Monday, November 27, 2006


Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. I did not cook a turkey, but was relegated to side dishes. No green bean casserole, though -- the In-Laws said they didn't want any. So I made my Spinach/Phyllo thing and then used the other packet of phyllo dough to make what I call Cran-Gri-La. I've described it as a car crash between baclava and cranberry sauce, but you could also think of it as Cranberry Paradise. The In-Laws tried a few pieces and sent it on home with me and no one else here is eating any so I've eaten far more of this over the weekend than is good for me. I'm telling you, my culinary genius is wasted on these peasants. So how do you make it? Glad you asked.

1 8oz package of craisins (dried sweetened cranberries)
1 6oz package of orange flavored craisins
2 cups of orange juice
1/2 lb of pecan halves (optional -- pecans can be toasted before adding)
2 Granny Smith apples
4 oz honey (I used tupelo honey)
1/2 cup of butter, melted
1 package of prepared phyllo dough
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, plus extra for sprinkling
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

In 2 qt saucepan combine craisins and orange juice, bring to a boil and reduce heat to low and simmer until craisins are plump and liquid is absorbed. Add cinnamon and nutmeg. Meanwhile, prepare crust. Melt one stick of butter and butter a 13" X 9" pan. Lay one sheet of phyllo dough in pan and brush with melted butter. Drizzle honey over sheet (sparingly! There's lots of layers!) and brush evenly over layer. Lightly sprinkle with cinnamon. Lay another sheet of phyllo dough on top, and brush with butter and honey. (Tip -- we tested, you really need to brush the butter first, then the honey, apparently the honey needs help to slide around). Continue to layer phyllo sheets, with butter and honey between layers, sprinkling with cinnamon only every second or third sheet, until you have used approximately half your sheets. Melt more butter as needed for brushing. Peel and chop the apples, and add along with pecans to craisin mixture. Spoon over phyllo crust, spreading out evenly, and drizzle with honey. Layer phyllo sheets over top, again spreading butter and honey between layers, with cinnamon sprinkled every second or third layer. (Another tip: Because the sheets are so thin and the cinnamon so dark, it shows through for several layers. For aesthetic reasons I didn't add cinnamon to my layers for the last 4 or 5.) Brush the final layer with butter and honey and score diagonally to make diamonds (they really look more like parallelograms). Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 - 50 minutes, until it is golden brown. Cool completely, and cut along score lines. Serve pieces individually. (You really need to do this -- the honey makes it too hard to cut into this while eating; you can't use a fork, it really has to be picked up and eaten as a piece.)

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