Though I love the standards for Thanksgiving dessert, sometimes I am just so full that even the thought of a heavy pie can be too much. This dessert is an airy and refreshing alternative. It's got a cloud-like cake layer on top of a custardy base. I'm always amazed how the same batter can produce both! This dessert is also convenient because it is equally good warm or chilled...meaning any leftovers are fair game in the morning! —monkeymom
Preheat oven to 350°F. Put full kettle of water on to boil.
Butter an 8x8 inch glass baking dish. Get a larger pan ready that can fit the dish inside of it easily. You’ll have to take the smaller dish out later when the pan is full of hot water!
Separate eggs. Put yolks in a blender and whites in a mixer bowl. Add buttermilk, sugar, orange juice, orange zest, Cointreau, flour, butter, and salt to blender. Blend until smooth and set aside.
Beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Then add 1/4 cup sugar slowly and beat until stiff but not dry. Pour 1/3 of buttermilk mixture into whites and fold until uniform. Repeat with two more additions. You want to keep the whites fluffy so fold very gently.
Pour batter into prepared dish then place in large rectangular roasting pan. Fill pan with hot water to halfway up dish. Bake 40-45 minutes. The top should be lightly browned but the batter should still jiggle in the center only. If you cook it on the shorter end, the custardly bottom will be more liquid-like. If you cook it longer, you will have more cake. I like mine more custardy so I begin checking even at 35 minutes. Very carefully remove from water-filled pan and let cool completely.
You can serve this while still slightly warm or you can cool it and refrigerate to serve it chilled. Serve it a top a shallow pool of cranberry syrup and crowned with freshly whipped cream.
Note: This can instead be prepared in ramekins and baked for 20-25 minutes.
Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to boil and enjoy the popping sound. Reduce heat to medium and cook until cranberries have turned quite mushy and the sauce has thickened slightly. Add some water if you need to. Strain through a fine mesh strainer and push through the cranberry mush as best you can. Scrape the bottom outside of the strainer occasionally to get some of the thick gel to thicken the syrup.
My favorite distraction is to cook. Though science and cooking/baking have a lot in common, I'm finding that each allows me to enjoy very different parts of my life. Cooking connects me with my heritage, my family, friends, and community. I'm really enjoying learning from the food52 community, who expose me to different ingredients and new ways to cook.