This recipe appeared in my first book (James Beard Foundation Cookbook of the Year), Cocolat: Extraordinary Chocolate Desserts published in 1990. Here it is again, slightly adapted for clarity. —Alice Medrich
(200 grams) fresh cranberries, rinsed and picked over
1 1/4 cups
(250 grams) sugar
Place the cranberries in a 6- to 8-cup stainless bowl. Bring about an inch of water to a simmer in the steamer (or pot or kettle with cover) large enough to hold the bowl with space all around it.
Meanwhile, put the sugar and water in a small saucepan. Stir just to moisten all of the sugar. Cover and bring the mixture to a boil.
Pour the hot syrup over cranberries and set a plate that fits snugly inside the bowl on the berries to keep them submerged. Set the bowl in the steamer or pot. Cover and steam over medium heat for 45 minutes.
Remove the bowl from the steamer and let the berries cool undisturbed, in the syrup, without removing the plate. Once cool, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave for three or four days—in a warmish place if possible. The syrup will become slightly jellied.
To use berries for garnish, or if you need them to be somewhat dry to the touch, scoop some out with a slotted spoon and allow them to dry on a rack. Otherwise, leave them in the syrup and refrigerate until ready to use; you can spoon them out with as little or as much syrup as you like. Berries keep refrigerated in syrup for at least 2 weeks.
My career was sparked by a single bite of a chocolate truffle, made by my Paris landlady in 1972. I returned home to open this country’s first chocolate bakery and dessert shop, Cocolat, and I am often “blamed” for introducing chocolate truffles to America. Today I am the James Beard Foundation and IACP award-winning author of ten cookbooks, teach a chocolate dessert class on Craftsy.com, and work with some of the world’s best chocolate companies. In 2018, I won the IACP Award for Best Food-Focused Column (this one!).