Feeling a Bit Down? As Auntie Mame Famously Said: “We Need A Little Christmas, NOW.” Why Not Start By Trying One of These Festive Holiday Recipes Featuring Cranberries?

December 20, 2008 by  
Filed under Anne Holmes, Blog, Food & Recipes

Need a Little Christmas? Try Cranberries!

Enough of the Economic Doom and Gloom! “We Need a Little Christmas, Now!”

No matter what you think of Lucille Ball in this clip from “Mame,” the sentiment is correct: “We need a little Christmas!” It’s time to start celebrating the wonder of our end-of-year holidays. We need to lighten up, smile and enjoy life! Cranberries can help! And I don’t mean those cranberry garlands kids string for the tree…

After all, whether your family prefers to celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or Winter Solstice, chances are you’re looking for some tasty and healthy new recipes to compliment the traditional ones you always make and serve.

Here are a trio of great recipes, all featuring nutritious, delicious fresh or frozen cranberries. Cranberries are in season this time of year. Why not try these recipes using fresh cranberries?

They’re not only chock full of good stuff like antioxidants which means they’re really good for you – but they freeze well, too.  Which means you can buy several bags and freeze the extra for use later this year!

My first recipe gift to you is a great cranberry dessert recipe, which I just received from my mother. She’s already made it, served it to her friends and reports that it’s fantastic! The fruit layer of this trifle comes out a beautiful ruby red color and it’s as impressive looking as it is easy to make.

Make it in a large glass bowl if you have one, so the colorful layering is visible. Your guests begin eating with their eyes, after all!

Considering how healthy cranberries are, I can’t wait to spend a bit of time in the kitchen and create my own version of this luscious dessert!

Cranberry Trifle


2 (12oz) bags cranberries (fresh or frozen)

2-1/4 cups sugar

2 tbsp. finely grated peeled fresh ginger

2 cups water

2-12oz pound cakes, cut into 3/4-inch cubes

1 8oz cream cheese at room temperature

1/4 cup packed light brown sugar

1/2 tsp. pure vanilla

2 cups heavy cream


In medium saucepan combine cranberries, 2 cups sugar, ginger and 2 cups water. Bring to a simmer over medium heat; cook till cranberries begin to pop (8-10min) and sauce thickens. Let cool completely.

Make cream filling: using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese, brown sugar, remaining ¼ cup sugar and vanilla on high till well combined. With mixer on medium, gradually add heavy cream; continue beating till soft peaks form.

Arrange 1/3 of cake in a 3-qt. serving dish. (Traditional trifles are served in glass bowl which allow the layers to show from the outside.) Spoon 1/3 of compote over cake, spread to sides of dish. Dollop 1/3 of cream filling over compote; spread to sides of dish. Repeat twice, ending with cream filling. Cover, refrigerate at least 2hrs ( or up to 1day).

Next up is a recipe from Sharon at the Baby Boomer Advisor Club. Sharon’s not only a great Southern cook, but a huge believer in the nutritional value of cranberries. This one makes a fantastic homemade holiday gift, too!

Holiday Cranberry Apricot Chutney


1/4 cup diced dried apricots

2 large apple diced with the skin on (McIntosh are recommended)

1 (12 ounce) package fresh cranberries

1/2 cup raisins, dark or white

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1 pinch ground cloves

1 cup water

3/4 cup white sugar or sugar substitute

1/4 cup cider vinegar

1/4 cup of lemon juice

Grated peel of one orange

Optional: 2 tablespoons orange juice

Optional: 1/2 cup chopped pecans


In a medium bowl mix together the fruits and spices. In a medium saucepan, boil water and sugar, stirring constantly, until sugar is dissolved. Add the dried fruit mixture, lemon juice and vinegar. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, and allow to cool for 5 minutes.

You may optionally add the juice of the orange as well…not too much, as you don’t want to cut the apricot flavor. And if you like a bit of crunch, add the pecans or walnuts.

Serve immediately, or date and refrigerate in a covered container.

Makes about 5 cups.

Note: Chutney can be made 3 days ahead and stored, covered, in the refrigerator or up to three weeks ahead and frozen. Thaw in the refrigerator for 24 to 36 hours (this depends on the shape of your container and the temperature of your fridge).

This chutney is very versatile. You can use it as a meat glaze on chicken, turkey, or pork. Alternately, it is fantastic served on your apple, or mince meat pies along with your with ice cream.

And here’s a great recipe I found on the Cape Cod Cranberry Growers Association site. This one will make your friends sit up and say, “Wow!”

Cranberry Risotto


2 cups cranberry juice cocktail (I recommend the “lite” version, which has all the great taste, but far fewer calories.)

1 cup short grain white rice (such as Arborio)

¼ cup leeks, chopped

Salt and pepper

¼ cup Feta cheese, crumbled

½ cup sweetened dried cranberries (you may know these as “craisins”)

2 tablespoons olive oil


Pour Cranberry Juice Cocktail into small sauce pan and place on medium-high heat. Bring to a boil.

Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to a 1 quart sauce pan and place over high heat. Add leeks and salt and pepper. Sauté until leeks are translucent and then add the rice. Stir until the rice is coated with oil.

Add the boiling cranberry juice cocktail to the rice and leeks. Stir. Cover. Turn heat down to a simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes.

Remove from heat, add cheese and sweetened dried cranberries, stir well.

Turn into serving dish. Serve hot.

Makes 8 servings.

More Cranberry Recipes:

If you’d like to see more recipes featuring cranberries, here are some great links:

How About 40 More Fabulous Cranberry Recipes?

Here’s exactly the answer you’re seeking: A beautiful cookbook featuring fabulous photography and 40 fantastic cranberry recipes created by master chefs and served at wonderful restaurants – now available for you to make in your own kitchen. It’s Cranberries: 40 Recipes for Fine Dining at Homeby Elaine Elliot.

This book features cranberry infused breakfast dishes, appetisers, soups, sides, main dishes and desserts from famous restaurants around the country. Aren’t you hungry for dishes like:

  • Christmas Morning Cranberry Muffins
  • Cranberry Almond Pancakes
  • Chilled Cranberry and Raspberry Soup
  • Brie Baked en Croute with Cranberry Sauce
  • Country Pate with Cranberry Compote
  • Pork Tenderloin Stuffed with Red Onion and Cranberry Confit
  • Pear and Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Dried Cranberry Brandy Cream
  • Cranberry Maple Bread Pudding

Grab this book now! After all, it’s true: “We need a little Christmas, now!”