Spiced Orange Cranberry Torte

Spiced Orange Cranberry Torte | cookeatbehealthy.com

On Monday I shared a recipe for Crockpot Spiced Orange Cranberry Sauce and I promised a dessert recipe using that most delectable tart and tasty sauce…drum roll please…here she is…Spiced Orange Cranberry Torte!  Isn’t she BEAUTIFUL?!?   Ok…so yeah I’m probably a little biased, but I just get so excited when something turns out exactly even better than I imagined!  And just take a gander at that crust to filling ratio…I love my crust!!! 😉

Spiced Orange Cranberry Torte | cookeatbehealthy.com

So not only is this dessert show-stopping gorgeous, and devastatingly delicious, it’s also vegan, sugar-free, and no-bake!  C’mon…it just doesn’t get any better than that!  With a little advance prep work like making the Crockpot Spiced Orange Cranberry Sauce, and the Honeyed Orange Peel, assembling this dessert is a cinch!

Spiced Orange Cranberry Torte | cookeatbehealthy.com

Do you remember eating those orange slice candies that come in a 2 for $1.00 bag?  The kind you get at the farm supply or convenience store?  I loved those candies growing up.  My grandpa always had a bag in the glovebox of his car and every once in a while, my grandma would reach in and hand my brother and I one of those little gummy jewels!  I loved the fresh taste and the way they made my tongue tingle just a little bit!  I wanted to recreate something similar in taste and texture, but since I don’t use sugar I had to find an alternative method to and make “candied” orange peel.  In the end I came up with Honeyed Orange Peel.  It’s a little – ok lot – stickier than the kind made with sugar and water, but the taste is spot on, and even though the peels are sticky, they’re perfect in this recipe!

Spiced Orange Cranberry Torte | cookeatbehealthy.comc

Spiced Orange Cranberry Torte | cookeatbehealthy.com

Once the cranberry sauce and orange peel is ready, it’s a pretty simple assembly process.  The crust is made in the food processor by combining pecans, almonds, walnuts, and dates with a little orange juice and zest and a splash of vanilla.  The spiced orange filling is made in the blender from soaked and drained cashews, orange juice and zest, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, vanilla, honey, and our honeyed orange peel!  Since it’s a raw dessert the only real thing you need to keep in mind as far as prep time is that it does need a at least a couple hours to set up in the freezer, and preferably overnight if possible.

Spiced Orange Cranberry Torte | cookeatbehealthy.com

This Thanksgiving instead of making 2 separate desserts – one for the vegetarians/vegans at your table, and one for everyone else – simplify your menu by making just one dessert.  This Spiced Orange Cranberry Torte is so delicious that absolutely everyone will be praising your dessert skills!  And unless you tell them – they’ll never even suspect you fed them a raw vegan dessert!  One dessert to please everyone…now there’s something to be thankful for!

Spiced Orange Cranberry Torte | cookeatbehealthy.com

Spiced Orange Cranberry Torte
Serves 14
A Thanksgiving dessert to be especially thankful for as it's sure to please everyone - from the carnivores to the vegans - at your holiday table this year!
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Prep Time
1 hr 30 min
Total Time
1 hr 30 min
Prep Time
1 hr 30 min
Total Time
1 hr 30 min
464 calories
57 g
0 g
26 g
8 g
4 g
143 g
94 g
43 g
0 g
21 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
143g
Servings
14
Amount Per Serving
Calories 464
Calories from Fat 220
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 26g
40%
Saturated Fat 4g
18%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 8g
Monounsaturated Fat 13g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 94mg
4%
Total Carbohydrates 57g
19%
Dietary Fiber 5g
22%
Sugars 43g
Protein 8g
Vitamin A
2%
Vitamin C
24%
Calcium
8%
Iron
15%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
For the Honeyed Orange Peel
  1. Peel of 3 Valencia oranges, cut into 1/4" strips
  2. 3/4 cup honey
  3. 1 cup water
For the crust
  1. 1 cup pecans
  2. 1 cup walnuts
  3. 1 cup almonds
  4. 2 cups medjool dates, pitted
  5. Zest of 1 orange
  6. 2 tsp vanilla
  7. 2 tbsp orange juice
  8. 1/4 tsp salt
For the filling
  1. 2 1/2 cups raw cashews, soaked in water at least 2 to 3 hours, then drained
  2. 1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
  3. Zest of 1 orange
  4. 1/2 cup chopped Honeyed Orange Peel
  5. 1/3 cup honey
  6. 2 tsp vanilla extract
  7. 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  8. Pinch each of nutmeg & cloves
  9. 1/4 tsp salt
  10. 1/2 cup Spiced Orange Cranberry Sauce ~ link to recipe in body of blog post
For the Honeyed Orange Peel
  1. Place orange peel strips in large saucepan and cover with water.
  2. Bring to a boil over high heat, drain, and repeat 4 more times.
  3. After 5th boiling process return softened peels to the pan, add 3/4 cup honey and 1 cup water and stir to combine and coat the orange peels.
  4. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer 1 to 1 1/2 hours until peels are translucent.
  5. Watch closely last 30 minutes of cooking time so as not to simmer away all the liquids in the pan and burn the peels.
  6. When translucent, remove peels from pan to cool, then store in refrigerator.
  7. Reserve any leftover orange honey from the saucepan to include in the torte filling!
For the crust
  1. Combine all crust ingredients in a food processor.
  2. Process until mixture resembles crumbs and sticks together when a small amount is rolled in your hands.
  3. Pour crust mixture into a 9" springform pan lightly greased with coconut oil.
  4. Smooth and compress crust into bottom of pan.
  5. Place in freezer to set up slightly while preparing the filling.
For the filling
  1. Combine all filling ingredients except Cranberry Sauce and Honeyed Orange Peel in the pitcher of a high speed blender.
  2. Blend until completely smooth, adding more orange juice if necessary.
  3. When filling is smooth add chopped honeyed orange peel and pulse just a couple times to incorporate the peel.
  4. Pour filling into chilled crust.
  5. Cover with plastic wrap and return to freezer for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight, to completely firm up.
To serve
  1. Remove from freezer 20 minutes before serving.
  2. Remove rim of springform pan, spread 1/2 cup of cranberry sauce on top and garnish as desired.
  3. Cut into 12 to 16 small pieces with a very sharp knife. It's a very rich dessert - a little goes a long way!
  4. Store leftovers in freezer.
Notes
  1. As an alternative to spreading cranberry sauce over the entire torte, you could dollop a small amount on each individual piece. The leftovers are delicious even with the frozen cranberry sauce, but it stays frozen well after the leftover torte is ready to be served!
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calories
464
fat
26g
protein
8g
carbs
57g
more
Cook Eat Be Healthy http://cookeatbehealthy.com/

Crockpot Spiced Orange Cranberry Sauce

Crockpot Spiced Orange Cranberry Sauce | cookeatbehealthy.com

Thanksgiving Dinner must-haves for me include the usual suspects…turkey, potatoes, stuffing, Apple Wheat Berry Salad, Green Bean Casserole CEBH Style, some kind of bread, a delicious dessert like the one coming up in my next post, and cranberry sauce.  Unfortunately, in my immediate family I’m the only cranberry sauce aficionado…but that has never stopped me from making it just for myself!  So today I’m sharing my recipe for a simple Crockpot Spiced Orange Cranberry Sauce that you can make days ahead and check at least one item off your to-do meal preparation list!

Crockpot Spiced Orange Cranberry Sauce | cookeatbehealthy.com

When I was growing up my mom made what she called cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving.  In reality what she made was actually a cranberry relish since it wasn’t cooked.  I remember her clamping the old fashioned grinder onto the end of the counter, then cranking the handle like crazy to grind a bag of frozen cranberries and a couple oranges into the bowl which I was tasked with holding.  It was a big responsibility for me to make sure I held that bowl still and didn’t let any of the juices dribble onto the floor!  Then she added sugar – what seemed like mounds of sugar – to sweeten that tart relish.  After that, she’d pop it into the fridge to chill and macerate for a day or two before our Thanksgiving feast.  

Crockpot Spiced Orange Cranberry Sauce | cookeatbehealthy.com

This recipe borrows the basics ~ cranberries and oranges ~ from mom’s cranberry relish, but omits the sugar, and instead, sweetens the sauce with maple syrup and honey.  Then I spiced things up just a little bit with cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg.  And finally to add a little depth of flavor I splash in some vanilla.  The ingredients simmer in a crockpot over low heat for just a couple hours, until the berries are softened.  About 90 minutes into the cooking process I mash the berries with the back of a spoon until they’re somewhat crushed, but still have plenty of texture.  I let it continue to cook about 30 minutes more, transfer the sauce to a storage container, and pop it in the fridge until ready to serve.  The sauce will thicken as it cools and be the perfect texture to accompany your expertly roasted turkey, to top a luscious dessert (subscribe so you don’t miss the next post for just such a dessert), or as a condiment on your leftover turkey sandwiches!

Crockpot Spiced Orange Cranberry Sauce | cookeatbehealthy.com

Whats your favorite food related Thanksgiving memory?  Tell me about it in the comments…I really do love to read them all!!! 

Crockpot Spiced Orange Cranberry Sauce
Serves 24
Here's the easiest, most delicious, make-ahead Cranberry Sauce recipe you've been looking for to round out your Thanksgiving menu!
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
2 hr
Total Time
2 hr 15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
2 hr
Total Time
2 hr 15 min
60 calories
15 g
0 g
0 g
0 g
0 g
61 g
2 g
12 g
0 g
0 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
61g
Servings
24
Amount Per Serving
Calories 60
Calories from Fat 1
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 0g
0%
Saturated Fat 0g
0%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 2mg
0%
Total Carbohydrates 15g
5%
Dietary Fiber 2g
8%
Sugars 12g
Protein 0g
Vitamin A
1%
Vitamin C
20%
Calcium
2%
Iron
1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 8 cups fresh or frozen cranberries, rinsed and drained
  2. 2-3 oranges, zested and juiced for about 1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
  3. 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  4. Scant 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  5. Scant 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  6. 2 tsp vanilla extract
  7. 3/4 cup pure maple syrup
  8. 1/4 cup honey
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients in crockpot, stir to combine and replace lid.
  2. Set heat to low and simmer for a total of about 2 hours.
  3. After 90 minutes cooking time has elapsed, stir sauce.
  4. Using the back of large stirring spoon, mash the berries until there's a good mixture of textures - including a few whole berries as well.
  5. Replace lid and cook another 30 minutes, then stir again.
  6. Mash the berries more if desired.
  7. Transfer to a covered dish and store in refrigerator for up to 10 days.
Notes
  1. The sauce thickens and the flavors meld as it chills in the fridge. This is one more reason to make it a couple days in advance.
  2. Use as an accompaniment to turkey, as a sandwich condiment, or in desserts as desired
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calories
60
fat
0g
protein
0g
carbs
15g
more
Cook Eat Be Healthy http://cookeatbehealthy.com/

Apple Wheat Berry Salad

Apple Wheat Berry Salad | cookeatbehealthy.com

When I first married my husband I knew there’d be a learning curve…for both of us!  I think many young people are naive by thinking marrying the love of their life doesn’t come with hurdles!  Some of them are large, some are small, but all pose their own challenges and opportunities to learn about one another – and the family you’ve married into!  One challenge for me was figuring out how to blend the holiday traditions my husband grew up with, and the ones I was accustomed to, into a new set of traditions for our little growing family.  While we both grew up with similar values and faiths, there were definite differences we had to iron out.  And as crazy as it sounds, sometimes it was something as silly as an apple salad that bridged the gap!

Apple Wheat Berry Salad | cookeatbehealthy.com

The first Thanksgiving we were together  – in fact it was the weekend he proposed to me – we went to his parents’ farm for the family gathering.  Of course there were all the traditional dishes – turkey, potatoes, green beans, rolls, etc. And even though they weren’t exactly like I’d have prepared it – all were delicious and it was fun to try new versions of classic holiday fare.  But it got a little awkward and tense when I volunteered to help, and my husband’s mom asked me to make the apple salad.  Ummmm…this was new to me!  Apparently they had this particular apple salad at every single holiday gathering, and I’d never made one before.  Thankfully his mom and sister-in-law taught me how to make it, and while it was good, I’m afraid it never made it into regular rotation at any of our subsequent holiday dinners – at least not in it’s original form!  I happily serve an apple salad at our holiday gatherings these days, but it’s not the recipe I was taught that particular Thanksgiving.  This Apple Wheat Berry Salad is a fresh take on the salad I made in that farm kitchen some 24 years ago!  I wonder if Mr.CEBH’S mom and dad would approve!!!

Apple Wheat Berry Salad | cookeatbehealthy.com

I think one of the reasons we both like this salad so much is because it speaks to traditions – new and old!  By eliminating the jarred salad dressing, all of the sugar, and a few other ingredients, but keeping the apples, celery, and pecans – and then throwing in a myriad of other new ingredients I feel like I’ve successfully bridged the family tradition and generation gaps with this salad!  It’s definitely not my mother-in-law’s apple salad! 😉

Apple Wheat Berry Salad | cookeatbehealthy.com

Start by cooking the wheat berries.  Put the uncooked wheat berries in a large sauce pan or small stock pot with about 4-5 cups water.  Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the berries are tender – about 40-45 minutes.  Drain excess water and set the cooked wheat berries in the fridge to cool.  I used the time while the wheat berries were cooking to make homemade mayonnaise – click the link for the recipe – but feel free to use store bought if you prefer.  Just be sure to use mayo and not salad dressing.  Next up –  toast the pecans by placing them in a small skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently for about 5-7 minutes until aromatic and lightly browned.  But watch them closely…they can burn in an instant if left unattended. Once the pecans are done, set them aside to cool, and chop the celery, mince the shallot, and dice the apples.  Assemble the salad by combining the mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, honey, salt & pepper, and shallots in a large mixing bowl to make the dressing.  Toss in the cooled wheat berries, diced apples, chopped celery, and toasted pecans.  Stir to coat, transfer to a serving dish, and sit back and wait for the compliments to roll in!

Apple Wheat Berry Salad | cookeatbehealthy.com

Seriously – I love this salad so much that I eat the leftovers for breakfast. And lunch. And an afternoon snack. And whenever the heck I think about it sitting in the refrigerator just waiting for me to sneak a little fork full!  Do you have recipes that you’ve learned from an in-law or friend and then adapted to make a new version?  Share them with me in the comments – I’d love to hear your “salad story”!!!

Apple Wheat Berry Salad
Serves 12
This salad is perfect as part of your holiday menu, or as a simple addition to a regular weeknight dinner!
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Total Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr
236 calories
15 g
8 g
20 g
1 g
3 g
125 g
226 g
12 g
0 g
16 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
125g
Servings
12
Amount Per Serving
Calories 236
Calories from Fat 173
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 20g
31%
Saturated Fat 3g
13%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 10g
Monounsaturated Fat 6g
Cholesterol 8mg
3%
Sodium 226mg
9%
Total Carbohydrates 15g
5%
Dietary Fiber 3g
11%
Sugars 12g
Protein 1g
Vitamin A
2%
Vitamin C
25%
Calcium
2%
Iron
3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 3 or 4 large apples - any variety that you'd eat out of hand - diced
  2. 1 1/2 cups uncooked wheat berries
  3. 4 stalks celery, chopped
  4. 1 medium shallot, minced
  5. 1 cup pecans, toasted
  6. 1 cup mayonnaise ~ link to homemade in post
  7. 3 tbsp honey
  8. 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  9. 1/2 tsp salt
  10. 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Place wheat berries in a medium stockpot and cover with 4-5 cups water.
  2. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered, 40-45 minutes or until wheat berries are tender.
  3. Drain excess water and place cooked wheat berries in the refrigerator to cool.
  4. Meanwhile, toast pecans by placing them in a dry non-stick skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently and watching closely so they don't burn.
  5. Remove pecans from heat when aromatic and lightly browned, then set aside to cool.
  6. In a large bowl combine mayo, vinegar, minced shallot, honey, and salt & pepper. Whisk to combine.
  7. Stir in cooled wheat berries, apples, celery, and pecans until well combined.
  8. Place in refrigerator until ready to serve.
Notes
  1. This salad also makes a fantastic breakfast for on-the-run mornings!
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calories
236
fat
20g
protein
1g
carbs
15g
more
Cook Eat Be Healthy http://cookeatbehealthy.com/

Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Apples with Maple Balsamic Reduction

Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Apples with Maple Balsamic Reduction | cookeatbehealthy.com

The only time we had sweet potatoes when I was growing up was for Thanksgiving, or occasionally Easter.  I guess sweet potatoes just weren’t in vogue 40 or 50 years ago like they are today.  What a shame really – because what I wouldn’t have given for something other than Candied Yams as a Thanksgiving side dish!  I’m not sure if other parts of the country ate them for the holidays like we did here in Iowa, but by the time my mom or grandma got done ‘doctoring’ up those mushy from-a-can yams I don’t they could even be counted as a vegetable anymore!  And yep – they were from a can…yuk…drained and poured into a casserole dish.  Then they were smothered in brown sugar and melted butter and baked until they were hot and bubbly.  But then – because gobs of brown sugar and butter apparently wasn’t gross enough – the last few minutes in the oven they’d get topped with marshmallows and baked until they were golden brown.  I think people like them for the precise reason I didn’t…they were sickly sweet and more like a dessert than a vegetable side dish!

Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Apples with Maple Balsamic Reduction | cookeatbehealthy.com

Thankfully sweet potatoes today are treated with more respect than they were in the 60’s and 70’s!  There are so many wonderful ways to enjoy the flavor and health benefits of sweet potatoes – roasting, baking, grilling, in salads and soups, fried, mashed…the sky’s the limit!  And I, for one, frequently include sweet potatoes into my meal plans -only  just the more modern versions.  I think the candied yams of yesteryear should be left off today’s Thanksgiving menus in favor of an updated, healthier, definitely more delicious version like the one that I’m sharing today!

Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Apples with Maple Balsamic Reduction | cookeatbehealthy.com

See…clearly sweet potatoes and apples…no disguising what you’re getting here with a bunch of sugar, butter and marshmallows!

With this dish there’s certainly no attempt to disguise the sweet potatoes- in fact – I want them to shine!  By roasting them with apples and rosemary their natural sweetness is enhanced – not smothered.  And when drizzled with the Maple Balsamic Reduction this dish becomes one of the best things I’ve ever EVER eaten!  Seriously this reduction is incredible!  It’s sweet and tangy, thick and glossy, and the perfect complement to the roasted sweet potatoes and apples!

Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Apples with Maple Balsamic Reduction | cookeatbehealthy.com

And just look at that perfect maple balsamic reduction!

Look how beautiful this dish is in it’s simplicity, yet it’s more than special enough to earn a spot on the Thanksgiving table – or the Tuesday night dinner table for that matter!

Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Apples with Maple Balsamic Reduction | cookeatbehealthy.com

Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Apples with Maple Balsamic Reduction
Serves 8
Kick the canned yams to the curb this Thanksgiving and serve these simple, yet delicious and sophisticated, sweet potatoes instead!
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr
183 calories
37 g
0 g
4 g
1 g
1 g
162 g
208 g
23 g
0 g
2 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
162g
Servings
8
Amount Per Serving
Calories 183
Calories from Fat 31
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 4g
5%
Saturated Fat 1g
3%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 2g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 208mg
9%
Total Carbohydrates 37g
12%
Dietary Fiber 4g
14%
Sugars 23g
Protein 1g
Vitamin A
185%
Vitamin C
8%
Calcium
5%
Iron
4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 4 or 5 large sweet potatoes, cut into bite sized pieces
  2. 2 large apples, cored and cut into bite sized pieces
  3. 1 tsp dried rosemary
  4. 1 tsp ground black pepper
  5. 1/2 tsp salt
  6. 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus a little more for coating the pan
For the reduction
  1. 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  2. 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  3. 1 medium shallot, minced
  4. 3 cloves garlic, minced
  5. Pinch of rosemary, salt, and pepper
Instructions
  1. In a medium saucepan bring vinegar, syrup, shallots, garlic, and pinches of rosemary, salt, and pepper to a boil over medium high heat.
  2. Reduce to lowest heat setting and simmer until the sauce is thickened and reduced by about one half - about 40-45 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit
  4. While the reduction is simmering, toss sweet potato and apple pieces with 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp pepper, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1 tsp rosemary.
  5. Spread evenly on a baking sheet drizzled with olive oil and roast until tender and lightly browned - about 35 minutes.
  6. Serve sweet potatoes and apples drizzled with maple balsamic reduction.
Notes
  1. I don't peel my sweet potatoes - I just scrub them and remove any spots and eyes - the skins are delicious and full of nutrients!
  2. I make the reduction the day ahead and store it in the fridge, then re-heat immediately before serving.
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calories
183
fat
4g
protein
1g
carbs
37g
more
Cook Eat Be Healthy http://cookeatbehealthy.com/