Dome of Cranberry and Chocolate with a Surprise

Gone are the days when cranberries were used only for cranberry sauce. Their brilliant colour and tart taste make them a bonus for both sweet and savoury dishes.

Here is an exciting end to the festive meal. The surprise in this layered dome is a centre of lemon syllabub. The dome should not be made more than 24 hours in advance, and although it looks elaborate and takes time to chill, the actual preparation is quick.

Ingredients

  • 250 g/9 oz fresh cranberries
  • 5 tablespoons water
  • 150 g/5 oz caster sugar
  • 2 tablespoons dark rum
  • 1 lemon
  • 300 ml/½ pint double cream
  • 50 g/2 oz icing sugar, sifted
  • 150 g/5 oz plain chocolate

Method

Put all but 4 or 5 cranberries into a saucepan with 3 tablespoons of the water and the caster sugar. Stir over a medium heat until the sugar has completely dissolved, then cover the pan and simmer gently for 6-8 minutes, until all the berries have popped and the consistency is mushy and very thick. Remove from the heat, stir in the rum and leave to cool completely. Then spoon the mixture into a 1.2 litre/2 pint pudding basin and spread it up the sides to line the basin thickly and as evenly as possible.

Next grate the lemon rind and squeeze the juice of half the lemon. Whisk the cream until it starts to thicken, then whisk in the sifted icing sugar and continue whisking until the cream holds soft but not stiff peaks. Very gradually stir in the lemon juice with a metal spoon, followed by the grated rind. Spoon the syllabub into the cranberry-lined basin and refrigerate for at least 6 hours.

Break the chocolate into small pieces. Put it with the remaining 2 tablespoons of water in a bowl set over a saucepan of very hot, but not boiling, water; make sure the water is not touching the base of the bowl. Stir the chocolate now and then until it has melted smoothly, then remove from the heat and leave to cool for 10-15 minutes. Remove the pudding basin from the fridge, dip it into a sink of very hot water for just a minute or two, and turn out on to a flat serving plate, giving it a firm shake. Then slowly spoon the melted chocolate over the cranberry dome as evenly as you can, though it doesn’t matter if little bits of cranberry show through towards the bottom. Top the dome with the reserved cranberries and refrigerate again until your ‘surprise’ is ready to serve.

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