So this is what became of the compote – dolloped generously on top of a quick stack of breakfast pancakes, with some added Christmas magic by way of orange zest and cinnamon. The rest of the jar was greedily eaten by the spoonful straight from the fridge, on stealthy midnight missions or before dashing out of the door.
I had one of those frivolous trips to the supermarket last weekend, stuffing my basket with as many festive things I could find, I’m such a sucker for all that stuff. Sprouts, salmon, pate, marzipan, cranberries….. Christmas needs cranberries right?
However, too many Christmas get-togethers has resulted in not much home cooking of late and hence the bag of cranberries was still loitering unloved a week later. But what to do with them? I needed something with versatility, to be on standby in the fridge, ready and waiting for impromptu puddings or breakfasts on the go. So one more thing for an overstuffed fridge, but I think this earns its place on the shelf.
Start by tipping 300g cranberries into a saucepan with 2/3 cup of caster sugar, the juice of a clementine and a splash of water. Place over a medium heat and bring up to a simmer, The cranberries will start to burst and release their juices. Meanwhile core and chop 2 just ripe pears. For once a pack of ripe-and-ready-to-eat pears were in fact verging on ripeness, perfect for this. I didn’t bother to peel the pears. Stir into the cranberries. The pears will only need about 5mins or so in the hot cranberry mixture to soften, so do keep an eye on them and stop cooking before they turn to mush. You may need to add another couple of splashes of water as you go along too, to stop the mixture becoming too jammy. Finally stir in a good pinch of cinnamon and leave to cool.
Endless possibilities await. Decisions, decisions. Maybe I’ll swirl it through some yogurt and shower it in muesli for breakfast…. Or maybe it will get rolled up in some filo pastry for a quick festive strudel… Perhaps it’d be best hot, like molten lava over some ice cream…. I’ll let you know.
I’ve never made my own mincemeat. Whilst apparently super straight forward, it always feels like one step too far when you have a million and one other things to do in December. Yet that doesn’t stop me tinkering a little bit with the shop-bought stuff, which in my book makes it pretty much as good as home made. The combination of cranberry and orange flavours enhances any jar of mincemeat beautifully and I must say I feel pretty pleased with myself about this little invention.
I made two types of pie as I was feeling indecisive. The pies were for a work bake-off and couldn’t decide whether to go for a sweet, moist almond frangipane topping or an orange crumble topping, so in the end I made both. This recipe therefore makes 24 pies, but is easily halved. Read more