You will need (for the cranberry sauce):
50ml water and 50ml clementine juice, mixed together
Put all the ingredients into a pan and cook for five minutes until the cranberries start to burst. If it looks a like there’s a little too much moisture (I find cranberries to vary a lot in their water content) then cook for a few minutes more to evaporate some of the water. Put the cranberry sauce into a bowl and leave to cool. I’m not sure it gets much simpler and this sets to a lovely dolloping consistency.
This would of course be delicious with turkey, gammon or pigs in blankets but I find there is always occasion for little nibbles at this time of year and my recipe below is a little idea to do something special with the cranberry sauce to make it the star rather than the accompaniment. They turn out to be slightly too big to be just one mouthful, but I like that about them. If you served them at a party there would always be someone who would try and fit it in as one and end up not too dissimilar to Rudolph.
You will need (to make 16 festive puffs):
Readymade and rolled puff pastry, half a sheet
Milk for brushing
25g caster sugar
Zest of one clementine
Cranberry sauce (as above)
Start by rolling out the pastry into a square. Cut it in half and then half again so you have four equal rectangles. Then cut these into four squares per rectangle so you end up with 16 equal squares. Preheat the oven to 180C and grease a tray. Mark around the edge of each square with a sharp knife about a centimetre from the edge so that it is marked but not cut through. Brush the tops with milk and then cook in the oven for 15-18 minutes until well risen. Remove from the oven and then take out the middle (where you marked around). Return the hollowed out squares to the oven for a few more minutes until dry in the middle. Leave to cool.
I have to admit that I ate all 16 of the little middles while waiting for the cranberry sauce to set. I mean, it’s almost Christmas and therefore forgivable so you could grate a little cheese over and put them back into the oven to make some little cheese puffs. You can always work the pastry off with some enthusiastic stirring.
Beat together the mascarpone, sugar and clementine zest and then fill the pastry cases. Top each puff with a little cranberry sauce.
Sometimes the cranberry can get stuck on the side of the dinner plate and a little forgotten about so I this is something a bit different. I was so happy with how they turned out I will be making the sauce again just to make more puffs; forget the turkey. The pastry was, of course, wonderfully light and fluffy and the cool cheese was magnificent with the bright, acidic cranberries. There was just enough Cointreau to warm the throat but it wasn’t overpowering. I think these would be great for a party but if you’re not having one, do as I did, and eat them all yourself.