My mom has such a generous heart. Mel’s kitchen has always been open-invite, for any meal, any holiday, any time of year. If you need a place to eat at Thanksgiving, she’ll never turn you away, and you’ll always leave happy, with a full belly.
This year’s Thanksgiving will be no different in that regard. In fact, we’ll have a very full house. There will be one very important person missing this year, but we’re hoping to fill our hearts (and my mom’s home) as much as possible by surrounding ourselves with friends. Lots of friends. Like… around 20 people.
Our Thanksgiving dinner has never been a formal affair. We don’t have place cards at the table, we don’t care if you wear sweat pants (honestly, why wouldn’t you go for the elastic waistband!?), and we don’t have rules about what items to put on the buffet and what items to put on the table. This Thanksgiving etiquette article? Go ahead and read it, and then forget everything you read, because it doesn’t apply at my family’s turkey day celebration. The only rules are that Mel makes the mashed potatoes, Amanda doesn’t make the deviled eggs (she has a problem with over-mustarding things), and that everyone laughs and eats and eats and eats.
This year, with so many guests, I think it will be even more casual. Everyone is bringing a dish or two, there will be seating at the table, counter, couch, floor. And… we’re having a bonfire! I figured that with such a laid-back but also busy and crowded Thanksgiving, it would be good to add some quick finger food snacks to the menu—things that can be eaten standing up, without a plate. Enter: mini cranberry pies!
These little bite sized beauties are tart, buttery, and just a little bit sweet. They’re also really simple, with a quick dough (no chilling, no rolling), and an equally quick filling of fresh cranberries, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, and lemon juice. If you like things a little sweeter, then by all means, up the sugar or top with some sweetened whipped cream.
PS. This is my first baking project and photo shoot in Evan and my new place! Look at all that light! Ignore the makeshift staging area, and focus on all that beautiful light!
Mini Cranberry Tarts
1.5 cups flour
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened (1.5 sticks)
3 ounces of cream cheese, softened (the 8 oz packages have easy measurement lines on the foil)
2 heaping cups fresh cranberries
1/2 cup sugar
juice from half a lemon
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
Preheat oven to 325.
For dough, mix together flour, butter, cream cheese, and salt until combined into a ball. Divide into 24 equal sized balls.
Press each ball into an ungreased mini muffin pan, pressing evenly up the sides as well.
For filling, chop cranberries in a food processor, and toss with remaining ingredients. Spoon filing into each dough cup.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until dough is just slightly golden. Loosen tarts by running knife along inside of muffin cup, and let cool before removing.
Adapted from this recipe