Giving Thanks & Cranberry Clafoutis

“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you …”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

THANKS_03With Thanksgiving just a few short days away, it’s time to turn our thoughts towards gratitude. Given the holiday, someone is sure to ask, “What are you grateful for this year?” It usually happens just as everyone is sitting down to the fabulous feast, hungry and ready to dig in. Next thing you know, dinner is getting cold while, one after another, everyone takes a turn mumbling and stumbling through a soliloquy of gratitude.

Sharing thanks is a lovely tradition. However, I’d like to recommend that you jump in and suggest that everyone share his or her thoughts while eating rather than before. Both the conversation and the food will be better for it. I’m joining a three-family Thanksgiving extravaganza this year. At last count, there will be twenty-four of us for dinner. With that number, the appreciation-fest could go on for a couple of hours.

So what will it be? Just what are you thankful for?

Feel free to kick things off by sharing your thanks for family and friends. It’s the first thing on most people’s list. If you’re in the second or third grade, you will probably add your pets. They’re family too, you know. It’s always nice to be more specific. Perhaps you can welcome a new baby or share you relief on a loved one’s recovery from a health crisis.

Whether it’s you or a loved one who suffered that health issue, take it as a reminder that a body that works (or works the majority of the time) is no small blessing and worthy of thanks.

With a bit of luck, you’re among the fortunate and thankful for a job you love. For some, surviving the latest round of layoffs is a reason enough to be grateful. Since Thanksgiving is the season for sibling rivalry and family dysfunction, it’s okay to brag about … oops, make that share your thanks for … that big order you just booked.

While most of us spend a lot of time working, hopefully, your vocation doesn’t preempt any and all time for avocations. Are there any interesting, fun, wild or wooly activities that you can share? It could be as simple as a great book you recently read or as grand as a cross-country bicycle adventure.

Speaking of reading, you might also be thankful for a brain that can still fire on all cylinders. From common sense to simple and not so simple reasoning and wisdom, a sound mind is a wonderful thing.

If you are a guest and not the host at this year’s feast, you might give thanks for the break. A wiseacre sibling or two will probably add that they too are grateful that you are not cooking. In which case, you can all be thankful for a sense of humor.

If your group is still sharing the love and thanks when dessert rolls around, you might simply be grateful for the bounty of three or four different pies. Especially if you get your turn to pick before your favorite is gone!

Happy Thanksgiving and bon appétit!

Cranberry Clafoutis
nteresting alternative to a New England pie, try this homey French custard at your Thanksgiving or any fall feast. Enjoy!
Serves 8-12Clafouti_01

About 1 tablespoon butter, at room temperature
1 tablespoon sugar
3 eggs
1 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
Grated zest of 1 orange
2 cups (about 7 ounces) fresh cranberries
1/4 cup (about 1 ounce) finely chopped crystallized ginger
1 cup (about 3 1/2 ounces) walnuts, toasted
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Confectioners’ sugar

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Butter a deep 9- or 10-inch glass or ceramic pie plate, sprinkle with sugar and turn to coat.

Put the eggs, 3/4 cup brown sugar, Grand Marnier and salt in a blender and process until smooth. Add the flour and process until smooth. With the motor running, slowly add the cream and orange zest and process until smooth. Set the batter aside for 10 minutes.

Roughly chop the cranberries and walnuts and transfer to a bowl. Add the remaining brown sugar, crystallized ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg and toss to combine. Spread the fruit mixture evenly in the pie plate. Carefully pour the batter over the cranberries.

Place the pie plate on a baking sheet and slide the clafoutis into the oven. Reduce the heat to 375 degrees and bake for 30-40 minutes or until the clafoutis is nicely browned and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the clafoutis for about 20 minutes, sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar, cut into wedges and serve.

outis can be made a few hours in advance and sprinkled with confectioners’ sugar just before serving at room temperature.

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One Year Ago – Black Friday Enchiladas (Enchiladas with Turkey & Black Beans)
Two Years Ago – Snowy Pecan Balls
Three Years Ago – Chocolate Truffles
Four Years Ago – Smoked Salmon Mousse
Five Years Ago – Roasted Beans
Six Years Ago – Winter Soup with Pasta, Beans & Greens
Or Click Here! for a complete list of and links to all the recipes on this blog!

What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving? Feel free to share – let’s get a conversation going.

Want more? I’ve got links to lots more to read, see & cook. In addition, I hope that you will take a minute to learn about my philanthropic project Eat Well-Do Good. © Susan W. Nye, 2014

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