Cranberry-pear-apple sauce

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Goodness knows that Thanksgiving, my favorite American holiday, would not be complete without cranberry sauce! Unfortunately, most conventional cranberry sauce recipes contain unholy amounts of refined sugar (often to the tune of a whole cup or more per batch!)…well it turns out that really isn’t necessary if you take advantage of the natural sweetness of pears and apples, and the help of some healthier sweeteners such as stevia and/or agave nectar. This sauce has a beautiful magenta color and tart cranberry flavor, mellowed by the vanillla, pear and apple, along with some wonderful classic holiday spices. Serves 6 -8 easily for a holiday meal. Can easily be made several days ahead. Goes great with greek yogurt or cottage cheese, or served alongside your favorite breakfast treated (waffles, pancakes, french toast…). Leftovers can be frozen – keeps up to about 10 days in the fridge.

Ingredients:

  • a 12-ounce bag of fresh or frozen cranberries (I buy fresh when in season and stockpile in the freezer), washed and any soft ones discarded
  • 2 ripe pears
  • 1-2 small apples (use a sweet or semi-tart variety such as jazz, braeburn- don’t use a super tart apple like granny smith for this recipe)
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 3 packets of stevia OR 3 Tbsp agave nectar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp real vanilla extract

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Chop the apples into 1/4″ pieces. Add to a medium sized pot with the water, stevia, cinnamon, pie spice, vanilla and bring to a low boil over a medium-high flame, covered, stirring periodically.
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Meanwhile, chop the pears into 1/4″ pieces and add to the pot, giving it all a good mix.
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As the fruit cooks, your kitchen will start to smell wonderful and you will hear the pop-pop sound of the cranberries bursting out of their skins! After the fruits have softened (about 10 minutes in), take off the cover to cook off any excess moisture, lower the heat to a medium-low, and simmer for another 10 minutes, stirring periodically, until all the fruit is very soft and the sauce has taken on a nice uniform magenta-pink color.
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Serve warm. Have a very happy and delicious Thanksgiving!
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