Cranberry Week – Honey Cranberry Fudge Pie

Did you know that cranberries have anti-adhesion properties that reduce the number of oral bacteria that cause cavities and dental plaque?  They also help reverse periodontal (gum) disease.

Crust

1 2/3 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
5 tablespoons melted butter

Filling

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips or chopped semisweet chocolate (also good with white chocolate!!)
2/3 cup (5 3/8 ounces) heavy cream
3/4 cup diced walnuts or pecans

Topping*

1 cup honey
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups cranberry juice
1 cup dried cranberries
12-ounce package fresh or frozen cranberries, a generous 3 cups
*You’ll need about 15 ounces (a scant 1 1/2 cups) topping for the pie. Enjoy the remainder on its own.

Directions

1) Preheat the oven to 375°F.

2) To make the crust: Process the crackers, sugar, and melted butter in a food processor until crumbly and well combined.

3) Press into the bottom and up the sides of a 9″ pie pan.

4) Bake the crust for about 7 to 8 minutes, until it’s set, but not brown. Remove from the oven and cool.

5) To make the filling: Put the chips (or chopped chocolate) and cream in a microwave-safe container, and heat for about 90 seconds.

6) Remove from the microwave, and stir until the mixture becomes smooth and dark brown; you’re simply making a basic ganache.

7) Spoon the hot ganache into the cooled crust, and sprinkle the nuts on top.

8) Refrigerate the pie for at least 1 hour, probably 2, until the ganache has firmed up.

9) While the pie is chilling, make the topping. Bring the honey, salt, and cranberry juice to a boil.

10) Stir in the dried cranberries, and simmer for about 5 minutes.

11) Add the fresh or frozen cranberries, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes, until some of the berries have burst.

12) Remove the cranberries from the heat, spoon into a bowl, and chill.

13) To finish assembling the pie: Spoon 1 1/2 cups cranberry sauce atop the fudge/nut filling. Chill until ready to serve.

Yield: 9″ pie, 8 to 10 rich servings.

Honey Cheesecake Squares

Ingredients

6 graham crackers ( 4 3/4- by 2 1/2-inch)
2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 large eggs
2 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons finely grated fresh lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup mild honey

Directions

Preheat oven to 325ºF.
Crumble graham crackers into a food processor, then finely grind with sugar and a pinch of salt.
Add butter with motor running, then press mixture evenly over bottom of an ungreased 8-inch square baking pan.
Bake in middle of oven 10 minutes, then cool 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, blend cream cheese, egg, milk, zest, and lemon juice in cleaned food processor.
Add honey and blend filling well.
Pour filling over crust and bake in middle of oven until slightly puffed and set, about 30 minutes.
Cool cheesecake in pan, then chill, covered, until cold, at least 3 hours.
Cut into 1 1/2″ squares.

Serve with strawberries dusted with confectioner’s sugar. Yummy!!