This is the perfect Christmas breakfast. Let me specify that I do not use the word perfect lightly!!!! This breakfast is inspired by two of my favorite cooks, Nigella Lawson and Ina Garten, so how perfect is that! Last Christmas as I settled in with some cookbooks on a snowy night, I reread one of my favorite books from Nigella Lawson, “Feast – Food To Celebrate”. Tucked away in the book was a recipe within a recipe for cranberry jam and I just had to make it! Now, I always had a fear of making jam of any kind. My first reason was a fear of using pectin My second reason was another fear, the fear of canning. I would worry that I wouldn’t seal the jars properly. Nigella’s cranberry jam is so easy that my fears just faded away and the results were delicious! Cranberries are filled naturally with pectin, so making this jam is almost as easy as boiling water. I decided to just refrigerate the jam the way I do cranberry sauce and that decision saved the whole stress about sealing the jars properly. I made this jam last Christmas morning and it disappeared as quickly as Santa did up the chimney. I did have the perfect accompaniment to the jam that morning Irish Soda Bread without the raisins. I use Ina Garten’s recipe because , why fool around with perfection. The only change I made is one that I always do , I switch the raisins to dried cranberries. This switch is a result of the fact that my sister Nancy hates raisins and she loves dried cranberries. I have to tell you that once I switched, there was no going back. You need to try this bread. Nothing beats the combination of warm cranberry soda bread topped with cranberry jam. It screams Christmas, holidays and that something really special is going on. Enjoy – tis’ the season!
From by the bay, wishing you very cranberry food memories!
Cranberry Soda Bread
Adapted from Ina Garten’s Irish Soda Bread from “Barefoot Contessa At Home” published in 2006.
4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for currants
4 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 3/4 cups cold buttermilk, shaken
1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1 cup dried cranberries
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the butter and mix on low speed until the butter is mixed into the flour.
With a fork, lightly beat the buttermilk, egg, and orange zest together in a measuring cup. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture. Combine the currants with 1 tablespoon of flour and mix into the dough. It will be very wet.
Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and knead it a few times into a round loaf. Place the loaf on the prepared sheet pan and lightly cut an X into the top of the bread with a serrated knife. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. When you tap the loaf, it will have a hollow sound.
Cool on a baking rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Adapted from Nigella Lawson’s Cranberry Jam from “Feast Food To Celebrate Life ” published in 2004
12 ounces fresh cranberries
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
Put a film of water in the bottom of a large saucepan and add the cranberries and sugar. Stir patiently over a low heat to dissolve the sugar; this will take a little while. Turn up the heat and boil the pan rapidly until setting point is reached, about 7 minutes. (Alternatively it will have reached a jam-like consistency.)
Pour the jam into a sterilized jar (s) and seal immediately or keep in the refrigerator for 1 week.
Makes approximately 4 cups.