Festive Cranberry Bars

21 Dec

Although I love pie, I also love to bake desserts of all kinds.  I had intended to make fresh cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving, but I ended up ditching that at the last minute (I have a secret love for the jellied kind – I can’t help it). This meant I was left with a couple bags of cranberries left over.  While exploring possible recipes I found this one. Wow. This is an unbelievably fantastic dessert, not only because its tasty, but also because its beautiful and festive looking The texture is reminiscent of key lime pie and the flavor is out of this world.

Ingredients:

1 lb. fresh or frozen cranberries
7 oz. fat-free sweetened condensed milk (most of 1 can)
juice of 1 lemon (approximately 1/4 of a cup)
3 egg yolks
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup crumbled graham crackers (you can buy them already crumbled)
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
6 Tbs. butter, melted and cooled
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:

Bring cranberries and 1/2 cup water to a simmer in saucepan. Reduce heat to medium, and cook 10 minutes, or until berries have burst and are tender. Cool in fridge.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 8-inch square baking pan with foil, and coat with cooking spray. Whisk together flours, sugar, and salt in bowl. Stir in butter and vanilla extract. Press into bottom of prepared pan, and bake 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, blend cranberries in blender or food processor until smooth, and strain mixture through sieve – use a spatula to help it go through.  You should have about 1 cup purée (and some pink fingers as well too). Transfer purée to bowl, and whisk in condensed milk and lemon juice. Whisk in egg yolks.

After about 25 mins, when the crust is golden, reduce oven temperature to 300°F, and pour filling into hot the hot crust. Bake 23 to 28 minutes, or until custard is set. Cool, then chill until firm.


Use foil to lift baked dessert out of pan, then remove. Cut into 25 bars. Serve cold or at room temperature.

You can also make the filling first and then work on the crust, if you like working in concrete steps. This recipe is loosely adapted from one of my favorite magazines, Vegetarian Times in their November edition, and that’s how they suggest doing it.

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