I decided that, since it’s deer season, and since I got an awesome set of cast iron cookware for Christmas, and since MY deerslayer is the best husband (and handsomest, too) on the planet, I would bring the ingredients for his favorite dessert of all time, “Cranberry Dessert” and whip one up out at the hunting camp to surprise him. It’s always been his favorite. I got the recipe from his mom, who prepared it for every holiday during which cranberries were available. Now, because I know that it’s his favorite, I always buy extra cranberries when they’re available and toss them (in the bag) in the freezer. Cranberries freeze great and frozen ones can be used in this recipe very easily. No need to thaw first.
Now I understand that your first reaction to this dessert is…. Shouldn’t it have some catchy alliteration of a name, like Crazy Cranberry Concoction? Or Cranberry Confection? Or….. forget it! My deerslayer is not that kind of guy. He wouldn’t be caught dead requesting something like that. Just plain Cranberry Dessert. If it’s good enough for him, it’s good enough for me…and you.
I’m hoping that I can convey that preparing a full-fledged baked dessert at a hunting camp can be relatively painless and much appreciated.
Ingredients can be measured out ahead of time.
Bring just enough cranberries, pecans, sugar, etc. for the recipe. Sandwich sized zip-lock bags are great for measuring out sugar, pecans, and the like. I personally keep a Mason jar full of flour out at the camp. I use it for breading chicken fried venison steaks also so I just keep some out there. I also keep a small bottle of vegetable oil on the shelf. Just be careful to check it periodically so that you don’t accidentally use some that might have turned rancid. My regular camping list always includes a stick of butter ( just because) and eggs. The little plastic containers that lunch meat come in have worked very well for bringing about 5 or 6 eggs depending on the size. With a little bit of planning, you can prepare some pretty impressive and much appreciated desserts not to mention that there will be less stuff to pack up and take home after the camping trip.
Deerslayer’s Favorite Cranberry Dessert
enough fresh cranberries to cover the bottom of a pie plate (about 1 1/2 cups)
enough pecan pieces to cover the cranberries (about 1 cups)
about 1/4 cup of sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup melted butter
2 tbsp. shortening ( or shortnin’)
1/2 cup flour
Grease pie plate well.
Spread cranberries over the bottom, then nuts, then 1/4 cup sugar over both.
In a bowl, beat egg well, and add 1/2 cup sugar. Mix thoroughly. Add flour, melted butter and shortening (or shortnin’). Beat well.
Pour batter over the top of cranberry/pecan/sugar layers.
Bake in 325 degree oven for 45 minutes.
I’ve included the recipe to accommodate a round pie plate. A disposable aluminum one will work just fine. One less dish to wash. One of the things that I love about this dessert is that it is very easily adapted to a 9 x 13 baking dish for larger crowds, larger appetites, or the desire for leftovers (we love this for breakfast with coffee). It’s only important to cover the bottom of the surface with cranberries, pecans, and a sprinkling of sugar. Exact proportions aren’t necessary. The ingredients in the batter can easily be doubled. The cooking time, from my experience, remains the same. Keep in mind that cranberries are acidic and react with aluminum cookware, leaving marks on baking pans and such, but will not affect the flavor. I wanted to use my new cast iron skillet so I used that.
My deerslayer was surprised and pleased. We gathered around the new skillet and dug in. Fewer plates to wash! We were roughing it, after all!