Emeril's Holiday Delights

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Set a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat and add the butter. Once the butter has melted, add the cranberries, 1 cup of the sugar, 2 teaspoons of the lemon zest and the lemon juice. Stir and cook until the cranberries wilt and have released most of their juice, about 5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the cranberries from the pan and set aside as you continue to cook the cranberry juices. The juices should bubble and thicken as it cooks. Continue to cook for 2 minutes, then return the cranberries to the pan and, using a spoon, arrange the berries so that they cover the bottom of the pan in one even layer, patting them down with the back of a spoon to even them out. Remove the skillet from the heat and set aside to cool for 20 to 30 minutes.

While the skillet cools, prepare the cake batter. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Stir in the cornmeal. In a large bowl using an electric mixer, beat the eggs, egg yolk, milk, olive oil and the remaining 2 teaspoons of lemon zest until frothy. Add the remaining ¾ cup of sugar and mix to combine. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and mix just until the batter is smooth. Pour the batter into the cooled skillet over the cranberries and place in the oven to bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 30 minutes.

Remove the skillet from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Place a plate over the top of the skillet and, working quickly, invert the plate and the skillet and give the skillet a quick tap on a solid work surface to help dislodge the cake from the pan onto the plate. Allow to cool to warm before serving. Cake may be served either warm or at room temperature.

Yield: 8 to 10 servings

*Recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse, Emeril's Food of Love Productions, copyright 2007

THREE CHOCOLATE BARK WITH SPICED PECANS AND DRIED CHERRIES

Ingredients:

7 tablespoons butter
½ cup brown sugar
2 cups pecan pieces
Pinch of salt
Pinch of cayenne
Pinch of nutmeg
Pinch of cinnamon
1 pound semisweet chocolate, cut into pieces
1 pound milk chocolate, cut into pieces
1 pound white chocolate, cut into pieces (white bar chocolate melts better than morsels)
2 cups dried cherries, rehydrated and chopped

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a large saute pan, melt 4 tablespoons of butter. Add the brown sugar and stir until the sugar dissolves and is bubbly. Add the pecans. Season the pecans with salt, cayenne, nutmeg, and cinnamon and continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the sugar starts to caramelize and coats the pecans evenly. Cook for about 4 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and spread the pecans over a parchment-lined baking sheet. Place the pan in the oven and roast the pecans until lightly toasted and fragrant, 4 to 6 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and cool completely. Break the pecans into small pieces.

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