This is where cranberries go to heaven: Cranberry Pudding

I ripped this recipe out of my Taste of Home magazine months ago and decided that I’d make this when 1) I had some cranberries to use up and 2) I had a springform pan. I like to buy up a dozen or so bags of cranberries from the produce section in my grocery store just after Christmas or Thanksgiving (it usually goes on sale then and you can get them cheap) and just store them in the freezer. Whole cranberries freeze like nobody’s business. Then you can throw them into a berry pie, breads, or make a fancy cranberry pudding.

The PushPan.

Cranberries? Check.

Now all I needed was a springform pan. E and I went shopping over the weekend and stumbled in to my favorite kitchen store. I was looking through their springform pans when I saw the PushPan. (I feel like we could be talking about someone’s idea of a lame push present. “You just had a baby? I know, you need a Push Pan! Tahdah!”) It’s basically a metal plate with a gasket around it that you push down into a ring. It doesn’t say it exactly, and the staff at the kitchen store couldn’t say for sure, but it works in lieu of a springform pan. It also works fine as a regular cake pan – you can even push the pan up or down to change the depth of your cake. The gasket is a nice touch since it prevents leaks. I figured I’d take it home and see if I could make it work for the cranberry recipe. If I couldn’t, at least I’d still have a neat cake pan.

Springform-ish pan? Check. Lets get baking!

Baked Cranberry Pudding

Overall: four-star

This traditional recipe, from Taste of Home Magazine, is very good – just a ton of clean up!

Ease to Prepare: one-star

Aren’t they beautiful?

This was quite an involved process – across three bowls and a sauce pan. Plus it took over an hour to bake. Definitely invest an entire afternoon in prep, baking, and clean up.

Instructions: five-star

I usually just separate my eggs using the shells, but this little guy is too adorable not to give him some love every once and again.

I was happy with the instructions. They included a lot of detail, without being overly wordy or complex. I also liked that it highlighted in the ingredient list that the eggs were separated and the cream of tartar was divided. And extra points for including information about reheating this if you’re making it ahead of time.

Food: four-star

I can just taste the tradition in this recipe. It’s one of those flavors that you know has been served at Thanksgiving for decades. It doesn’t necessarily need to be a Thanksgiving or Christmas treat either. I made it up as a pre-Valentine’s treat and it’s great. I think it could even be good in the summer with a little vanilla ice cream on the side. The cranberries are just slightly tart and the whole berries burst in your mouth as you bite them.

The flavor isn’t crazy-pants amazing, but it’s amazing for a cranberry dessert. E and I had a long talk about how certain foods need their own scale. It’s just not fair to pit cranberries against chocolate and pecan desserts (that combination makes me crazy excited – YUM). Or canned tuna against fresh smoked salmon, for example. We agreed though, that this dessert is where cranberries die and go to heaven.

The presentation of it isn’t spectacular – it actually made me think a little of fruit cake – but the whole cranberries on top make up for the heavy bottom. Also, the texture isn’t as great the day after. The bottom bready part is even denser and the liquid makes it a little gummy, but the flavor is still great.

Clean up: two-star

Holy dishes, Batman! You had your egg white bowl and beaters, you had your egg yolk mixture, your flour mixture, and a bowl to chop the berries in. Then, once you had your pan in the oven, you were making even more dishes with the whole cranberry mixture in the sauce pan. It’s a ton of different steps and, though none of them are very complicated, they made a lot of dishes. The good thing is that you don’t need to scrub anything – even the pan it baked in.

 Cost: two dollar

Nothing in this dessert was overly expensive, but I would say it’s not an everyday dessert (in the price or preparation departments). It’s a nice rich treat for special occasions!

The results on the pan? It worked fine! It was kind of clunky to push it out without tipping the metal plate at all, bu I made it work. For as infrequently as I need springform pans, this will do the job! One thing I did note is that I tried to separate the two parts when the cake was still rather warm. That made it a little difficult to handle the pan. Normally though, I’d say there is no rush in getting it out of the pan, so it shouldn’t matter.

What did you do over the weekend? Buy any new kitchen gadgets or accessories? Has anyone else ever heard of this push pan? Thumbs up or thumbs down?


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