This refreshing dessert would be perfect for Valentine’s day. The cranberry caramel syrup has a lovely deep garnet color and quite an intense burnt-sugar-cranberry flavor that goes beautifully with fresh oranges – and you don’t need to use very much.
Any left over caramel will keep for weeks in a glass screw-top jar in the fridge and is gorgeous drizzled over cheesecake, ice cream, pancakes, etc.
Make just enough candied cranberries for the dessert because they won’t keep as long, or you could make more and eat them on their own.
ORANGES IN A CRANBERRY CARAMEL WITH CANDIED CRANBERRIES
4 organic navel oranges
For the cranberry caramel syrup –
- 1 cup (240ml measure) of fresh or defrosted frozen cranberries
- ½ cup (120ml) of water
- 1 ½ cups (360ml measure) of fine white sugar
For the candied cranberries (optional) –
- 1 cup (240ml measure) of fresh or frozen cranberries
- 3/4 cup (180ml measure) of sugar
- Finely grated zest of an orange
- 1/4 cup (60ml) of water
Start by making the cranberry caramel syrup up to 3 weeks ahead:
In a heavy pan, heat the sugar over a moderate heat until it becomes a liquid golden caramel. Once it starts to liquefy, use a fork to stir it about; it should become very runny; this can take 30 mins or more, so be patient.
Meanwhile, in a food processor, pulse the cranberries with the water until they’re finely minced – set aside.
Once the sugar has reached the runny golden stage with no granules remaining, remove it from the heat and quickly add the chopped cranberries and water. It will make a big fuss, steam a lot and solidify.
Return it to the heat and allow it to simmer, stirring until everything has dissolved once more – about 10 mins.
Push through a fine mesh sieve/strainer into a bowl, pressing down on the solids until you’ve extracted all the liquid. Discard the solids and when it’s cooled a bit, pour the syrup into a clean, glass screw-top jar and refrigerate – it will keep for many weeks.
Next, make the candied cranberries (optional) –
Heat 1/4 cup of water with 1/4 cup sugar and simmer for a few minutes to dissolve the sugar. Remove it from heat and add the cranberries – stir gently and set them aside to cool in the liquid.
Put a fine-mesh rack onto a cookie sheet and transfer the cranberries with a slotted spoon to the rack in a single layer. Leave them to drip-dry at room temp for 60-90 minutes and discard any remaining syrup in the pan.
Blitz the orange zest with the remaining sugar until finely blended and transfer to a wide bowl.
Drop the sticky berries one large spoonful at a time, into the bowl of orange sugar and toss around to separate them and coat with sugar. Finally, transfer them to a parchment-lined cookie sheet to dry out again for a minimum of 1 hr (any leftover sugar can also be discarded). They’ll keep a few days in the fridge in a sealed container.
Prepare the oranges – carefully cut away the skin and white membranes from the fruit and slice about 1/4 inch (1/2 cm) thick on a cutting board with a grooved edge, to capture any juice. Arrange the slices with the juice in a shallow serving dish.
Drizzle the oranges with a couple of tablespoons or more of cranberry caramel and chill in the fridge for an hour or two then decorate with the candied cranberries (if using), just before serving.
Some good vanilla ice cream on the side would be lovely although I prefer these just as they are.