it’s incredibly handy having something in that I can have if I need a sugar or protein hit. If I’m going for a long walk with Billy Buddy then I find that one of these is absolutely perfect for my dipping energy if I’m getting pulled around by an excitable little dog.

Raw Cranberry and Nut Energy Bars

Having exhausted all the flavours of Nakd bars during my obsession with them I always wanted to give them a go myself, after all there is only about four ingredients listed on the back of the packets. I should have carved out time to do this years ago, as they were one of the easiest things to prepare. If you own a food mixer then that’s all you need to whizz up the ingredients before you press into a tin, refrigerate and then cut into bars.

When I set about making these I didn’t have any particular plan in mind other than I wanted to use up some of my dried cranberries; I severely overestimated how many I would need over Christmas and my larder is overrun with them. I love cranberry and macadamia together and then found buried in the back the remains of a packet of macadamias which hadn’t gone out of date yet – score! There weren’t quite enough nuts so I amped up the quantity by substituting almonds. I also added dates which are the main ingredient in any Nakd bar to bind the bars together, I used plump sticky medjool dates to add juiciness and deeper flavour. There are more dates than cranberries in this recipe but the dates add the background note whilst the overriding zingy flavour is of the cranberries. I couldn’t resist adding a tablespoon of freeze dried raspberry powder either for more berry flavour.

Raw Cranberry and Nut Energy Bars

They worked out better than expected. The raspberry powder lifts the whole bar so it tastes fresher somehow. You can get raspberry powder from Father Christmas when he puts it in your stocking to open on Christmas morning or if you weren’t quite as lucky as I was then it’s easy enough to buy online.

These bars should keep for about a week in the fridge but you could also double the quantity I’ve suggested here and stick them in the freezer so you have lots to keep you going. I made mine in a smaller quantity of eight so I can move onto another flavour when these are done.

Raw Cranberry and Nut Energy Bars

Raw Cranberry and Nut Energy Bars

Raw Cranberry and Nut Energy Bars are vegan, gluten-free and sugar-free. Full of protein and bursting with fruity flavour.
Prep Time10 mins
Total Time2 hrs 10 mins
Course: Snack
Cuisine: British
Servings: 8 bars
Calories: 195kcal

Ingredients

  • 180 g medjool dates pitted
  • 75 g dried cranberries
  • 75 g macadamia nuts
  • 50 g blanched almonds
  • 1 tablespoon freeze dried raspberry powder

Instructions

  • Line and grease a 5 x 5 x 3 inch* square baking tin with two long pieces of baking parchment so they cross in the middle and come up and over the sides of the tin.
  • Place all the ingredients in a food processor and combine for 3-5 minutes until all the components have broken down and come together into a sticky ball.
  • Tip the mixture into the baking tin, press down on top so the surface is even.
  • Place in the fridge for a couple of hours to firm up then carefully remove from the tin, using the long ends of the baking parchment as leverage and cut into 12 bars.
  • Store the bars in the fridge in between snacking for about a week.

Notes

*I originally used a different baking tin for the bars made in the photos. This tin will make slightly wider shaped bars.

Nutrition

Calories: 195kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 2mg | Potassium: 232mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 22g | Vitamin A: 35IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 37mg | Iron: 0.8mg

SHOP THE RECIPE

The raspberry powder I used in this recipe was Freeze Dried Raspberry Powder 150g. It’s a lovely product and I find freeze-dried raspberry powder useful in so many recipes, from buttercreams to sponge cakes and also in homemade beauty products like lip balm – basically anytime I need a hit of raspberry without using fresh fruit which isn’t always appropriate.

I would be nowhere without my Magimix 4200XL Food Processor – Satin. I have easily had it over ten years and I use it nearly every day for whipping up dips, pestos, nut butters, nut and oat flour and making my breadcrumbs. The Magixmix is an impressive piece of kit which even survived being dropped when we moved into our house (although it did have to have the motor replaced but that wasn’t too expensive). I put all the attachments in the dishwasher and they come out brilliantly clean but it also gives just great results. I love my Magimix and along with my Kitchenaid is the piece of equipment I use most often in my kitchen.

This post is not sponsored but the images above are affiliate links which means if you decide you want to use these link to make your purchases then Amazon gives me a small commission at no cost to you whatsoever. I will only recommend products I use in my kitchen and love. To learn more about how the data processing works when using these Amazon affiliate links then please visit my privacy policy page.

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Energy Boosting Snack Ideas – FREE PDF!

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Bramley Apple and Cranberry Oat Bars

Bramley Apple and Cranberry Oat Bars

At 7.26pm a familiar crinkle of keys in the lock rouses puppy from his slumber in the corner of the kitchen.  His tail begins to wag furiously as he hurls himself up and scurries into the hall.  My husband opens the door with grandour and bends down to scuffle puppy’s wriggling little body.  Standing back up he loosens his tie and heads with long strides towards the kitchen.  I watch him as he stands before the fridge, reaching up to a round tin which is perched on the top.  He lifts it down giving a puzzled look, then shakes the tin which utters only hollow silence.  His face crumples, “No cake?”

I know, it’s crazy but true, since the beginning of January there has been no cake in this house and not surprisingly its absence is felt as keenly as a lost limb.  Even though if at the end of December it felt like I would swear off cake, biscuits and chocolate for good, having indulged in Christmas excess.  But like the sugar junkie I am I have been yanked off the wagon and thrown to the wolves.  And I blame TV.

Just before hubby came home I was drifting across the food channels, avoiding anything with loud shouty men and I came across the cookery show of one of my favourite food bloggers.  Now, this will come to no surprise to those who know me but I secretly like to think I’m a bit of a cowgirl.  So what if I live 5000 miles away from the nearest cattle ranch, riding horses makes my bum hurt and I can’t at any time be more than 15 mins away from the nearest Vietnamese restaurant. I strut down Stroud Green Road in my cowboy boots with pride.  So when I started reading The Pioneer Woman’s blog a few years ago, I fell in love.  At the moment she has a cookery show and I love watching those vast landscapes and clear skies, imagining myself herding cattle at dawn followed by downtime in the lodge frying steaks as big as my head and whipping up peach cobblers.  Ree Drummond always seems so happy and unflustered as she effortlessly fronts her own TV show, writes her blog, homeschools her children and still manages to reign supreme in her kitchen.

Now this blogger struggles to toilet train one puppy, barely manages a mediocre run round the block, never does her homework for writing class, always forgets at least two vitally important things from the shopping list and is constantly frustrated by the lack of workspace in my tiny North London kitchen.  I might be the epitomy of fluster.

There is always one thing that calms me down though and that’s getting involved in a new recipe.  And these oat bars which Ree was making on her cookery programme just made me want to run into the kitchen and start mixing up a batch, mainly since I immediately foresaw them with a fluffy tart apple filling.  I am on a bit of bramley apple kick at the moment, my current snack being unsweetened bramley apple sauce stirred up with a tablespoon of coconut milk for mid-afternoon fixes.  It’s addictive.

Bramley Apple and Cranberry Oat Bars

I also remembered about some leftover cranberries buried in the freezer which I am keen to use up before they become seasonally irrelevant.  So I added some of those into a saucepan with the bramleys and stewed them up with just a touch of sugar.  The oaty mixture encasing the fruit is packed with sweetness so balances out the slight sourness of the soft middle.

So, now my cake tin is happy.   And so are the other members of the household.

Bramley Apple and Cranberry Oat Bars

Adapted from The Pioneer Woman on the Food Network

2 medium bramley apples, about 450g, peeled, cored and diced
150g cranberries
1½ tbsp caster sugar
1 tbsp water
200g butter, at room temperature
185g plain flour
135g rolled oats
200g soft light brown sugar, sifted
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt

  1. Put the apples and cranberries in a medium saucepan with the caster sugar and water. Put the lid on and stew on a low heat for 20-30 mins, stirring occasionally until they have broken down and softened. Leave to cool.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 170°C and grease a rectangular baking tin 9” x 13”.
  3. In a large mixing bowl add the rest of the ingredients and rub together with your hands until everything has come together to form a light dough.
  4. Press ½ the dough into the base of the baking tin to form an even layer.
  5. Spread the cooled fruit on top.
  6. Crumble the rest of the dough on the top and press down lightly into the fruit, don’t worry too much about it spreading out evenly.
  7. Bake in the oven for 20-30 mins until the top is golden brown and the fruit bubbling up.
  8. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the oven for an hour or so before removing from the tin and cutting into bars.