Christmas Sangria

I love making fancy cocktails. I got especially enthusiastic about cocktails when I realized I can put herb sprigs from my garden in them and smell all that goodness while having a nice drink. Here’s a little something I concocted last night—I’m calling it Christmas Sangria.

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 oz dry red wine (I used a zin. You could use a sweeter wine or an actual sangria but I prefer my drinks on the dryer side).
  • 1 oz bourbon (you don’t need much, the combo of bourbon and wine gives this one a punch)
  • A tablespoon simple syrup or honey, to taste
  • A dash of cinnamon
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • A squeeze of orange juice
  • A few fresh cranberries and a sprig of rosemary for garnish
  • A pretty glass full of ice
  • A cocktail shaker

Pour all ingredients Except the cranberries and rosemary into the shaker. Shake vigorously. Pour over ice. Serves 1.

Cranberry Custard Pie

I have a little trick at the holidays. I am sensitive to gluten and dairy, which is easy to avoid on main dishes like turkey. But for dessert it’s a little more dicey, so I always bring one of my own. I’ve had this recipe rolling around in my head for awhile and finally decided to try it out. It’s gluten free and has all of the holiday flavors you want. I didn’t re-invent the wheel on the crust–I use this recipe. (Note this crust does have butter but can be subbed with a non-dairy dupe!)

For the custard:

  • 1 can of organic coconut milk, or for thicker custard, 2 cans refrigerated, just skimming off the cream.
  • 4 egg yolks (save the whites for a merengue or omelette later!)
  • 2 tablespoons gelatin (grass fed if you can find it!)
  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup raw, local honey

For the cranberries:

  • 1 bag or about 3.5 cups fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 cup raw, local honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

First, boil the cup of water in a small sauce pan. When it comes to a boil, drop in the cranberries. When they start to make that beautiful “pop” sound, add the honey, vanilla and spices.

Give it a stir and let it simmer on low for about ten minutes, or until it has the consistency of a slightly drippy cranberry sauce. Before it cools, strain the juice into a bowl, and let it sit.

Put the tablespoon of gelatin in a small bowl with about 3 tablespoons of water to let it bloom. In another sauce pan, add the coconut milk and egg yolks and begin to whisk over high heat. When a little bit of foam begins to form, add the honey and turn the heat to medium-low. You don’t want to bring this to an actual boil. Add the gelatin and arrowroot powder and whisk vigorously. When it seems just about to boil, turn off the heat.

You should have a bowl of strained cranberry sauce by now. Whisk it into the custard mix.

Let that mixture sit to cool while you prepare the pie crust, linked above. I like this crust, because unlike some other gluten free crusts it rolls and handles just like regular flour.

I separated my crust into two pie pans, but you could make one larger one. It sets up quicker if you make two smaller pies. Once you’ve lined your pans with the crust, pour the custard mix in. Place the pie(s) into the oven and bake at 350 for ten minutes. Let the pies cool for about 20 minutes, or until room temp.

Gently drop small spoonfulls of the cranberries onto the pie, so there will be cranberry in each bite.

Last but not least, roll out the last bit of dough and cut it into simple leaf shapes, dropping them onto the top of the pie in a circle. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Allow to cool thoroughly, at least two hours before slicing.