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At the Chef’s Table: Cranberries linger in warm cobbler

Sofitel Chicago pastry chef Patrick Fahy with his Cranberry GoCheese Cobbler 'everything I look for dessert' he says. | Jean

Sofitel Chicago pastry chef Patrick Fahy with his Cranberry Goat Cheese Cobbler, "everything I look for in a dessert," he says. | Jean Lachat~Sun-Times

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Updated: January 23, 2012 4:35AM

I have had cranberries every year at Thanksgiving since I was born.

When I was very little, living in Rogers Park on Chicago’s North Side, we used the generic canned cranberry sauce. It would slide right out of the can, and keep the shape of the can.

When we started buying fresh cranberries, it opened up a world of possibilities. Between my mother, father and my grandparents, there was always a different version of stewed cranberries. It varied from hot to cold to sweet, to sometimes not sweet enough.

They would infuse cranberries with orange peel and sometimes spices such as clove and cinnamon. I would eat them for dessert along with my pumpkin pie.

Every year I see a different version of cranberries, whether it’s scones, muffins, pies, cheesecakes or sorbets. No matter where I am, cranberries take me back to my childhood, as I suspect they do with others .

I want to share a recipe that is very easy to make at home yet isn’t the usual — a cranberry goat cheese cobbler with honey and rosemary.  I use honey instead of sugar because of the cranberry’s tart quality. The goat cheese adds creaminess with depth, and the rosemary adds an earthy character to the dish.

It’s a nice dessert to present after Thanksgiving dinner because it’s meant to be served family-style in a nice large dish.

And it has everything I look for in a dessert. It starts with the smell of rosemary, butter and sugar. For texture, it has a crisp, crunchy layer on top. And once you crack through the surface, a colorful, creamy surprise awaits — a powerful, acidic punch of flavors with a warm, lingering sweetness.

Patrick Fahy is the pastry chef at the Sofitel Chicago, 20 E. Chestnut.

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