As I write this at 1 am on Halloween (I’m a night owl!), I can’t quite wrap my mind around November being here already. But here it is, and I’ll welcome it warmly, because this last week has been so tough for so many of us that turning the page seems like the best thing to do.
We’ve had a wild month at the shop, too, but less fraught with weather-related nightmares, thankfully. Oprah and Halloween (which brought with it a truly bittersweet surprise) bookended a month of intense busy-ness, which will (hopefully!) only intensify as the holiday season approaches.
Which brings us to this month’s chocolate: Candied Orange and Cranberry Bonbons, which are inspired by an amazing Cranberry Citrus Compote I make every year for Thanksgiving, and think about making the rest of the year but never do because of that weird thing where it’s almost impossible to make holiday foods when it’s not that particular holiday.
In case you’d like to start and end your holiday meal with the fresh flavors of cranberries and zesty citrus, here’s my recipe for the compote, which I adapted from Fine Cooking magazine years ago. Don’t forget the chocolates, too!
CRANBERRY CITRUS COMPOTE
Makes 5 cups
Keeps a week. If making far ahead, stir in scallions at last minute. Let come to room temperature before serving.
19 oz. fresh cranberries, picked over and rinsed
optional: 5 oz frozen currants. I like using currants because you can get them locally. I usually freeze some during the summer for this dish.
zest of 2 lemons
zest of 2 oranges, preferably blood oranges
3 shallots, finely chopped
1 ¼ c sugar
½ c orange juice
1/3 c thinly sliced scallions
- Heat oven to 350. Combine cranberries, currants, zests, shallots, and sugar in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Turn into 2 (2 qt.) baking dishes and drizzle orange juice over the mixture.
- Bake, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved and a few berries have popped open, about 30 minutes.
- Remove from oven, let cool thoroughly (the pectin in the excess liquid will firm up when cool), stir in scallions, cover, and refrigerate.