Cranberry Cream Cheese Pico de Gallo

The first time in my life I received useful information from a random wrong number was a few days ago, when I got a mysterious text. It contained a dim camera phone photo of an intriguing recipe (“Jean Eppler’s Cranberries Gone Wild Dip”) and the following note: “Here is the recipe! Great to see you guys last night.”

After a few more texts verified that I was not, in fact, Carl, I was urged “Enjoy the recipe! It is delicious!!”

And so I did exactly that. It turns out that Jean Eppler’s Cranberries Gone Wild is essentially pico de gallo with cranberries (plus sugar) taking the place of tomatoes, lending a tart, zesty edge to a real workhouse dip and condiment. The stuff is legitimately delicious – the sweetness is in balance, and scallions, lime, and cilantro are all really bold and present along with the tartness of cranberries.

My adaptation (see below) is pretty minor – mostly a matter of calling out timing on liquid draining (which otherwise will yield an unpleasant cranberry juice layer to your dip) and more precise directions for whipping the cream cheese (which is very easy to underwhip.)

Cranberry Cream Cheese Pico de Gallo

Adapted from: Jean Eppler’s Cranberries Gone Wild Dip

12 oz. package of cranberries, fresh or frozen
6 green onions, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and deveined, chopped
1 1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cumin
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
dash of salt
Two 8 oz. packages cream cheese (which will be whipped, see below) or an equivalent amount of pre-whipped cream cheese
Tortilla chips or Fritos or lime tortilla chips

  1. Chop cranberries in a food processor until reasonably fine but not totally pulverized. You can chop frozen cranberries, just wear earplugs.
  2. Combine your chopped cranberries, green onions, cilantro, jalapeno pepper, sugar, cumin, lime juice and salt in a bowl, mix them, cover them, and store them in a fridge for 4 hours or more so the sugar can integrate with the cranberries.
  3. 30 minutes before you serve, drain the liquid from the cranberry mixture over a sink or bowl. Discard liquid.
  4. When you’re ready to serve, thoroughly whip the cream cheese with a stand mixer until light and easily spreadable. You can alternatively buy pre-whipped cream cheese and save yourself the mess.
  5. Spread your cream cheese on a platter in an even layer, and cover with an even layer of cranberry pico de gallo.
  6. Serve with tortilla chips.