Mulled Wine Cranberry Sauce & Pumpkin Cornbread

A Thanksgiving confession: up until a few years ago, I’d only experienced tinned cranberry sauce—and loved it because I knew no other. Yes, the kind that plops gelatinously out onto your plate and retains the moulded ridges of the can it sat in for an indeterminable amount of time. A huge handful of American kids grow up associating cranberries with the jellied magenta slices that are served next to their turkey once a year on Thanksgiving. It’s a shame, because fresh cranberries are such bright little baubles of festive goodness!

Mulled Wine Cranberry Sauce Pumpkin Cornbread

It’s a bittersweet holiday season, because although I’m back in a country that properly celebrates Thanksgiving, I’m missing out on the magical Christmas markets of which Europe is chock-full—and their steaming street stalls of mulled wine. Red wine steeped in various spices and fruits is best experienced with wind-nipped cheeks warmed by the rising steam and icy hands wrapped around a piping hot mug. It becomes increasingly ubiquitous around Christmastime, but I’ve been feeling ready for a ladle-full since putting on a Christmas playlist the day after Halloween. No shame.

Mulled Wine Cranberry Sauce Pumpkin Cornbread

It was popular in Victorian England and takes on all different names and spice variations across Europe, but perhaps the most iconic versions are Scandinavian (glögg/gløgg) and German (glühwein). The latter translates roughly to “glow-wine”, which references the hot irons that were once part of the mulling process. Depending on the region and personal taste, the brew can be adjusted to spicier, sweeter, fruitier, etc.; experiment by adding vanilla pods, dried fruits, star anise, ginger, or peppercorn.

Mulled Wine Cranberry Sauce Pumpkin Cornbread

I could honestly just eat a whole bowl of this sauce, but to be civil I made a mini loaf of pumpkin cornbread to give off the false impression that I’m not the barbarian I really am. The tartness and spiced flavour of this cranberry sauce lends a nice twist to overtly sweet or savoury cornbreads that are more typically served at the Thanksgiving table.

Mulled Wine Cranberry Sauce Pumpkin Cornbread

Mulled Wine Cranberry Sauce

  • 12oz fresh cranberries, rinsed
  • 1 ½ cup dry red wine
  • ~½ cup honey / maple syrup (to taste)
  • 1 orange, peel and juice separated
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 T cloves, whole
  • 1 T allspice, whole

Gather the whole spices and orange peel together in cheese cloth—or you can spoon them out later.
Bring the wine, juice from the orange, and the spice bundle to a boil in a pot.
Remove any loose spices before adding the rinsed cranberries, lowering the heat to a simmer and stirring frequently until the berries are popped and the sauce begins to thicken.
Stir in honey, agave, or maple syrup gradually until the desired balance of sweet/tart is achieved. If necessary, additional ground spices (cinnamon, cloves, etc) can also be added at the end of the cooking process.

Mulled Wine Cranberry Sauce Pumpkin Cornbread

Cranberry-Swirled Pumpkin Cornbread

  • ½ cup whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup cornmeal
  • 2 t baking powder
  • ½ t cinnamon
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • pinch of salt
  • ½ cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 3 T maple syrup
  • 1 eggs
  • ¼ cup pumpkin puree
  • 3 T neutral oil

Preheat oven to 400°F/200°C.
Mix dry ingredients, then mix wet ingredients separately. Pour wet into dry, stirring until just combined. Pour half the batter in a miniature loaf pan (or you can double the recipe), dollop some cranberry sauce over it, and top with remaining batter.
Bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick can be inserted and comes out clean, give or take some cranberry.

Mulled Wine Cranberry Sauce Pumpkin Cornbread

Let the holiday season begin! Happiest of Thanksgivings, all.

Mulled Wine Cranberry Sauce Pumpkin Cornbread

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27 Responses to Mulled Wine Cranberry Sauce & Pumpkin Cornbread

  1. laurasmess says:

    What a beautiful post Irina! The colours, the food styling, photos, words… I love everything. You know what? I’ve never had the opportunity to taste a fresh cranberry. We only have the jarred or dried versions here, so I’m unlikely to be able to make a fresh cranberry sauce any time soon :( I do love being able to enjoy the pleasure through your post though. The sauce and the swirled pumpkin cornbread look incredible. So delicious!! xx

  2. What a gorgeous set of pictures! I love it! And I adore how bright and vibrant the sauce looks, beside sounding delicious, that’s it!
    Lovely lovely combo, I’d love to try this! ;)
    Happy Thanksgiving! x

  3. Caz says:

    Jars of cranberry sauce are common in the UK for serving with our Christmas turkey. I’ve never tried making my own but this recipe looks amazing and I’m sure it is so much better than anything you can buy ready made. I love the contrasting bright colours with the cake. It all looks delicious!

  4. Rika says:

    What a gorgeous post – I love cranberry sauces and I had cranberries in my sangria at this awesome place in Philly. I love glogg, I lived in Scandinavia for awhile and I miss it. Wishing you a happy Thanksgiving and a fabulous weekend, enjoy, Irina xx

  5. Trixpin says:

    What a great recipe, and it trumps my pumpkin bread any day ;) And it comes at the perfect time as I have some homemade cranberry jam sitting in the fridge, somewhat unloved and needing using. Pumpkin cranberry cornbread for tea time!

  6. These photos are beautiful! What a wonderful and creative way to use leftover pumpkin and cranberries. Sounds delicious Irina!

  7. There’s always a great debate in my family over canned cran vs. homemade sauce. I’m for homemade, all the way! Love the idea of making it with mulled wine. I could see spreading it on top of this bread too!

  8. Hannah says:

    Oh my, what a gorgeous looking sauce that is! Is it wrong of me to want to put this on top of ice cream too!? Jealous of all you people with your Thanksgiving feasts!!

  9. Absolutely gorgeous! Love the idea of such a lovely ruby studded cornbread!!

  10. That pumpkin cornbread looks just about perfect to me. Wishing I had a big piece right now! :)

  11. I haven’t had mulled wine in ages! I need to make some again. And this mulled wine cranberry sauce. And most of all this pumpkin cornbread! Terrific stuff – thanks.

  12. liz says:

    I wish I got to see this recipe before Canadian Thanksgiving. It sounds so delicious. I love the pumpkin cornbread too. I have bookmarked. Thanks so much for sharing. Wish you a fabulous week. I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  13. Monet says:

    Ah, I love visiting your blog. Your words and your pictures always transport me. This is just lovely. My mom has always made cranberry sauce but I just love how you incorporated the idea of mulled wine! And the cornbread looks heavenly too :)

  14. Trisha says:

    this looks so lovely and festive! LOVE CRANBERRIES. thanks for sharing Irina! x

  15. So beautiful, as always! It looks so festive yet rustic and comforting – you can’t go wrong with any of those flavours. Gorgeous! :-)

  16. I just see the word “mulled” and I’m in. Plus I have leftover cranberries too!

  17. Yelena says:

    Very inspiring recipe, looks so yummy. I bet it is so delicious! Have a wonderful evening!



  18. Joanne says:

    I always thought I hated cranberries because of that weirdo jellied stuff. Until a few years ago when I realized quite the opposite…I LOVE them when turned into homemade sauce. And I’d definitely love them even more with all these warm spices infused in.

  19. Well, I am in total agreement. I love the cranberries out of the can and buy them as a special treat in the middle of summer! But I also love this. My daughter loves mulled wine and I know she would love this. Hope you had a great holiday and can’t wait to see what you have in store this month!

  20. Mom's Dish says:

    wow, what a stunner… I want some of this with a up of coffee….

  21. Love your homemade cranberry sauce! But you know what I love even more? The breads you make to accompany the sauce – the loaf looks so luscious smothered in mashed cranberries! :)

  22. Erika says:

    Pumpkin cornbread?!?! I think I’m in love. This looks great–I still have half a bag of cranberries to use up and I’d love to make something like this. Gorgeous photos, as always!!

  23. OH my goodness, I’m so far behind on blog commenting…here it is almost christmast and I’m on your Thanksgiving recipe :( But a lovely recipe it is and I think it would actually make a perfect Xmas sidedish. Yum!

  24. Mike says:

    Beautiful photos and vibrant colors. Loved the recipes!

    Mike, Member of the Jury of VeryGoodRecipe’s December challenge

  25. love the photos and recipe :)
    thank you ^^

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