A Gluten Free Holiday 2011: Plumberry Sauce or Jam, a New Favorite at Thanksgiving


Welcome to Week 2 of A Gluten Free Holiday 2011!  Last week, Amy kicked off the festivities with Seven Tips for Healthy Holiday Baking. This week’s topic is “Thanksgiving Favorites,” hosted by Kim at Cook it Allergy-Free.  Hop over to Kim’s blog to see what favorite she’s sharing today and to link up your own Thansgiving-based dishes.  And don’t forget to enter the giveaway for this week’s cookbook, The Gluten Free Asian Kitchen by Laura Russell: 

[Enter to win the book at Kim’s blog!]

Now, since Canadian Thanksgiving occurred a month ago, many of you have already encountered my own list of favorite Thanksgiving recipes that I posted here (and please do feel free to use them for your American Thanksgiving, too!).  Personally, I’m not averse to celebrating twice. So let’s get to it! 😉

I was chatting yesterday with some online buddies about Canadian-vs-American Thanksgiving (I’d say the tacit consensus was that Americans make more of a fuss about it) and I admitted that, in the home of my childhood, we never actually celebrated T-Day.  My memory about it is fuzzy (who am I kidding?  My memory about everything is fuzzy these days), but I think the first traditional Thanksgiving celebration I attended was at the home of my first boyfriend’s mum. 

I was madly in love with Spaghetti Ears  and adored his mother, an Irishwoman who had been widowed at a young age and lived on her own in a little bungalow across town from the university.  She was a pixieish woman, perpertually smiling, her dancing blue eyes flitting about the dinner table as she regaled us with stories of her Irish relatives and friends.  Her cheeks were permanently flushed pink and her bobbed gray hair, normally hugging her head like a shawl, would swing back and forth as she reached across the table to pass bread or pat my hand.  She also made the most delicious curried beef I had ever tasted (okay, so it was the only curried beef I had ever tasted).  And I still possess–and use–the hand-knit tea cozy she gave me for Christmas almost 30 years ago, its red and green woolen stripes just as vibrant today as they were back then. I was honored to be invited to her holiday celebration!

Although I loved the idea behind the Thanksgiving feast (and the feast itself) from the first time I experienced it, the cranberry sauce was one aspect I just couldn’t rally behind.  I always found it far too sweet for my taste; in fact, canned cranberry sauce is the reason I thought I didn’t like cranberries for many years.  Last year, I decided to combine the crimson berries with some stewed apples for a stellar Cranberry Apple Compote, which I was happy to eat alongside nut roast or on toast, and the HH was delighted to enjoy with his turkey.  This year, I opted for something a little different:

[Plumberry Sauce atop a buckwheat breakfast cake, accompanied by chocolate almond butter.]

Today’s recipe comes courtesy of our organic produce delivery, which arrives like clockwork every week ,whether or not I’ve finished up the previous week’s fruits and veggies.  As has happened in the past, I left some plums in their paper bag to languish on the counter, unnoticed until it was almost too late to save them.

I decided to combine the soft, squishy plums with their hardier, tarter cousins, and cooked up a quick Plumberry Compote.  It offered up the perfect mix of tangy, sweet, and spreadable, with a deep magenta hue and gemlike brilliance.  

[How I freeze my plumberry sauce. . . no, the color in the photo isn’t off–this pic is frozen apricot spread.]

I hope you give this unconventional cranberry sauce a try.  The flavors work beautifully in tandem to offer up a thick sauce that is nearly sweet enough even on its own, without added stevia.  It’s also tasty enough to use as jam on toast–something traditional cranberry sauce can’t quite match, which means that leftovers will actually get used! It’s quickly become a favorite condiment here, as it can be used by the HH on his Thanksgiving turkey (that is, if he had had turkey this year), can be spread on some savory nut roast, can double as a chutney with a nice Indian curry, or can be used in lieu of maple syrup on a stack of pancakes or a breakfast bake (as in the photo above).

Yep–it’s time to forge a new tradition, I say!

And don’t forget about the fabulous giveaway this week!

Kim is giving away a copy of Laura Russell’s Gluten Free Asian KitchenJust head over to her blog to enter! Here’s a list of the other bloggers who are participating in the event as well:

Amy at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free

Maggie at She Let Them Eat Cake

Alta at Tasty Eats at Home

Hallie at Daily Bites

And my post on Dateless Date Squares from last week, click here.

[A new favorite–breakfast bake topped with Plumberry Sauce and chocolate almond butter.]

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This is my contribution to Amy’s Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays this week.

Last Year at this Time: Sugar-Free Oven Dried Cranberries (GF; ACD  all stages)

Two Years Ago: Classic Waldorf Salad (GF; ACD Stage 2 and beyond)

Three Years Ago: Such a Tease

Four Years Ago: Gluten Free Cashew Chocolate Chip Cookies (GF, not ACD friendly)

© Ricki Heller, Diet Dessert and Dogs

[Disclaimer: this post may contain affiliate links. If you buy using these links, at no cost to you, I will earn a small commission from the sale.]



  1. So you use silicone bakeware….. How is it compared to the regular ones?

  2. I have interchanged grape jam for cranberry sauce in recipes and it has always provided for a great taste alternative…especially when I have had the time to make the grape jam myself 🙂
    This recipe sounds fantastic and printing as I type 🙂 Every year at Thanksgiving and Christmas, I always try to make 2 or 3 new recipes. I believe this one will be a keeper! Thanks for sharing.

    • Mary, thanks so much, and thanks for your comment! What I love about this is that you can still use it after the holiday is over–it’s fabulous as a regular jam/spread. Your grape juice idea sounds great!

  3. This is beautiful, Ricki! I’m all for unconventional. 🙂

  4. I have to tell you, although my entire family loves cranberry sauce, it is the one dish I can live without. My favorite thing about it is how it smells while I am cooking it. Other than that, i could take it or leave it. But this sauce? I love the idea of it!! My bountiful baskets has not had any plums for a few weeks, but I will be making this the next time it does! And those little silicone trays are exactly what I froze all of my baby food in! Brings back memories. 😉

    PS that organic basket does show up regardless of what we have left on our counters or in our fridges. LOL It does help me to be more creative in using it up before my Saturday delivery though. I have come up with some interesting concoctions for sure. LOL

  5. I didn’t used to be a fan of cranberry sauce either, but now I love the acidity that it adds to the meal. This sounds like a really delicious twist on cranberry sauce though I don’t think the plums were still around at Thanksgiving this year for us.

  6. I love your recipes. They’re always so innovative, and so completely different than anything I could imagine. It expands my mind! 🙂 Love this sauce.

    • Aw, thanks so much, Alta! I almost didn’t post it as it seemed SO simple. . . but simple can be best! 🙂 I loved it, too. . . I think I’ll continue making it even when it’s not the holidays!

  7. Such a simple recipe Ricki! I love it. It looks gorgeous – the colour is rich; perfect for Thanksgiving dinner. Love the silicone freezer tray idea!
    I am a latecomer to the cranberry sauce love. I was always thinking, “Look at all this food! Why on earth add THAT to your plate?” I’m going to have to make some sugar-free sauce this year!

  8. Plums are one of my most favouriterest of fruits; I love this take on usually-too-sugary jam!

  9. oh it is terrible to read this recipe – plums are out of season, we never get cranberries and I am out of coconut sugar – but I still want to make it! Sounds like an excellent alternative to cranberry sauce – I first tried cranberries with bought sauce and wasn’t keen but having had a chance to use them in cooking since I think it is not the best way to learn about them

    Interesting that canadians don’t make such a fuss of thanksgiving – it was only when I started blogging that I learnt about canadian thanksgiving

    • Thanksgiving is not a really big deal up here in Canada, most people don’t even do the turkey/ham dinners. Grocery stores have no sale on the turkeys left over after the holiday, don’t know if they keep them frozen for Christmas? For the majority it’s an ordinary “day off”, making it a three day weekend (or four depending if they also take Friday off).

  10. oh this combination sounds just lovely!!

  11. Tana Pender says

    Thank you! I froze tons of plums from the orchard this fall. I set them on cookie sheets to freeze, for individual use later, for smoothies. Now I am so glad I did. This might be what I make people for their Christmas bag tuck-ins. Happy Thanksgiving!


  1. […] week Kim, Ricki, Amy, Alta, Hallie and I shared some of our Thanksgiving […]

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